For the longest time, this author has often dreamed about building a new stadium for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Downtown Los Angeles. Since attending ballgames as a child in Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine, the way to Dodger Stadium through Elysian Park has always been magical. However, what Dodger Stadium lacks is ease of access to its confines.

Traffic is one thing. Location is another. Both are related. Once on site, Dodger Stadium provides a wonderful view from behind home plate looking towards Downtown, the Hollywood Hills, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. However, the problem remains that (1) it takes too long to get inside the ballpark leading to early and late attendance issues (not fair-weather fans as some analysts and critics have claimed over the years), and (2) its location exasperates the first issue and provides for little to no pre or post game fan experience opportunities.

As any fan or patron to Dodger Stadium can attest, you often arrive late and leave early to ballgames because of traffic and to avoid traffic. Arguably, the ingress and egress into and out of the stadium is the worst in Major League Baseball. Moreover, even though Dodger stadium is one of the most beautiful and well-kept ballparks in America, it has no rail transit or restaurants, bars, or shops within walking distance. Simply, it lacks basic accommodations, access, and the community aspect that many of America’s best ballparks provide.

For example, attend a game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and you can ride a train, ferry, or walk to the ballpark from downtown. You can also drive or bus into the stadium. Restaurants, bars, shops, and beautiful views of the three rivers that connect in the immediate area, the Monongahela, Allegheny, and the Ohio, make for a complete venue. San Francisco’s AT&T Park, Minnesota’s Target Field, San Diego’s Petco Park, Baltimore’s Camden Yards, New York’s Yankee Stadium, and Boston’s Fenway Park are all in the same breadth of beauty, thoughtfulness, and completeness.

Ballparks in the above mold are community hubs during season and in the offseason as well. Fans, patrons, and people getting together before and after games for food and entertainment, while contributing to the local economy. It is really a beautiful marriage and a great thing to experience.

Fans to Dodger Stadium have never experienced this in their home ballpark. Dodger Stadium has always been an enclave tucked away on a perch overlooking the city. A terrific thought for a public park, homes, condominiums, and shopping, but not for a ballpark that saw nearly four million visitors in 2016. Visitors that travel on the roadway into Dodger Stadium are doing so in peak congestion times and in bunches at a time. It is the perfect storm for traffic congestion in a city of 4 million and a county of 10 million people.

We obviously understand the difficulties in building a new ballpark. The recent investment and upgrades into Dodger Stadium alone would make it an unreasonable venture. The move of two football teams, a new soccer team, and new stadiums for each also presents issues related to spending, investment, and congestion. This all not to mention the emotional connection to the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.

Aesthetically, how about a brick façade paying homage to Ebbets Fields in Brooklyn? How about a view of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline from every seat in the ballpark, not just from behind the stadium prior to entering?

In terms of infrastructure, how about rail transportation to and from the stadium? How about parking structures outside downtown and near the stadium where buses and rail take people to and from the stadium?

In terms of building the Dodger fan base and community at large, how about restaurants and bars that become establishments like those on Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park or on River Avenue or 161st Street outside Yankee Stadium?

How about the value in selling the land and the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium for preservation and development? The dollar figure alone would help subsidize a significant portion if not all of a new ballpark. Come to think of it, “Dodgers Ballpark in Downtown” has a nice ring to it.

We are not suggesting that a move is possible, but more that a move to Downtown would make wonderful sense. Remember the land area where the new Los Angeles football team was supposed to be built near L.A. Live and the Convention Center? Why not place the Los Angeles baseball team there instead?

A move to Downtown Los Angeles also alleviates the Dodgers two biggest problems: traffic and location. It solves those problems with existing public transportation and rail and lines that could be added in the Downtown area and outlying areas (e.g., Metrolink to Union Station). The plan would also bring together a downtown community and fan base before and after games. Folks could arrive earlier and stay late because there would be something to do besides sitting in a parking lot.

Possibly dreams in Blue Heaven, a beautiful one at that, but you heard it here first.

ICYMI: What is the Deal with the Dodgers Television Deal?

About The Author

Editorial Writer
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Jeremy M. Evans is the Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing sports and entertainment professionals in contract drafting, negotiations, licensing, and career growth. He is the Director and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Center for Sports Law & Policy at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Evans is the Outreach Captain for the Sports Lawyers Association in San Diego and is an award-winning attorney and community leader. He can be reached at [email protected] or via his website: www.CSLlegal.com.

9 Responses

  1. Dick

    When they were building the subway system, I remember reading that the Dodgers were asked if they wanted a rail line to the stadium. They turned it down. There is significant revenue from parking fees. Plus, with all the stadium remodeling (Field and Loge being completely rebuilt) it doesn’t look like a downtown stadium will be built soon.

    Reply
  2. Richard

    Dodgers stadium is less than a mile away from Chinatown Station. The problem is there is no pedestrian route over the 110 and up the hill. This could be rather easily and cheaply solved. Certainly when compared to a completely new ballpark.

    A pedestrian way could be build up on both sides with bars and restaurants. Chinatown could be the jumping off point to a whole entertainment district that was open 365 days a year.

    Reply
  3. Jon Lenvik

    YES!! I had actually been thinking about this recently. Haha I wanted to tell Magic.

    Dodger Stadium is iconic but it is old and it is very remote. Baseball stadiums are also actually a good fit for a downtown area as they have a lot of games per season, plus other events. Much better than a football stadium. They should build it where Farmers Field was proposed, next to Staples. DO IT!!!

    Reply
  4. Matt

    I am one Dodger fan who would applaud better public transportation options to Dodger Stadium. I would never want to move the stadium however. I have been to a couple of the ballparks you mention and to me they do not inspire anywhere near the same feelings that I feel when sitting in the Ravine during an afternoon game and looking out at the palm trees.

    If I were to advocate anything it would be a dedicated bus lane roundtrip from Union Station to Dodger Stadium. Alameda would seem the best bet for the majority of the ride. If they had one, the trip from Union Station would be ten minutes and the same on the return. There are many ways to Union Station and there’s parking there. If I could shave the bus time from Union Station down to 30-40 minutes round trip rather than more than that each way I could convince my friends and family to join me taking the subway to the game.

    Metrolink trains on weekends and late in the evening along the Ventura Line would be great too. However, Metrolink trains on all the lines on weekends and evenings would be great but don’t seem to be forthcoming. There’s still work to be done for Metro and Metrolink in my opinion. I still ride both when I can though.

    Reply
  5. Frogger2020

    The major league leading attendance year after year would disagree with you.

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    • Denise

      I agree. Yes, it’s the oldest, but full of so much history. As far as the restrooms, they were completely remodeled and are very nice. We always arrive around 5:30 for a 7:10 game and just enjoy being there. We never have a problem getting out of the stadium either. Probably because of those that leave in the 8th inning. We never leave early! I do understand that it might be better downtown, as I like the idea of restaurants, bars, etc. We’ll see if that ever happens.

      Reply
  6. Jay

    I lived in San Francisco for 4 years for school, hate to say anything nice about the Giants, but there stadium location is amazing. It is really fun to show up before game, hit up the different bars around stadium, and than just walk in.

    A stadium in downtown would be stellar. Metro connects to downtown, and several cities in the County have trains that could take us right there.

    Also, being able to take train home full of fellow fans after stomping the Giants… would be great experience

    Reply
  7. Audrey Evans

    Excellent article JEREMY…well written and packed full of amazing ideas for Dodger Stadium. Just look at how amazing the rebuild of the Yankee stadium is. Having the train taking people to the statium is an excellent idea.

    Reply
  8. Baller P

    I love me the Dodgers but I am in complete agreement with the author. Dodger Stadium is way overrated and anybody who disagrees is just being myopic. The stadium glaringly shows every year of its 55 years plus of existence. One need only walk into one of the leaky dilapidated restrooms for evidence. The way people describe the outfield view of the San Gabriel Mountains you would think it’s equal to the breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon. Sorry but there is nothing special about looking at a hillside. The tiered construction of the stadium and the tiered seating arrangement make it very difficult to move around the stadium. While Fenway and Wrigley have gracefully aged, Dodger Stadium just got old. As the author mentioned, before and after the game there’s really nothing to do. No bars, no restaurants, no entertainment, just vagrants asking for handouts. And I haven’t even mentioned the number one reason I dread coming to Dodger Stadium. The traffic situation is a complete joke. It’s gotten so bad a couple of times I bought tickets and the freeway was so clogged, I gave up and went home. Give us a downtown stadium please.

    Reply

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