Opening on April 10, 1962, Chavez Ravine was converted into a state of the art symbol of the trek out west for Major League Baseball. Located within the confines of Elysian Park, Dodger Stadium was built in less than 3 years at the cost of $23 million and still is the world’s largest baseball stadium based on number of seats in can hold.
For those wondering, $23 million is equivalent to about $192.6 million in today’s money adjusted with an annual inflation of 3.80% from 1962 to now.
Walter O’Malley used private funding to build Dodger Stadium after being unable to reach a deal with New York officials on securing land to build a domed stadium and the city of Los Angeles held a vote to bring baseball out west.
After the 2005 season, new owner Frank McCourt, broke grown for the first phase of major renovations Dodger Stadium has even gone through.
- 2003 – Upgraded to LED video displays
- 2005 – Yellow, Orange, Blue and Red Seats were replaced with Yellow, Light Orange, Turquoise and Sky Blue.
- 2005 – Baseline Box Seats added more leg room and tables
Proposed Renovations – 2008
Frank McCourt proposed a $412 Million project that would have turned the parking lots of Dodger Stadium into an outdoor mall similar to local malls, such as The Americana, The Grove and Fashion Island in Costa Mesa.
- Dodger Way – A tree-lined entrance will lead to a landscaped grand plaza where fans can gather beyond center field. The plaza will connect to a promenade that features restaurants, shops and the Dodger Experience museum showcasing the history of the Dodgers in an interactive setting.
- Green Necklace – The vibrant street setting of Dodger Way links to a beautiful perimeter around Dodger Stadium, enabling fans to walk around the park, outdoors yet inside the stadium gates. This Green Necklace will transform acres of parking lots into a landscaped outdoor walkway connecting the plaza and promenade to the rest of the ballpark.
- Top of the Park – The Green Necklace connects to a large scale outdoor plaza featuring breathtaking 360° views spanning the downtown skyline and Santa Monica Bay, the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, and the Dodger Stadium diamond.
These proposals were never seen through as the boycott of Frank McCourt’s ownership and his divorce ended it all.
Following another ownership transition, the Dodgers brought in stadium designer, Janet Marie Smith to renovate the 50 year old stadium with:
- High Definition Video Boards
- New Clubhouses
- New Weight Rooms
- Upgraded Batting Cages
- New Concession Stands
- New Sound Systems
- Wider Concourses
- Standing Room Viewing Areas
- Children’s Playground
- Improved Restrooms
Now, the Dodgers have released some artist renderings of what renovations will be happening at the Ravine this off-season as they prepare for the 2020 All-Star Game.
From the Dodgers.com
- Creation of Centerfield Plaza: The new Centerfield Plaza will create a stadium “front door” with almost two acres of unique food offerings, entertainment and kids areas, retail locations, sponsor activations, more social and standing room areas and greater access for those with special needs. A new kids play area will be constructed just beyond the wall in straight-away centerfield, and fans will be able to enjoy the game from above of a newly-constructed batters eye wall. The new Centerfield Plaza will pay homage to Dodger history with statues and a permanent home for the “Legends of Dodger Baseball” plaques..
- Pavilion Renovations: Renovations to the Left and Right Field Pavilions will include new restrooms, enclosed bars with views into the bullpen, the creation of standing room areas at the top of each pavilion, enhanced ADA seating and “home run seats” just beyond the outfield wall.
- Sandy Koufax Statue: The Dodgers will honor Hall of Fame left-handed pitcher Sandy Koufax with a statue, the second at Dodger Stadium following the dedication of the Jackie Robinson statue in 2017. Both statues will reside in the Centerfield Plaza, as the Robinson statue will be re-located from the Left Field Reserve.
- New Elevators and Bridges: Elevators are currently under construction in the Right and Left Field Plazas to help move fans easily to and from this new Centerfield Plaza. Additionally, bridges will be constructed to connect the new pavilion standing room decks to the rest of the stadium for a 360-degree connection around the park’s perimeter. These new elevators and bridges will also provide easier access to the Dodger Stadium Express stop in Lot G through the Centerfield Plaza.
- New Sound System: A new sound system will replace the current speaker tower and provide an enhanced audio experience to fans on all levels of the ballpark with more directed sound inside the stadium.
“Maybe the most important thing that drove me and Janet during this process is when you’re sitting in your seat at Dodger Stadium, whether you’re on the field level or in the top deck, it’s going to look the same as it did before,” Kasten said. “That Dodger Stadium view from foul pole to foul pole is just timeless and iconic and we didn’t want to change that. – as reported by Arash Markazi, LA Times
The use of protective netting looks to be a permanent feature of the new Dodger Stadium. It also looks like a great backdrop for MLB to use for all of the All-Star Coverage headquarters.