Opening Day gave the Los Angeles Dodgers their first opportunity to formally unveil the new Dodger Stadium lights, which may have been a reason behind the club playing a night game rather than the historic afternoon start in a season opener.
During the offseason the Dodgers upgraded the lighting system for the first time since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. The switch to LED bulbs are touted as being more energy efficient and have the capability of color-changing features.
That was on full display during Opening Day ceremonies and several moments throughout the night, some of which upset the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Following the Dodgers’ 8-2 win, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo acknowledged he was not happy with the Dodger Stadium lights briefly going dark on a Will Smith RBI single into right field and again while Carlos Vargas attempted to warm up for the eighth inning, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“I wasn’t too pleased about that,” Lovullo said. “It’s the first game for everybody. Hopefully they figure it out. I’ll definitely bring it up with my group here in the front office here and just see what they think about doing. I don’t think anything was done maliciously. I just think they hit the wrong button at the wrong time and they need to be better at that.”
Zac Gallen also voiced some frustration over the entertainment-first approach:
“Is that like scheduled? Is that a thing that they’re doing?” Gallen said. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen that before. I was kind of shocked. I mean, it doesn’t seem like it would be something that MLB’s going to allow. I did notice that.
“But, I mean, it is what it is. It seems like it might be a disadvantage. The ball’s coming back in the infield and it’s dark out there. I mean, it’s the home crowd, they’re going to do what they can for the advantage. We’ll see what happens with that.”
The Diamondbacks stopped short of blaming their loss on the Dodger Stadium lights, but other teams presumably are going to take notice and may raise issue with MLB should the Dodgers not adjust.
Manager Dave Roberts, understandably, had a different viewpoint of the lights in a broader sense. “Loved them,” Roberts said.
“The lights were amazing. There was something in the middle of a play we got a little aggressive with the dimmer switch. But better them than us. The LED, deal in between, really good.”
Of his base hit, Smith quipped, “They were celebrating a little early.”
Stan Kasten: new Dodger Stadium lights improve experience
When unveiling news of the forthcoming change with the Dodger Stadium lights, Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten excitedly discussed what it would mean for fans.
“In a lot of ballparks, you now see they darken the whole place, do all kinds of effects, all kinds of colors whether it’s a base hit, or a strikeout, or home run, or end of game,” he said. “We’re going to be able to improve the game experience in a way that has never happened before.
“We’re very happy about that. I’ve already seen some of the configurations and really cool effects that we can have, and I’m very excited. You can watch baseball and go to a nightclub. It’s great. Every night here is fun, but this year is going to be more fun than ever.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!