When the Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled plans for a Dodger Stadium renovation that was going to overhaul the pavilions and introduce a new centerfield plaza, it was with the expectation that fans would be able to enjoy the amenities come Opening Day of the 2020 regular season.
Of course, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic dramatically altered those plans, but the Dodgers now are primed to welcome fans back to an upgraded Dodger Stadium setting.
“I’ve been waiting for this day not just for one year, but for two years since we showed you all that video when we made the announcement about what we were going to do here,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said prior to a media tour.
“If you go back and look at that video, promotional videos always are aspirational, renderings are kind of dreamy. But if you go back and look at that video, take your walk today and look at the handout, you’ll see we touched all of those bases. We have delivered everything we were hoping to deliver, and we couldn’t be prouder of it.”
With the Dodgers having recently announced partnerships with California Pizza Kitchen and Dunkin’, Kasten revealed Chavez Ravine has also welcomed Shake Shack to the right field plaza. “We couldn’t be more excited about that addition to Dodger Stadium,” he said.
Dodgers executive vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith guided the tour, highlighting play areas for children that feature pitching and batting cages, memorabilia displays and more. The 2020 World Series trophy will be on display in the Gold Glove Bar.
The team will rotate various displays each year, and for the 2021 season they are featuring Tommy Lasorda artifacts inside clubhouse lockers from 1962. That is next to what Smith affectionately referred to as Dodger Stadium’s “secret bar.”
Inspired by Lasorda, the speakeasy has yet to be given a name. The bar is designed in a mid-century modern decor and admission is likely to be granted via some fashion of a lottery.
While that is an intriguing new addition, an emphasis was on ensuring Dodger Stadium can be enjoyed by all.
“We want to make certain that not only is there a place for families to come and young kids to get their jitters out and enjoy being at Dodger Stadium,” Smith said. “But that we send a clear message this is a family-friendly place and the kind of atmosphere we want here is one that is for all generations to enjoy.”
Excited as the Dodgers are over the new additions, not every aspect will be open Friday or the immediate future. “The fans that will be coming here on Friday will be able to walk through here and get to their seats, but most of the areas will still be closed off to fans,” Kasten explained.
“We’re hoping some time between May 1 and June 15, according to the governor, we should be open 100%. That’s the day we’re all looking for.”
Valenzuela celebrated at Dodger Stadium
With this season marking the 40th anniversary of Fernando Valenzuela’s first full season with the Dodgers, the beloved left-hander is featured in center field. A Valenzuela mural is painted underneath the centerfield plaza area and the entry walkway has a display to commemorate his Rookie of the Year season.
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