Monday, March 31, 2014

What's New, Blue? A Tour Of The Latest Dodger Stadium Renovations

On Monday, The Militant joined about 55 people and five hipsters on a tour of the new 2014 season renovations at Dodger Stadium, as well as a glimpse of things most fans, especially the disadvantaged ones who can only afford tickets in the upper tiers (i.e. The Militant), don't get to see.

Now, The Militant has toured the stadium before (which included a foodie conversation with Andre Ethier and seeing Mr. Scully's back), and last year The Militant got to post about the 2013 stadium renovations -- the first permanent stamp on the facilities since Our New Guggenheim Overlords took over (The Militant will not use this post to gripe about the whole Time Warner Cable debacle, and the team's disappearance from many (non-cable-privileged) households, though he just did, indirectly).

This Janet is also in control. She gave us an awesome tour of the new Stadium improvements.
But this year, there were new goodies in store, and who better than to show it than Janet Marie Smith,  the Dodgers' Senior Vice President of Planning and Development. In case you're not familiar with her name, she's been a longtime sports executive with a background in architecture and urban planning. As an architectural consultant, she was responsible for the much-emulated retro ballpark design at Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. She also oversaw the conversion of the 1996 Olympic Stadium in Atlanta to Turner Field. So, she definitely knows her stuff.

She talked about changing the look and function of the Dodger Stadium grounds while at the same time keeping the design faithful to the early 1960s design, namely claiming some of the parking lot blacktop space to expand the stadium perimeter. The first part of that was achieved last year, with  the Reserve Level plazas, created to establish the clear separation of stadium grounds and parking lot, and provide more people/activity space, as well as to establish unique landmarks for each level and area (because of that, did you know that Dodger Stadium was the 7th most Instagrammed site in the entire world in 2013?).

Let's look at the numerous photos that took The Militant a long-ass time to resize and upload, shall we?

Gotta love the signage on this one.
Smith consulted with Peter O'Malley and discovered an unused late-'50s design
for stadium signage.  These signs faithfully employ not just the look, but the materials as well.
Juicing up is frowned upon for players, but perfectly welcome for your mobile devices.
These charging stations are found just outside the Reserve Level.
Ever wanted to know what the Dugout Club looks like? Here ya go. The field level is right above.
Deep below Field, near the Dugout Club entrance, is all 40 of the Dodgers' Gold Glove awards on display.
On the opposite side, the team's 1981 World Series trophy (the '88 trophy is getting polished).
Kershaw's Cy.
The Press Interview room. Everyone got to play Donnie for a few secs.
Deep below the 3rd base-side Field Level stands is a corridor...
Pump You Up: The Weight Training Room!
Look out Jamba and Robek's -- The Dodgers have their own smoothies!
Found in the Weight Training Room
Matt Kemp knows this room pretty well.
We found the stash.
At the end of the corridor, we end up in the land of Wilson and Jansen.

Above the new bar that overlooks the bullpen. Get it?

Some Sanrio surprises at the Stadium.
The new plaza outside of the Right Field Pavilion. If you liked it, then you should've...

Los Angeles has yet another eatery called "Tommy's."

Lasorda was asked to pick the bobble head that would get the
life-sized treatment outside his restaurant.
He picked the Hall Of Fame one.

The visitor's bullpen. There's also a bar overlooking this one too.
Excellent idea, huh?

The pedestrian walkway at the Sunset Gate got new striping and lighting.
It's also meant as an entrance for bicycles (they assume people will be walking and not riding their bikes up the hill...)
The Militant is hungry for a Dodger Dog now. Even more, he's hungry for some baseball. He may or may not be there on Opening Day on Friday, but he's definitely ready for the season! Go Dodgers!

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