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Is it time for a new Dodger Stadium?

Do you still love Dodger Stadium, wrinkles and all? Consider it a gem, a civic treasure?

Or has its time come and gone? Antiquated and more iconic than viable in 2010?

The Times’ T.J. Simers broaches the question in a Tuesday column advancing the idea of a new football stadium next to Staples Center downtown.

Simers reasons that the rich and famous who flock to Staples will walk down the hall to their new luxury suites at a state-of-the-art football stadium, but that aging Dodger Stadium will be left passé. The team would then be compelled to build a new ballpark to remain competitive, and as an added bonus, Simers figures that would force cash-strapped Frank McCourt to sell the team.

McCourt has already put his plans to renovate Dodger on indefinite hold, citing -- surprise -- financing difficulties. But his renovation is more about adding a baseball-themed Universal CityWalk-type expansion in the center-field parking lot than modernizing the stadium.

There has been a tidal wave of new ballparks built the last 20 years, leaving Dodger Stadium as baseball’s third oldest park -- behind only Wrigley Field and Fenway.

But in almost every instance, the new ballparks were freeing teams from multipurpose stadiums shared with an NFL team, configurations that never truly welcomed baseball.

So baseball moved behind Three Rivers, Fulton County, Veterans, Busch Memorial, Riverfront, Qualcomm-Jack Murphy, Baltimore Memorial, RFK and Mile High stadiums; Candlestick Park and the Astrodome and Kingdome, and moved into comfortable, unique, modern ballparks.

The thing is, Dodger Stadium was built for baseball. And to this day, it remains one of the most beautiful -- and special -- ballparks in the world. Certainly, it has one of the most scenic settings, nestled in the foothills of Chavez Ravine and with expansive views across Los Angeles.

Could it stand more improvements? Absolutely. Is it still a pain to get in and out of? No question, but then it has been for 50 years.

To most of the hoi polloi, Dodger Stadium remains beloved. Which is one of the reasons they continue to show up, 3-million plus, every season.

McCourt, however, will no doubt be taking keen interest in the financial effect of the new Yankee Stadium. Which is not the same thing as having the resources to go out and mimic the move in Los Angeles.

Can the Dodgers remain economically competitive, counting on the masses to fill the stadium and pay for parking and hot dogs and souvenirs? Or is it really time to call in the wrecking ball?

-- Steve Dilbeck

 
Comments () | Archives (53)

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CALL IN THE WRECKING BALL! Tear down the owners box. Renovation complete.

The Dodgers put 46,000 people in the seats in a good year (2008 #3 in attendance and 2009 #1 in attendance) and 44,000 in the seats in a bad year (2010 #3 in attendance). Even conservatively speaking that would be around $16M they lost by sucking it up this year (81 games x $100 per fan x 2000 fans). A new stadium would only give LA more reasons to increase taxes and Frank McCourt more reasons to put crappy teams on the field. Put a good team on the field and it pays off.

Leave. It. Alone.

Yes, it's time.

As beloved as Dodger stadium is...it's time to move on. The only thing beautiful about the ball park is the scenery and field....The renovations to the field level are nice, but above the field level is a real @*#&hole....The bathrooms are disgusting, it's a guarantee you'll be walking in an inch of human waste in the men's room. The parking lot looks like a giant dump and their concession stands are set up to be the slowest concession stands in probably all of baseball. It's a complete disaster. Throw in an idiot owner who isn't going to spend money on completing renovations or acquiring talent, and not to mention the gang atmosphere trash that the stadium attracts.....forget about it. The future couldn't look more dark.

Just needs improvment in the seats and restrooms. It is one of the best in baseball.

Dodger Stadium is an icon. Let's wait until the divorce is over. Frank's probably going to have to sell anyway. TJ's idea has some merit, but that's a roundabout way of resolving an issue that the court's will probably resolve anyway. Dodger Stadium is a great place to watch a ballgame. DON'T CHANGE IT!!!

I'd vote for major improvements over a new place. Only way for a new place to be better is to be guaranteed - and I don't think it will be. An above post makes a good financial point that even the bad years compared to what would be gained with a new place - it doesn't make it worth building a new one.

Just renovate the concessions and toilets areas. Make sure the seats stay up to date. And if the stucture is still holding up, no need to go anywhere.

Answer is simple: No. But the disgraced Dodgers need a new owner who can address the needs of a gem of a ballpark.

I love dodger stadium, i like the location the view everything even the traffic going to the stadium, i agree, the stadium is needing some drastic improvements, i disagree with building a new stadium due to the fact mostly all new ball parks are hitter friendly, this landmark that we have in the southland is one of the last real baseball parks.

If we see a new baseball park in Los Angeles, it will likely be built for and/or by the Angels. I have no doubt that is Moreno's long-term goal; Angel Stadium is attractive and well-maintained, but Anaheim is too removed from the population and cultural center of Los Angeles. Remember that his lease on Angel Stadium expires after the 2016 season, and I would not be surprised to see him build a ballpark in downtown to complement the Staples Center. (And unlike the Giants/Athletics situation regarding San Jose, I don't believe the Dodgers could legally prevent it, as the Angels probably have the city of Los Angeles in their territory.)

As far as Dodger Stadium is concerned, upgrade and renovate the place (with a link to Metro, if possible), particularly the concessions and restrooms. That's all it needs.

I like that it's the 3rd oldest ballpark in use. I say keep it but DEFINITELY modernize it. And for the love of baseball gods everywhere, improve the parking situation! It's so expensive and timely to park there, I'm not sure I want to return next year. It is a hassle.

They Dodgers should keep Dodger Stadium and just continue to renovate it. My biggest suggestion would be to find a way for Metrolink to connect directly to the stadium so that they can replace the Dodger Express bus that takes fans from and to Union Station via the Dodger Stadium parking lot (Yuck!). It would reduce parking lot traffic. If Frank wanted to recoup his missing parking lot revenue, he could try to work out a deal with the MTA or he could realize that he'd be getting additional patrons during the off-season for his proposed Dodger Stadium CityWalk plans.

With that said, TJ missed something that's been covered in other LA Times articles about the Dodgers revenue generating potential and that's that Frank McCourt is going to be able to get out of Fox Sports deal and is looking to create a unique Dodger TV Channel (ala the Yankees Yes Network) or at the very least get a more favorable deal revenue-wise since the current deal was organized for the benefit of the entire Rupport Murdoch empire and not just the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At the end of the day, the revenue from television is the primary reason why the Yankees have deep pockets (as well as why the Dodgers could have). Their new stadium is nice but without a television deal, I'd bet their salary budget would be at least half of what it is today.

I love Dodger Stadium. Don't need another stadium.

As a lifelong dodger fan I can honestly say the stadium is a dump. The layout and classic style is amazing. No other stadium in baseball will give you those great views from every seat. The stadium should be demolished and rebuilt in the same layout with modern amenities.

All we need is for ownership to finish the planned renovations.

We need a new owner first.

I personally detest the renovations made to Dodger Stadium a few years ago, so unless someone else is doing the design work, I would vote for a new park.

Those fans who say" keep Dodger Stadium" have probably never been to San Francisco, Baltimore or seen some of the other newer ballparks! I would love a new Stadium!

Why paint the car when the engine doesn't run?

@ Daniel- I'll take the view and atmosphere of the Giants ballpark!

Leave the stadium and I become an Angels fan.

I've been to Phone Company Ballpark in San Francisco as well as Camden Yards. Neither of the stadiums has any amenities that couldn't easily be incorporated into existing Dodger Stadium (with the notable exceptions of San Francisco's McCovey Cove and Baltimore's B&O warehouse though LA's equivalent would be the mountains and palm trees).

absolutely, build a new ballpark, & this time build it where it ought to have been built in the first place, namely, BROOKLYN!!!

Didn't Plaschke write about this last year? What is with the LA Times trying to tear down Dodger Stadium? Why not call for the firing of Vin Scully when you're at it?

WHAAAT????? You actually LIKE the atmosphere in AT&T?! I remember when Candlestick used to offer the best fans for Dodger fans to jeer at... Now, with $9 beers, $10 garlic fries, $25-40 parking, and $80 nosebleed seats ("dynamically priced seating" guarantees high prices for when the LA boys come to town...) The only thing you get in return is a gentrified audience that knows next to nothing about baseball... nor an audience that can truly appreciate the game or its history. The fans in the stadium are too busy playing in the Coca Cola slide or waiting in line for their expensive Napa Valley wines... Or talking about "the Good Barry"... rather than the one that road the pine for the WS.
I would stop being a Dodgers fan if such a thing ever happened to my fan base.
We are considered historic, along with the BoSox, Yanks, and Cardinals, we are one of the most important franchises in the history of the game.
Don't be like this cheap act up here... expensive as it is...
Keep LA classic. It's what makes us different from these yuppies up here. It's the only reason I drive 6hours down the I-5 to see Kershaw take the mound... exactly where Drysdale, Koufax, Hershiser and Valenzuela had.
Keep the history, keep the team.

It is time for a new owner or an old one. Just get rid of this BUM......


Dynamite it!!
the place is full of awful memories of awful teams playing in front of god awful fans.

Frank will just raise the prices to give everyone the illusion of a new ballpark ....

much, much cheaper

Angel Stadium is easily a 100% better experience than Dodger Stadium.
Its safer, cheaper, bathrooms are wayyyyyyy cleaner, lines shorter, more family friendly, parking easier
We're doomed until McCourt sells the team.
I would rather see Dodger Stadium along with the owner upgraded than a whole new stadium.
What we really need is a new football stadium.

Why build a new stadium? Why spend money unnecessarily? Instead of giving our treasured, historic stadium the wrecking ball (which our society chooses not to do these days) as fans let's keep the wrecking ball behind the McCourts and get them out of Los Angeles. After all they've done a pretty good job of destroying our morale and our team.

Don't even think about it....

The thing that makes Dodger Stadium a civic treasure is Chavez Ravine's idyllic setting in Elysian Park, the view of the rolling hills (and on a good day, the Verdugos and San Gabriels) and the general feeling that you've left crowded LA and have been transported to the only thing that matters is baseball. It's LA's breather, its self-imposed disconnect from strip malls and office towers and people driving in the breakdown lane past your traffic-jammed car.

Do whatever you want to the structure itself, but don't mess with the location and don't mess with the view. You want a panoramic backdrop of a bustling city like just about every other ballpark? Go up to the gate at the top deck and turn around.

im always surprsied at how rarley people mention that frank mccourt made dodger stadium more ugly by putting those yellow seats at dodger stadium....i mean dodger stadium USED TO be more beautiful with the blue seats and blue wall...and then....frank mccourt puts in yellow seats? and a light baby blue wall? I mean aside from the fact that they dont match , the yellow seats and light baby blue wall, the yellow seats are so nasty. I mean how many people actually think the yellow seats are better then the blue seats here? I mean is it dodger blue or dodger yellow then?

This article is insane.
The idea of tearing down Dodger Stadium would be met with public outrage. It's a gem. Leave it alone. Don't even THINK of tearing it down.

Put a wrecking ball through the McCourts' homes instead.

Keep the stadium. Lose Simers. Win-win.

What about the $500 million renovation that McCourt has an architect in place? Go to dodgers.com to check it out under the next 50 years. Once McCourt has to sell, whoever takes over can just start building the renovation plans for the stadium. Isn't it suppose to be Dodgertown U.S.A. or something?

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/ballpark/next50/walkthepark.jsp

It looks sweet.

It sure is time to get a new stadium. The concrete is crumbling above the reserved section. If you look up above sec 8 row N you see moisture damage, concrete deteriorating, and water dropping on the fans who sat in front of me. Kind of scary. If the Dodgers had a souvenir hard hat, I would suggest all fans sitting under the concrete ceiling to buy one.

NO, I say again, NO. Please don't get rid of Dodger stadium. It has history and tradition. It is a treasure.

Dodger Stadium just needs to be updated and renovated. Location-wise, it's fine where it is. It's also a beautiful ballpark to watch a baseball game. Fix the flow around the concession stands (and please - get the people working in them to pick up the pace,) improve the restrooms, and fix the flow of traffic in and out of the park! It was easier to get around the stadium in a car when there wasn't anyone "directing" traffic. You don't need a metro line in and out - increase the buses from Union Station on game days and people will get wise.

I live in Phoenix, and the Diamondbacks have a relatively new ballpark that has been highly acclaimed as being one of the beautiful new ballparks. And I will admit that Chase Field is nice -- if you like watching a ballgame from inside a tin can. There is nothing that can compare to watching a game on a summer evening in Chavez Ravine. It's the finest venue in all of baseball, and it's not even close. By all means, completely new restrooms are in order, and a re-do on the concession stands is #2 on the list, but Dodger Stadium is a treasure!

You won't ever be able to beat the location. But the stadium does need a major renovation. Being built into a hillside does have it's limitations, however, and will pose a great challenge. The sight lines are still great. Yankee Stadium was over 80 years old, had already gone through one major renovation 25 years ago, and needed to be replaced. Dodger Stadium needs to be brought into the 21st century. No McCourt "City Walk" real estate redevelopment projects with a band aids inside the Stadium, thank you. But a well-thought out renovation is necessary. Also, the money to spend on it and great players to play in it.

As a native Angeleno, Dodger stadium has been the church i've attended since i was 6 y.o. I realized something when i moved to the east coast and saw how urban life is. I've seen the Dodgers play at shea, i saw the angels play the yankees at the old stadium. I've also seen the Dodgers play in other cities like houston, fenway & at&t park and the common ground with these stadiums is public transportation and the amount of fans who use it. Dodger stadium is beautiful with the recent improvements but if there is a need for major updates, the stadium might be better located in downtown with transportation that would relieve the current parking fiasco! Keep it for now, but be prepared for a new stadium in the future, hopefully in downtown!

Who cares what Simers says? Dodger Stadium is great. BTW, I've been to Angels' Stadium, but it is a cold piece of concrete compared to Dodgers' Stadium.

Most people want Dodger Dogs--not every fast food chain imaginable. Get rid of Carls Jr. etc. and get more outlets to sell Dodger Dogs.

Take the daily stadium tour if you haven't. Get a flavor of the history from the people that work there. Then ask whether Dodgers Stadium is ready for the wrecking ball. Yes, new restrooms fixtures would be a good idea. The food concession (not just the stands)could also use an major upgrade. A Metro link would be superb. And if there's going to be any seating changes, how about sending TJ's to Chattanooga? Maybe he and Frank can share a ride.

Blueboy

Keep Dodger Stadium and renovate it. There's no stadium like it and none that is such a nice setting to watch a game. I think if the Dodgers talked about building a new stadium, good luck getting any of the city politicians to agree on it, they'd all want it moved to their neighborhoods. Keep it where it is.

WOW Dilbeck we are really bored sitting in your cubical aren't you ? A wrecking ball to Dodger Stadium ? How about a wrecking ball to the Los Angeles Times sports writers ? That sounds like a real interesting article . We can look into the cheap shots You, Planschke , & Knuckle Head #1 Simmers take at our team when things aren't going well & then the praise when they are on top of their game . How about an interesting article at what teams you morons honestly favor because you guys always seem to not be Dodger fans . Which is fine but nobody in Los Angeles appreciates the constant immature play ground cheap shots taking here in what was once a respected department in the Times.
How about articles with some insight & depth ?

San Francisco is a short drive up the coast if you want to spend an afternoon at the best ballpark in MLB. We don't usually take kindly to Dodgers fans up here, but it will give us a chance to show you this new trophy the Commissioner gave us. So come on up anytime Angelinos if you want to escape the smog and watch the Dodgers play the Giants in a real ballpark. Hope to see you soon!

Yo Scott ! We all know if the Dodgers didn't have a (bad) season you guys wouldn't have made that run as you did . Los Angeles have been beating those so called "untouchable" pitchers for seasons . So your welcome for not showing up this year so you guys could do something it took you over 50 yrs to accomplish since the move . By the way class act on Renteria ...... Ha! CH-shhhh the Giants ........ HA !

I've been to at least 21 major league ballparks (at least 23 if you count each of the three incarnations of the stadium in Anaheim).
.
A few were ratholes like Angel Stadiums #1 and #2 and Candlestick.
.
A few are iconic: Fenway, Wrigley, and old Yankee Stadium.
.
Some of the new ones have a great locations/views: PNC Park (Pittsburgh), Pac Bell, and Camden Yards come to mind, all three also beautiful parks.
.
Other new ones are merely beautiful: The Ballpark at Arlington, Jacob's Field (Cleveland), Comerica (Detroit)
.
Dodger Stadium is the only one that fits all three of these categories. It is iconic, has a great location/view, and is beautiful of itself.
.
Renovation? Yes.
.
Replacement? Are you out of your ever-living mind?!!!

Oh, Giants fans, I hate to tell you this, but AT&T is not only NOT the most beautiful of the new stadiums (very nice though), it doesn't even have the best setting.
.
That honor goes to ... wait for it ... you're not going to believe it ... but it's true ... I was shocked too ... PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

 
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