Located in an area north of downtown Los Angeles known as Chavez Ravine, Dodger
Stadium was opened in 1962 as the permanent home of the newly relocated Dodger
franchise. Being one of the oldest ballparks still in existence and home to one of the most
successful franchises in all of sports, this building was able to impress us in many different
ways, some good and some not so good.

Outside the venue
While most baseball venues we have seen are located either in the heart of downtown or
in some lot far away from a city center, Dodger Stadium's surroundings are a mixture of the
two styles. It is located in the center of a huge parking lot a la KC, Anaheim, or San Diego,
yet getting there from the freeway means negotiating your way through a few residential
side streets. With the topography of the area this is hardly then your neighborhood
ballpark, and after driving up the hill you pull into one of the many massive parking lots
which surround the facility. Parking is quite plentiful and not too pricey at $7 per spot. With
the hated archrival Giants in town, the lots were filled with plenty of good-natured ribbing
between opposing fans. The setting would lend itself nicely to a great massive tailgate
scene, except the Dodgers prohibit such activity, and don't even open the lots until
roughly two hours before game time. Portable restrooms/waste receptacles were nowhere
to be found.

Plenty of lush landscaping native to the area can be seen adorning the hillsides that
Dodger Stadium is built into. Palms and ferns amongst many other styles of vegetation are
to be found all about the outside. The outside walls of the facility are decorated with many
giant and colorful murals of members of the current Dodger ballclub. Atop the stadium, one
can get a view of the field and grandstand and if you turn around and faces the opposite
direction, there is a fabulous view of the downtown LA skyline.

The Concourses
In an unusual move, the roadtrippers will have to leave this portion of the report
incomplete. Here at Dodger Stadium, there are no escalators, nor ramps, no passages, just
about no way to get up and down inside the building. Access between concourses is
limited to one dank and narrow staircase and three makeshift freight elevators. And of
course, the ushers here at Dodger Stadium are no different than their SoCal brethren at
the Staples Center, "may I see your ticket!!?" Believe us when we state that you had better
have it when they ask. We were told by others in the stands about a recent incident in
which a boy was separated from his family for close to an hour and a half by stadium
personnel, simply because he had lost his ticket somewhere while making his way from
concourse to concourse. Can you even imagine an incident that would resemble this in
Buffalo or nearly any other place in North America?? We also learned that as a result there
is talk of a lawsuit against the Dodgers so stay tuned.

You can only enter the stadium in the area in which you hold a ticket, and your movements
are pretty much corralled into that area. For example, if you have a left field bleacher ticket,
that is where you go and stay. If you have a plaza level ticket, ditto. We had seats in the
reserved level and there were some nice views of the playing field from the concourse at
the home plate area. The top deck concourse offers fans a striking view of the field and
beyond. The main merchandise shop is also located at the top of the building.

Being able to walk around a ballpark and experience the building itself is one of the basic
joys of a baseball experience, and the inability to tour this stadium was a major
disappointment (we had requested photo credentials and access passes but due to some
sort of snafu the Dodgers never got the paperwork). We do understand, however, that this
stadium is literally built into a hill and seats 55,000, and the infrastructure to allow free
movement around the building for a large number of people just is not there.

Concessions
From what we were able to gather in our concourse, there was an ample if not very diverse
selection of concessions. Krispy Kreme, Carl's Jr, Subway, and Carvel among others
alongside the renowned Dodger Dog. All big name conglomerates to be sure, but outside
of garlic fries there wasn't much in the way of specialty foods on the level of other places
we have visited. In other words, classic
ballpark dreck. We took a stab at the famed
frankfurter and found it to be rather ordinary, it's possible that after visiting so many
venues that a delicacy such as the classic hot dog just doesn't get our taste buds going.
Nevertheless, for a truly awesome brat or hot dog we would steer you elsewhere.

Seating Area
Five levels of seating basically stemming from foul pole to foul pole, and a set of bleacher
pavilions beyond the left and right field fences make up the seating bowl here at Dodger
Stadium. Seats are decked in orange, blue, and gold depending on the section. There are
also some premium seats that are all the rage sitting directly behind home plate. Distinctive
scalloped canopies hang over the reserved level and the bleachers, which give this venue
its most recognizable look.  There is a video board above the left field pavilion and the
scoreboard sits atop the right field pavilion. From the grand stand you are treated to an
impressive view of the natural beauty beyond Dodger Stadium property, and don?t forget
the "THINK BLUE" sign out in the distance that appears to be built in the mode of the
famed "HOLLYWOOD" sign. The sign is also spotlighted after dark for easier nighttime
viewing.

Retired numbers, Banners
The Dodger franchise is one whose origins are rooted in Brooklyn well over a century ago
and gratefully do a fine job of remembering ALL of Dodgers history and not just what has
occurred since 1958. Here the outfield fence is one giant blue and white mural with
depictions of Dodger greats whose jersey numbers will never be worn again. The names
and faces of  Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campenella, Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale,
Walter Alston, Tommy Lasorda, and Don Sutton can be found staring at the batter from the
outfield fence. We'll also mention the name of Jackie Robinson, since it was his role as a
member of the Dodgers that changed the game of baseball forever.

Extra Points
The introduction scenes on the jumbotron was a montage of Dodger history, and again
done with class with reference to its history in Brooklyn. We tip our hats to the Dodgers
organization and the classy way in which they revere and celebrate their storied history on
both sides of the continent.

This was July 4th at Dodger Stadium and a sellout crowd on hand combined with the
presence of the archrival Giants the atmosphere here was fantastic. There is a more
traditional approach to fan entertainment here than you will find in most places. There are
very few video clips and useless, silly games on the jumbotron between innings. You will
not find all kinds of twenty year old employees shooting off t-shirts or Dodger Dogs or
anything to that effect. Most refreshing of all is the lack of some god forsaken furry blue
mascot riding around in some ATV. Yes folks, a game at Dodger Stadium is amongst the
purest baseball experiences in the land. And get this, thanx to the promise of post game
fireworks, the SoCal stereotype of  "arrive in the 2nd and leave by the 7th" was out the
window and the result was one of the most enthusiastic 7th inning stretches anywhere. We
rate this one to be a notch below Wrigley (RIP Harry Caray) and Enron (Deep in the Heart of
Texas).

Summary
The roadtrippers came away from this venue with various degrees of emotion and are
having a difficult time placing an exact rating that fits this place. On one hand, this is one of
the hallowed grounds of baseball, nicknamed "The Taj Mahal of  Baseball"? for its splendid
appearance and great sightlines for baseball, the only sport that was meant to be played
here. On the other hand, this is an old facility and shows its age in many spots, and since
we have been so spoiled in seeing the amazing new ballparks at the major league and
minor league level, we have to question if the trend for new ballpark construction or a
massive overhaul of the existing venue will eventually find its way to Dodger Stadium.

SCORING:
Architecture 8
Food and team store 5.5
Scoreboard and electronics 4
Ushers 7
Fan support 6
Location and neighborhood 3
Banners and history 8
In game entertainment 8
Concourses/fan comfort 2
Bonus: Think Blue marquee 1
TOTAL: 52.5
Dodger Stadium
#85




Dodger
Stadium             



Los Angeles,
California




July 4, 2001




San Francisco
Giants
at
Los Angeles
Dodgers