COMMENTARY | The oldest Major League Baseball stadium west of the Mississippi River, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles is one of baseball's most treasured landmarks. Since its gates opened in 1962 after the Dodgers had moved west from Brooklyn, Dodger Stadium has hosted over 147 million fans that have come to watch the Boys in Blue.
Let's take a look at what has come to define this venerable ballpark over the years:
Nestled in the hills adjacent to downtown Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium is one of the most picturesque stadiums in the land. Beyond the center field wall to the north are the San Gabriel Mountains, which appear a soothing purple when the setting sun hits them at dusk just as the Dodgers take the field.
The top deck of the stadium also acts as a vista that overlooks downtown to the south. Angelinos can get a unique view of their city from this vantage point, as the lit-up skyscrapers are quite a sight at night.
Besides the classic Dodger Dog, another fixture of Dodger Stadium is organist Nancy Bea Hefley. She has been providing the soundtrack of the ballpark since 1987, charming fans with her Roland organ rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and various other melodies between innings and during pitching changes.
A more recent addition to Dodger Stadium is the All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion. While the pavilion itself has existed since the stadium opened, the food and beverage value deal has been around for less than a decade. Fans that buy tickets in the section of seats behind the right field wall are treated to unlimited Dodger Dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks throughout the game.
Dodgers fans are notoriously known to arrive late and leave early. Part of this has to do with the well-documented problem of Los Angeles traffic, and it is not uncommon to see cars filing into the parking lot in the fourth inning. By the time those people have arrived, a separate crowd is beginning to make its way out of the stadium. Another reason for this issue is due to the unusual location of the stadium. Having been constructed on a hill in the center of an urban center means there are only so many roads leading to the ballpark.
Similar traffic problems exist inside the stadium as well. Concession and bathroom lines have always been excruciatingly slow. Hungry fans that leave their seats to go grab some food may miss two whole innings waiting to order. At least Dodger Stadium has installed radios in each bathroom and televisions near most concession stands so fans don't really miss the action. But if fans wanted to watch the game on television, they wouldn't have come out to the stadium!
Unfortunately, for Dodgers faithful, Dodger Stadium hasn't hosted a World Series game for 25 years. The closest the team has come to ending that drought was the back-to-back appearances in the National League Championship Series in 2008 and 2009.
One of the ugliest chapters in Dodger Stadium history occurred in 2011 when San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten into a coma in the parking lot following the first game of the season between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Stow remains in a rehabilitation facility to this day while the two men accused in the attack await trial.
The Dodgers have since enhanced security in and around the stadium while also adding more lighting to the parking lot.
Nick Ostiller was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in Santa Clara. He is a sports reporter at The Santa Clara and contributes content for Sidelines. He has also worked for Outlook Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @nicko229.
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