A $100 million renovation of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles that was first announced last year and scheduled to be wrap-up in March but delayed due to the coronavirus crisis, has finally been completed.
While no actual fans were able to appreciate the stadium revamp at this past week’s season opener against the San Francisco Giants and experience it first hand, a few thousand cutouts—including dogs, celebrities, and at least one dearly departed superfan—were brought in to populate the stands.
The literal centerpiece of the expansive refresh is the nearly 2-acre Centerfield Plaza, a new “front door” area that, in normal times, will be a bustling hub of fan activity and home to a bevy of new (beer-heavy) concession options, a live music venue, retails, a permanent “Legends of Dodger Baseball” exhibit, a new batter’s eye wall, and a play area for antsy children who need a break from the stands.
Other upgrades include a new sound system, updated accessibility features, and modernized left and right field pavilions that are linked to the rest of the stadium by pedestrian bridges and elevators. The overhaul of the 56,000-seat hilltop stadium (no additional seats were added due to a conditional use permit) also entailed numerous cosmetic fixes that add a new sheen to the beloved 1962 ballpark—the third oldest in Major League Baseball after Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, both of which are significantly older—while retaining its breezy, L.A.-appropriate mid-century charm.
Work was initially slated to wrap up ahead of the regular season’s opening day and, beyond that, the 2020 MLB All-Star Game, which has been rescheduled for 2022 with the Dodgers still playing host. Designed by Emil Praeger, a New York-based architect best known for his original design of the Hudson River-spanning Tappan Zee Bridge and Shea Stadium in Queens, Dodger Stadium has undergone various renovations over the years. Most recently, from the 2012 through 2014 seasons, the legendary facility received new clubhouses, battling cages, weight rooms, video boards, widened concourses, improved restrooms and vendor stands, and more.
While fans may not be able to enjoy all the latest features—improved sightlines, included—for the foreseeable future, they will be able to enjoy classic Dodger Stadium fare like Dodger dogs and garlic fries while watching games from home thanks to a new delivery service available in select areas of L.A. And just because the stadium itself remains shuttered to fans, this didn’t stop some loyal members of Dodger Nation from flocking to Elysian Park, the undulating city park that surrounds the ballpark, to “feel the energy from a distance” on opening day.