Dodger Stadium opened its outfield gate Monday, and the transformation began.
A crew of about 200 local workers spent their day trudging on and off the field, carrying the components of a giant stage deck that was laid over the infield. Then came the plywood, then the 30-foot long aluminum pans holding enough refrigerant to cool a 2-inch thick sheet of ice to 22 degrees Farenheit.
Over the next 12 days, the transformation from baseball field to hockey venue will be complete. The Kings and Ducks are scheduled to play the first outdoor hockey game in Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. as part of the NHL’s “Stadium Series,” a slate of five outdoor games this winter.
The stories of the meticulous transformation, the man behind it, and the preposterousness of playing an outdoor hockey game in Southern California, will wait for another day. NHL ice-maker Dan Craig, Kings president Luc Robitaille, and Dodgers president Stan Kasten filled in some of the smaller blanks yesterday:
• Robitaille said that 50,000 tickets have been sold, and the venue will accommodate up to 54,000 for the game. That’s 2,000 less than Dodger Stadium’s baseball capacity. So where can’t you sit? Kasten said he wasn’t aware of any sections that will be blocked off. It could be that another 2,000 seats will be added if there’s enough demand.
• There will be no seats on the field.
• In order to level the playing field (literally), Craig’s team used a laser from the bottom deck of Dodger Stadium to measure the incline of the field. The pitcher’s mound has been leveled; that’s where the penalty boxes will go. The Kings’ and Ducks’ benches will be in the shallow outfield.
• Kasten got assurance from the NHL that the rink construction won’t interfere with the ongoing renovation projects outside the bullpen areas. “We’ll just have to direct people around some of the fenced-off areas,” he said.
• Craig’s crew will not work during the day. A tarp will be covering the rink area to shield the sunshine.
Some (more) bullet points for a Ratification Day:
• MLB.com ranked the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. Julio Urias is number 5.
• Scout.com ranked the top 100 prospects in baseball. Corey Seager is number 25; Joc Pederson, 35; Urias, 41; Zach Lee, 76; Chris Anderson, 94. Former Dodger Allen Webster, who went to Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, ranked 54th.
• The Los Angeles Kings wore Dodgers jerseys in warmups yesterday. Weird:
• If you were to choose the best player from all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), you could reasonably come up with three Dodgers, as SportingNews.com did. Montana needs to step up its game.
• The Baseball Reliquary has chosen Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, among its first-time candidates for induction into the Shrine Of The Eternals. In 2012, former Dodgers team physician Dr. Frank Jobe was inducted into the Shrine in his 10th try. Other former Dodgers on the diverse ballot include Don Zimmer and John Montgomery Ward.
• A thought about the new posting system for Japanese players. Let’s say the recent Sports Hochi report was right, and that Masahiro Tanaka had narrowed his choices to the Dodgers, Yankees and Angels (who reportedly never met with the pitcher). Or maybe John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle was right, and Tanaka’s choice is among three cities and five teams. Even in this scenario, there are no small or even mid-sized markets represented among Tanaka’s final choices. Can MLB honestly say the new $20 million posting fee limit achieved its goal?
• “Dance of the Pseudo Nymph” by Flying Lotus is at once hard and soft, deliberate and mysterious — in other words, a magician of modern layering at his finest: