Dodger groundskeepers prepare the outfield at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)
Dodger Stadium has already made way for motocross racing, rock concerts and Papal masses. Why not a little hockey game?
Adding to today’s announcement that the Kings and Ducks will play each other at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 next year, Dodgers president Stan Kasten added his voice to the chorus of excitement Monday.
“I didn’t know they [the NHL] were going to get off New Year’s,” he said, referring to the traditional date for the annual Winter Classic outdoor game. “Now that they’re doing it, what a great thing to have Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Those are the places you want to have games.”
Dodgers president Stan Kasten returned from the construction zone that is Dodger Stadium with a vision of the future.
“Maybe not by Thursday,” he said, “but by Friday it will get done.”
The media, whose tour of the new-look stadium is still a few days away, aren’t the only ones skeptical of this pronouncement. The renovated clubhouses are supposed to be ready by Thursday, one day before the Dodgers host their first exhibition game against the Angels, and “I’m fully planning on winning several bets I had with a number of our players who doubted us,” Kasten said.
The ambitious project included unforeseen snags and cost overruns that ran the total bill “north” of $100 million, but overall Kasten had an upbeat outlook Saturday.
“We’re happy, proud and a little surprised it did get done,” he said.
If anything should make him nervous it’s Opening Day.
I finally had a chance today to listen to Stan Kasten’s 42-minute, 40-second chat at the SABR Analytics conference last weekend. SABR is the Society for American Baseball Research so, naturally, the interview took a historical bent. The president of the Los Angeles Dodgers talked almost as much about building the 1980s and 1990s Atlanta Braves as he did his current team.
Embedded among Kasten’s words was an important lesson for Dodgers fans (and haters).
The Dodgers are reviving a lost tradition this year: The Old Timer’s Game on June 8 will feature unnamed “Dodgers and Yankees legends.” The tradition was discontinued in 1995 in the midst of declining crowds at Dodger Stadium. Clearly there was some fan interest in seeing the event return, and it will be interesting to see which former players are willing (and able) to suit up for the game.
Next year the Dodgers will revive a unique tradition, the Hollywood Stars game, team president Stan Kasten said Monday.
There were a number of fresh faces on the major-league fields today who migrated from the Dodgers’ minor-league camp.
“That’s kind of been a plan — just talking about integrating” the two sides, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve tried to hit on the back field early in camp. When the pitchers are doing their work, we’ve had guys hitting back there with the minor leaguers. It was only three days this year, so they lockered over here. During those first two camps they were lockering over there. Where you get the minor league guys get exposed to Matt (Kemp) and different guys. I think it’s nice that we’ve got a little bit of a new program where our guys can work out together.
“That’s been the development-side thinking, trying to integrate those guys. I know we’ve got some guys who are going to go over and talk to the kids. We’re all one. … I had to talk about it this morning, what (team president) Stan (Kasten) has talked about is building the system back. I know that when you bring all these guys in that we’ve brought in at once, that’s big, bold splashes right away to kind of get the team on opportunity right away. But you listen to Magic (Johnson) and Stan and these guys, they want to try to win every year. To do that, that side over there has got to get strong, where that’s coming through. We need to keep integrating. The idea of having the clubhouses closer, having them all together. When those guys know it’s not that far away it’s a good thing.”
Mattingly added that the minor-league players aren’t missing out on anything they wouldn’t be doing otherwise by switching sides, as both camps have integrated new training methods this year.
Team president Stan Kasten unveiled the above schematic showing the clubhouse-level renovations at Dodger Stadium. It’s a series of three images. The top image shows the old clubhouse (in blue). The middle shows the expanded area. The bottom image shows the overlay of the new (black outline) atop the old (blue). Kasten didn’t reveal the exact square footage before and after the renovation, but he said the total area will roughly double.
This area of Dodger Stadium is hidden to most fans. For reference’s sake, the blue protrusion extending from the “top” of the clubhouse (top image) is the tunnel leading into the third-base (home) dugout.
Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson made the media rounds today to talk about the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
Are rumors of performance-enhancing drug use tarnishing your reputation? Write a book!
Worked for Lance Armstrong, right?
Mike Piazza is co-authoring a book with Lonnie Wheeler in which he denies using PEDs, according to Newsday. Earlier this week Piazza was denied election to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, collecting 57.8 percent of votes, short of the mandatory 75 percent.
How much of that is due to PED suspicions is unclear, but it will be interesting to see if Hall voters are affected by Piazza’s tell-all.
Hope you’re in the mood for some performance-enhancing bullet points …
Aaron Sele’s career numbers as a Dodger: 28 games, 15 starts, 8-6 record, 4.53 ERA. More Hall of Fame votes than Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.64 as a Dodger). Makes sense to me. (AP)
Usually I dish out distractions in the morning. Unfortunately before noon today I was way too distracted by the guy (or gal) who gave a Hall of Fame vote to Aaron Sele.
The Dodgers Dream Foundation, in partnership with the LA84 Foundation and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, announced that they will dedicate a new Dodgers Dreamfield in Reseda Park Saturday. The field is located at 18411 Victory Blvd, Los Angeles and the dedication will begin at 10 a.m. Dodgers prospects Joc Pederson, Onelki Garcia and Matt Magill will be there, along with team president Stan Kasten, broadcaster Charley Steiner and alumni Al “The Bull” Ferrara, Lee Lacy, Ramon Martinez, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Yeager.
This will be the 24th “Dreamfield” the team has dedicated since 1998.
On to the links …
We’ve known for some time that Dodger Stadium was getting major renovations this off-season. On Tuesday we got a better idea of how sprawling the multi-year project is. More than any questions about how the fan experience will be improved — if you complained about it, the team was listening — one was left to wonder: Are they going to get this done in time for the first Freeway Series game against the Angels on March 29?
“I think we’re going to get it done by opening day,” team president Stan Kasten said. “The unforeseen is unforeseeable. It might bleed into the season.”
Check out these photos and judge for yourself. An artist’s rendering of the final product is above.