Friday, September 30, 2011

Destinations: Dodger Stadium

I was recently on assignment in Los Angeles, California to cover the Pittsburgh Pirates game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This was my first trip to the State of California and I wanted to share my travel experiences with any baseball enthusiasts thinking of visiting Dodger Stadium.
Downtown Los Angeles as seen from the Dodger Stadium parking lot
After a day at Santa Monica Beach a noncontributing/nonreading Blast Furnace friend and I packed into our “economical” Chevy Aveo rental car and made our way to Dodger Stadium. We kept hearing about the nightmare that is Los Angeles traffic so we left for the game around 4:30 pm. The 14 mile drive from our hotel near Century City wasn’t as bad as I expected, the traffic moved along at a steady pace and we were able to exit off to Dodger Stadium in about 45 minutes. We traveled up a long winding road that brought us to a massive parking lot and there built into the hillside of Chavez Ravine Dodger Stadium appeared. Parking was easy becuase Dodger fans have a reputation of arriving late to games. The lot offered a breathtaking view of downtown LA. We had ample time before the game started so we decided to explore the stadium. First we climbed to the top of the stadium and snapped pictures of the beautiful skyline that featured palm trees and the San Gabriel Mountains. Dodger Stadium is a massive five level structure that holds 56,000 people which is the largest in Major League Baseball. The upper deck is very steep similar to the old Yankee Stadium. We made our way to the team store which was packed with Dodger apparel. I was somewhat disappointed in the team store, it lacked the knick knacks that I like to bring home as souvenirs.
View from atop Dodger Stadium
As game time approached we found our seats in the Loge Box on the first base line and were ready for the game. Our seats were very good, about seven rows behind the Pirates dugout. There were several Pirates fans there which wasn’t surprising considering Pittsburgh fans show up everywhere. Unfortunately I left my Bucco hat in the car, was ashamed at my decision, and ended up wearing the USC LA cap giveaway instead. The game started off with a bang. Struggling Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf hit a three run homer that stunned Dodger fans and the Pirates took a commanding lead. While watching the game I noticed a familiar looking blond woman sitting in the front row, it looked to be Elisabeth Shue, made famous by her role as “Ali with an i” from Karate Kid and more recently in a guest staring role in Curb Your Enthusiasm. As the game went on the LA night grew chilly and what better way to warm up then eating a famous food staple: the Dodger Dog. The Dodger Dog was a little bigger than your average stadium hot dog and best topped with the condiments of relish and onions. The ‘dog' was delicious, it wasn’t an “Original” hot dog, but it was the best stadium hot dog that I have ever eaten. The rest of the food options at the concession stands were nothing to write home about. PNC Park is light years ahead of most of the other MLB parks I have attended in this aspect. Dodgers fans lived up to their reputation by arriving late to the game. The fans were not unruly and I felt safe the entire time despite warnings due to the Bryan Stow incident. After nearly blowing a big lead late in the game, the Pirates prevailed, winning 6-2.
View of the first pitch from our seats
I really enjoyed my trip to Dodger Stadium, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. The picturesque view made for a perfect backdrop for the game. I would have to rank it in my top five ballparks that I have visited alongside PNC Park, Fenway Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Old Tiger Stadium (yes, it was old and rundown, but it had character). Even though the stadium is the third oldest in baseball it was still in great shape and I recommend it to any baseball fan as a must see place to watch a game.
Other Blast Furnace stadium reviews: Cleveland's Progressive Park


  1. R Korn said...

    New stadium rankings:

    Fenway Park
    PNC Park
    Oriole Park at Camden Yards
    Dodger Stadium
    Old Tiger Stadium
    Cleveland Progreesive Park
    Old Yankee Stadium
    Three Rivers (had to have been one of the worst parks for baseball)

  2. Pills said...

    Unfortunately, I missed Dodger Stadium. Hopefully, I can make it there before it is gone. Saw Angel Stadium, nice, but nothing special. There is just something so mystical about the Dodgers to me because they left Brooklyn and changed baseball.

  3. Sounds like a great time, it's to bad I couldn't make the trip this year. Maybe next year, since our nonreading Blast Furnace friend goes every year. They didn't have any cool souvenirs? It would be cool, to have something from every park you have visited.