Can You Hear Me Now?

Anyone who has been to Dodger Stadium in recent years during one of their sell-outs or near sell-outs (like just about every bobble head night) pretty much knows that it is a complete waste of time to even try to get a cell phone or 3G/4G wireless signal while sitting just about anywhere in the stadium. And even if you were fortunate enough to get a signal, you probably could have walked to wherever you were sending your message to faster than it would get there over your smartphone. Yes, wireless service at Dodger Stadium is that bad.

Enter Guggenheim Baseball Management group.

In addition to spending $2.15 billion to purchase the Dodgers last May and then another half billion to acquire what can only be described as an All-Star team, Mark Walter and company are spending yet another undisclosed millions to upgrade the 51-year-old historic ballpark to bring it into the 21st century.

In addition to the obvious (and very extensive) construction going on at Dodger Stadium right now, there is something that may not be quite as obvious to the casual observer – a brand new cell tower has been installed near the flag poles in center field; not obvious only because we are so accustomed to seeing them just about everywhere we go these days – unless, of course, they are disguised as incredibly fake looking pine trees or palm tress, which makes them blatantly obvious.

According to Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten, WiFi service will be available trough all of the major cell phone service providers. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

According to Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten, the Wi-Fi service at Dodger Stadium “…will be better than at any other ballpark in all of baseball.” (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

Although there has been no official press release from the Dodgers front office (not yet, at least) as to exactly what modifications are being made at Dodger Stadium, it has been well documented in nearly every southern California newspaper and reported on nearly every Dodgers-related blog site that historic Dodger Stadium is going through the first of what Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten referred to (unofficially) as “several phases” of renovating the iconic ballpark in the next three to five years.

Field Level seats had to be completely removed to allow  access to the clubhouses. Kasten assures fans that the seats will be put back exactly as they were when construction is complete. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

Even though all of the Field Level seats had to be removed for construction, Kasten assures that the seats will be put back exactly as they were and that the stadium will be ready for Opening Day.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

“I guess it’s kind of obvious what some of our plans include,” said Kasten at Tuesday’s Zack Greinke press conference. ” You can see that we are completely renovating both clubhouses, enlarging the eating areas and indoor batting cage. We’re also adding a visitor’s batting cage so that visiting teams will no longer have to walk through the Dodgers clubhouse to get to the batting cage. We’re also adding two brand new scoreboards and several other improvements that I can’t really talk about right now, but you’ll be hearing about them real soon, I promise,” he added.

Kasten guaranteed that phase one of the construction at Dodger Stadium will be completely finished in time for Opening Day against the hated Giants on April 1, 2013.

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In other Dodger news…

  • As you all know by now, Albuquerque Isotopes outfielder/first baseman Scott Van Slyke was designated for assignment on Tuesday to make room on the 40-man roster for journeyman utility player Skip Schumaker. The Dodgers acquired ‘Schu’ in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league shortstop Jake Lemmerman. SVS was a huge fan-favorite in Albuquerque, especially for our good friend Evan Chavez of I Bleed Dodger Blue Too. Baseball is a strange business and when that Big League call comes, there is absolutely zero margin for error. Although SVS had a game-winning home run during his brief M*A*S*H unit appearance with the Dodgers this past season, it was his weak .167 (9 for 54) average that eventually sent him back to Albuquerque. To make matters worse, when you’ve got guys like Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson breathing down your neck for very few Big League jobs, you better pull off a ‘Luis Cruz-type’ move when your time comes – and Van Slyke did not. The good news for SVS is that it is unlikely that any other team will claim him off waivers and he will probably return to Albuquerque – but not on the coveted 40-man roster. Give Evan C’s post a look.
  • Another Evan – Evan Bladh of Opinion of Kingman’s Performance has an interesting piece about an interesting former Dodger – Gary Sheffield. It seems that ‘Shef’ wants to try his hand at being an agent. As Evan notes in his post and with which I concur, I’m not all that convinced that players are going to be beating down Shef’s door to represent them – but hey, I could be wrong about this. Check out what Evan B has to say over on OKP, as well.
  • Eric Stephen over at True Blue LA has yet another excellent article going even deeper into the incredible mind of Zack Greinke about his pitching style and how he plans to approach hitters in 2013. Greinke also recaps his outstanding 2009 Cy Young Award winning season and shares his thoughts on batting (which was my question at Tuesday’s press conference). If True Blue LA isn’t on your daily read list, it should be. You won’t find a more knowledgeable baseball writer (print or blog) than Eric Stephen.
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10 Responses to “Can You Hear Me Now?”

  1. Bluenose Dodger says:

    No, I can’t hear you.

    I noticed TBLA had made mention on the other TBLA. That is good.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      Get a smartphone, Harold – you’ll be able to follow the Dodgers and all of the Dodger blog sites (etc.) away from home… even in Bangor.

      I noted Eric Stephen’s True Blue LA link to ThinkBlueLA over on the forum – very kind of him. He is the most knowledgeable writer out there.

  2. MFGRREP says:

    This is great news for me on the cell tower, bad news for my wife !!

  3. thinkblue55 says:

    Any word on if they are renovating the pavilions? I mentioned removing the bleachers and putting in actual seats in the pavilions when I got a chance to speak to Mark Walter at a game and he seemed intrigued by it.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      No mention of that, Garrett; but my friend Ray Daryabigi from Fan Services says that they are going to remove the top two rows from each section (unknown if in the Pavilions) and put up some of those stand-up counters for people to hang out and eat/drink – like they have at Petco (and other parks).

      In all honesty, I don’t see them ever putting individual seats out in the Pavilions – they would lose too many seats (but I’m all in favor of it!).

      • thinkblue55 says:

        That’s cool. I like the standing room idea with the counters. Angel Stadium has a nice thing in their Diamond Club (their version of the Dugout Club). Our home plate bar and restaurant is behind the seats and doesn’t offer a view of the game from inside. Not only does theirs offer a great view but since it is above the seats it has a patio area on the top of the field level seats with tables and chairs with full waiter service. It’s a nice way to be outside and experience the game while still enjoying the amenities.

  4. KSparkuhl says:

    Obviously, my forum post was ill-timed. Didn’t even see this article until this morning.

    I remember reading somewhere that the new ownership group was thinking of ways to decrease the number of seats in the stadium… by about five or six thousand. This would help relieve some of the parking and traffic strain on the area and also help get them closer to sell out stats. Dodger stadium is currently the largest stadium in baseball.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      No sweat, brother – we’re all family on here and on the forum.

      As you well know, the announced “paid attendance” is based on the number of tickets sold per game (or so they say) and not the actual turnstile numbers (i.e. “fannies in the seats”) per game.

      Dodger Stadium very rarely sells out (maybe 3 or 4 times a season) and to reach that coveted 3 million per season total, they need to average 37,037 per game; so, in essence, they can eliminate quite a few seats and still reach the 3 million mark; while at the same time (as you said) increasing the number of actual sell-outs. The Giants and Angels make a big deal out of this, but they rarely (if ever) out draw the Dodgers (well, perhaps except during the McCourt boycott years).

      I heard a rumor that they are/were considering lopping off the extreme far ends on each side of the Reserve Level to add additional food choices (can you say In-N-Out?), but when I pushed this question out there, I was told that it is not in the immediate short-term plans.

      Another question that Stan Kasten side-stepped (and understandably so) are the long-term plans for Dodger Stadium (i.e. “The Second Fifty,” as Frank McCourt called it about a week before the wheels fell off of his bus).

      And while there is absolutely nothing to substantiate this (well, actually there might be, but I’ll keep it to myself for the time being), I honestly believe that the Dodgers will be playing in a brand new downtown stadium in my lifetime (and I just turned 59). As much as I absolutely LOVE Dodger Stadium, a downtown stadium is far more practical and (probably) more economical in the long run; and I honestly believe that public transportation will have more to do with this than anything else. Face it, Dodger Stadium is like an island and a pain in the ass to get into and out of every night, as you also said – but my gosh is it ever beautiful!


      • KSparkuhl says:

        It’s no secret that Guggenheim is pursuing AEG and will probably buy them outright in 2013, thus making them a sports empire. They’d be building a new stadium in the vacinity of the Staples center… along with NFL type implications as well. So, whatcha got? Please do tell…

        BTW… that’s a great photo of the playing field. You know the Dodger Stadium money shot… the one with the LA skyline? Yeah, now that’s a pretty shot the stadium.

        I can’t even imagine the Dodgers without Dodger Stadium. At least the Yankees built an updated copy of the original. That’s going to be hard to do with Dodger Stadium. There aren’t many hills in downtown LA to build a stadium into.

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