From Phil Shuman:
The American flags flapped in the wind against the bright blue cloudless sky. Two jets screamed overhead as fireworks lit up the afternoon. People bought tickets that cost 30 dollars at the top of the park , more than $1000 in the dugout club, beers that cost $14.50 and a helmet full of nachos that cost $16.50.
Larry King was in the front row of those ''dugout club'' seats in a jacket ant tie with a ''working media'' credential around his neck. Hello? A fairly well behaved (for him) George Lopez and Mary Hart helped with the pre game festivities. Both huge Dodger fans (Lopez, when I asked him how many opening days he's been to, said '' I was conceived here, so I have to go back to that one ." Nice.
Magic Johnson towered over everyone clapping his hands at the player introductions from the owners' box. Yes it was a great day for '' Dodger Baseball'' as the one of a kind Vin Scully told his listeners and viewers. Since 1962, when Dodger Stadium opened in Chavez Ravine, there have been glorious days like this. Some things change, ( no parking in Elysian Park, what ? ) some things remain the same (Dodgers Dogs, $5.50) , some things change, Matt Kemp gone for Yasmani Grandal, some things remain the same (long lines at the bathroom and the concessions) , some things change, metal detectors at the entrances, some things remain the same, Dodger fans remaining loyal despite zero World Series titles since way back in 1988.
The team has the highest payroll in baseball, drew the most fans in baseball last year, yet can't be seen on TV by 7 out of 10 people here in Southern California due to the ongoing dispute between it's TV partner, Time Warner Cable, and it's partners who won't pay Time Warner's price to carry the team's game. That's more of a public relations problems, since the box office is not suffering, in fact Stan Kasten, team President told me there's a sense of urgency '' it's my biggest customer problem''. Yes Stan you said that last year, nothing's really new or different on that front. Meantime, a new season brings new hope and the optimism that this will finally be '' the year ''. See you at the Stadium.
Time Warner Cable can't strike a deal with Direct TV and other cable providers on rights for the new Dodgers channel, SportsNet LA. Time Warner Cable and Direct TV, the two main parties on yhe dispute, haven't been able to agree on programming fees. Almost three quarters of homes in the Greater Los Angeles area will be unable to watch regularly scheduled games on the channel.
Fans who do attend the game will notice some changes at the he concession stands. The stadium announced it will expand it's kitchens this year and offer more choices including a new buffet, more desserts and cocktails. Several nacho locations and beverage kiosks have been added throughout the stadium. Four reserve level food stands have also been upgraded.
Dodgers officials are taking extra measures to ensure a safe opening day. Fans attending Monday's sold out game must now enter the stadium via a walk-through metal detector. Los Angeles Police officers will be patrolling the area to enforce it's no public drinking policy. The stadium has also banned tailgating in the parking lot.
Parking will be prohibited on Avenue of the Palms (Stadium Way) between Scott Road and Academy Road from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking will be limited to two hours on the following streets:
- Scott Avenue between Echo Park Avenue and Elysian Park Drive.
- Morton Avenue between Echo Park Ave and Academy Road.
- Academy Road between Morton Avenue and Elysian Park Drive.
- Portia Street between Sunset Boulevard and Scott Avenue.
The Dodgers play the San Diego Padres at 1:10 p.m. Gates to the stadium open at 10 a.m.
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