A Look at the New Dodger Stadium

 And by new Dodger Stadium, I mean the secure Dodger Stadium.  If it wasn’t apparent by now, I had the pleasure of getting to attend last night game between the Dodgers and Giants, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the game and the environment.

As I said in my review and preview, the Dodgers did lose last night, but made Brian Wilson’s inability to close out the game made it very close.  There’s nothing more exciting than your team rallying in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, and this was no exception.  I can’t say I’d ever been to such a game live though.  I got to sit in the Left Field Pavilion in the second row, which thanks to the greatness that is stubhub.com, I got two of these seats for $12 each.  From these seats, it was easy to most of the field, and even the strike zone was somewhat visible, as long as a lefty was batting at least.  The views were fantastic though, and it’s easy to forget just how big some of these MLB players are.  Specifically, guys like Matt Kemp, Jerry Sands, Chad Billingsley and even Cody Ross.

But that was also true before March 31st, the day Bryan Stow was beaten by fans outside of Dodger Stadium.  If you don’t know that story, and the actions taken by the Dodgers, then I wonder what rock you’ve been living under, and what else you don’t know (Did you hear about Osama Bin Laden?).  The biggest change since then, is the increased presence of the LAPD.  I think many people wonder if they can still enjoy the game in spite of the presence of this increased security, and I’m hear to tell you that the LAPD makes the game just as enjoyable as ever, if not more.

While angry, highly intoxicated fans makes for some funny moments, it really isn’t sportsmanlike, and it isn’t something to be proud of.  In the old Dodger Stadium, that’s exactly what you would have found.  Fans who were drunk, angry, and (because of, or realistically even in spite of, the alcohol) had no problem making that clear to everyone around them.  So if you were an opposing fan, you had to bet on listening to lots of F-bombs, heckling, and you probably had to be prepared to have food thrown at you.  Which I’ll admit, was humorous the first time.  But after a while, it lost it’s luster, and became annoying and really ruined the experience.

With the dramatic increase of security came the dramatic decrease of these types of fans.  Last night, the worst a Giants fan had to deal with as he was walking around was a loud collection of boos.  Which is as it should be.  Fans of opposing teams shouldn’t have to think for any reason that it would be bad to show their colors in the home teams stadium.  They shouldn’t be cussed out, they shouldn’ t have food thrown at them.  The loudest opposing fan was actually a man decked out in Cubs gear, who was bragging that he got a baseball before all of the other fans there (to which I simply yelled “1908!” and left it at that.)

Last night, the environment as a whole was much more fan-friendly and especially family-friendly.  The Dodgers and Giants fans went back and forth a little bit, but it was all in good fun.  There wasn’t a hint of animosity, just two groups of fans looking to enjoy the game in front of them.  Even though the Giants were up all game, they didn’t rub it in (at least as much as they could have), and nothing was more exciting than the 9th inning rally the Dodgers staged.  The entire stadium was loud and crazy after Jerry Sands’ RBI double, which immediately erased whatever downtrodden feelings were plaguing the Dodger fans all game.  And although the rally did fall short, fans exiting the game were up-beat, many of them saying things like “Man, that ball falls a foot forward, and we win!”.   Stuff like that.

The security guards themselves didn’t impede on the enjoyment at all either.  For the most part, they simply stood and observed, and made sure all the fans enjoyed themselves.  They even chatted with some of the fans and were mostly good-natured.  The Ushers were also more helpful and up-beat compared to before the Bryan Stow incident.

Overall, I had a blast at the game last night.  Now, a 9th inning rally, whether successful or not, will always have fans leaving with a good taste in their mouths, I’d say the increased security presence has done nothing but good.  I only wish the Dodgers could fill up all of their seats, because it’s sad to see a large portion of the stadium empty, especially against your rivals.

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