Dodgers Begin 60th Season This Afternoon
Posted: Monday, April 3, 2017 – 10:28 AM
The Dodgers will begin their 60th season in Los Angeles Monday amid changes outside and inside Dodger Stadium, including the concession stands, and likely of most significance to fans, the broadcast booth.
Pregame ceremonies will begin at approximately 12:40 p.m., paying homage to the tradition and pageantry of opening day. A special video will be played, leading into ceremonial first pitches by Wally Moon and Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda.
Moon played outfield for the Dodgers from 1959-65 and is best remembered for his penchant for hitting home runs, dubbed “Moon shots” over the 42- foot screen in left field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the team played through 1961. Moon will be celebrating his 87th birthday Monday.
Lasorda’s first pitch comes four days before the 40th anniversary of his first opening day as the team’s manager, a 5-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on April 7, 1977, at Dodger Stadium, best remembered for his friend Frank Sinatra singing the national anthem and Gary Thomasson hitting a home run off future Hall of Famer Don Sutton on the game’s first pitch.
Sutton shut out the Giants the rest of the game, allowing three more hits to a lineup that included future Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and Bill Madlock, a four-time National League batting champion, who both went hitless in four at-bats.
Brett Young will sing the national anthem, one day after losing out to Jon Pardi for new male vocalist of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Young was raised in Orange County and pitched for Calvary Chapel High School, Mississippi, Irvine Valley College and Fresno State.
The team is encouraging fans to arrive early to the sold-out game against the San Diego Padres. Auto and stadium gates will open at 10 a.m., with Dodger Stadium Express shuttle bus service from Union Station starting at 10:10 a.m.
Dodger features will be shown on DodgerVision and live music will be played throughout the stadium beginning at 10 a.m. The Dodger will take batting practice from 10:15-11:15 a.m. and the Padres from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Changes outside Dodger Stadium include the ring road behind center field being reconfigured in an effort to reduced congestion and the creation of a new premium parking lot between the former 76 station and the center field transit road.
The pedestrian loading area for the Dodger Stadium Express bus has been reconfigured to provide a dedicated area with uniform pedestrian lighting.
Additional landscaped islands of olive trees, palm trees and the native succulent plants of the region have been planted at either end of the transit street.
Another exterior change will come on April 15 with the unveiling of Dodger Stadium’s first statue, which will depict Jackie Robinson. The unveiling will come on the 70th anniversary of his breaking Major League Baseball’s color line.
There are several new memorabilia displays inside Dodger Stadium.
A gallery adjacent to the Vin Scully Press Box will include Scully’s headset and other objects from his broadcast booth during his final season with the Dodgers. A new display case at the left field entry to the club level will feature game-worn jerseys from Dodger greats including Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Fans with tickets on field, loge and club levels and anyone with a season ticket will be able to access these areas.
Game-used bats from nearly every all-star that has played for the Dodgers in Los Angeles will be on display in the right field baseline club. The display is open to anyone in the right field concourse.
A new mini-suite has been built inside the Stadium Club to host groups of 15. The loge level party boxes, which can host groups of 12 to 16, have been given a new look and improved surroundings.
Areas on the field level concourse near each foul pole have been created for groups of 15 to 60. The areas have standing room, bar stools and high-top tables.
All the suites on the club level and the Lexus Dugout Club have been renovated.
The Bud & Burgers and King’s Hawaiian Grill concession stands will be making their debuts Monday.
The Budweiser-branded Bud & Burgers is located down the third base line and will feature the Dodger Burger, a grilled Dodger Dog grilled on top of a beef patty. Budweiser has also created a simulated batting experience by the left field Bud bar.
King’s Hawaiian Grill will have a premium barbecue menu including Pulled Pork Sliders made with original Hawaiian sweet rolls, Smoked Pork Nachos, Big Island Lava Wings and the Hawaiian BBQ Dodger Dog with a King’s Hawaiian hot dog bun, pulled pork and the chain’s original sweet pineapple barbecue sauce.
New dishes at Dodger Stadium include:
— BaseBowls featuring Poke bowls, Teriyaki Chicken bowl, Kalua Pork bowl and the Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowl. They will be available on the field level at aisle 45 on the third base side;
— Chick-N-Tots, house made marinated chicken bites with topping options of chili cheese, Buffalo sauce, garlic, oil and parmesan cheese. They will be available on the field level at aisle 8 on the first base side;
— Mediterranean Quinoa salad, Strawberry & Beets Salad and fresh sandwiches such as Turkey Club, Albacore Tuna Salad and Grilled Vegetable Flatbread will be available at United Healthcare Market Place Locations on the field level at aisle 5, the loge level at aisle 137 and the reserve level at aisle 5.
— Shock Top Bratwurst, spicy pork bratwurst link infused with Shock Top beer served on a warm bun with caramelized onions and spicy brown mustard will be available at the Extreme Loaded Dog Stands on the field level at aisle 48, the loge level at aisle 135 and the reserve level at aisle 2; and
— Desserts such as funnel cakes topped with powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle and whipped cream; glazed churros; cinnamon sugar churro served with blue ice cream; deep fried Oreos and Twinkies will be available at Trolley Dodger Treats on the field level at aisle 46 on the first base side.
Joe Davis has become the Dodgers full-time television play-by-play broadcaster, succeeding Scully, who retired at the conclusion of the 2016 season following a record 67 years with the team.
“It’s a special thing when you look at it as being one of the people that can follow him and be part of that incredible history this organization has,” Davis told ABC7. “It was something that I couldn’t say no to. Hopefully over time fans will learn to tolerate listening to me and respect what I do.”
Davis called nearly all of the road games last season. Unlike Scully who worked alone, Davis will be joined in the booth by former Dodgers Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra.
The 29-year-old Davis also broadcasts Major League Baseball and college football and basketball games for Fox Sports.
Following stints with the Schaumburg Flyers of the independent Northern League and the Montgomery (Alabama) Biscuits of the Double-A Southern League, Davis was hired by ESPN in 2012 when he was 24 to broadcast college baseball, basketball, football, hockey and softball.
A majority of fans in the Los Angeles area will not be able to see the SportsNet LA broadcasts of the games for a fourth consecutive season because several television providers, most prominently DirecTV, have rejected the fee sought by the regional sports network, which is co-owned by Charter Communications and Guggenheim Partners.
An arm of Guggenheim Partners, Guggenheim Baseball Management, owns the Dodgers.
KTLA-TV Channel 5 will broadcast 10 games, beginning with Wednesday’s contest against the Padres.
Amid all the changes, the Dodgers roster is stable. All but two players on the 25-man opening day roster played with the team last season.
The newcomers are Logan Forsythe, the expected starting second baseman acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, and relief pitcher Sergio Romo, signed as a free agent after playing nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants.
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw will make his seventh consecutive opening day start for the Dodgers. Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will be making his debut with San Diego after splitting last season between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels.