Feb 8, 2010

Dodger Stadium - Largest Ballpark By Seating Capacity

Dodger Stadium is a stadium in Los Angeles, California, United States. Located adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium has been the home ballpark of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers team since 1962. Dodger Stadium was constructed from 1959 to 1962 at a cost of $23 million paid for through private financing. Dodger Stadium is currently the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball (behind Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago,) and is the largest ballpark by seating capacity.

The stadium hosted the 1980 MLB All-Star Game, as well as games of the 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1988 World Series. It also hosted the semifinals and finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic as well as exhibition baseball during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Design

Dodger Stadium was one of the last baseball-only facilities built before the dawn of the multi-purpose stadium. It was built near a large cross-section of freeways converging near downtown Los Angeles with an expansive parking lot surrounding the stadium. With the construction of many new MLB ballparks in recent years, it is now the third-oldest park still in use, and the oldest on the West Coast. One of the park's distinctive features is the wavy roof atop each outfield pavilion.

A unique terraced-earthworks parking lot was built behind the main stands, allowing ticketholders to park at roughly the level that their seats are, minimizing their climbing and descending of ramps once they get inside the stadium. It was also designed to be earthquake-resistant, an important consideration in California, and has stood the test of several serious earthquakes.

Strobe lights were added in 1999; they flash when the Dodgers take the field, after a Dodger home run and after a Dodger win.

In addition to those of Drysdale, Koufax, and Sutton, the retired numbers of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Tommy Lasorda, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella and Jim Gilliam are mounted below the pavilion roofs behind the outfield fence.

The Dodgers devote significant resources to the park's maintenance. For example, it is repainted every year, and a full-time crew of gardeners maintain the site. No plans are in the works to replace it. Renovations were made beginning in 2004 that initially added additional field level seats, particularly behind the plate where previously the only person seen there was scout Mike Brito in his trademark Panama hat tracking pitch speed. After some criticism of the sightlines with these new seats, they were replaced with box seats.


Seating

Dodger Stadium is the only current MLB park (excluding the most recently-built parks) that has never changed its capacity. It has always held 56,000 fans, due to a conditional-use permit limiting its capacity. Every time the Dodgers add seats, they always remove an equal number of seats in the upper deck or in the pavilion to keep the capacity the same. Through the sale of standing room only tickets, though, the Dodgers' 2009 home opener managed to draw 57,099 fans, the largest crowd in stadium history. Following a number of indcidents in the early 1970s in which fans showered the Cincinnati Reds left fielder Pete Rose with beer, bottles, cups, and trash, the sale of beer was discontinued in the left field pavillion. Beer sales were reinstated in the left field pavilion in 2008. A new addition to Dodger Stadium in 2009 is the Bleacher Beach. Bleacher Beach is in the upper deck in left field and the fans sitting there have access to free food.

With the retirement of Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in 2009, the park claimed the title of being the largest capacity stadium in the Majors.


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