About two weeks ago, the invitations arrived in Dodgers blogger’s email boxes across the Southland. The Dodgers were going to have a luncheon, with a VIP tour afterward, and as loyal fans/writers/opinion makers/P.R. allies, we were all invited to attend. I may have missed the USA v Japan semi-final, but wild horses couldn’t drag me away from this event!
I was so excited to be there today, I arrived at the stadium gate 45 minutes early. The no-nonsense guard told me to turn my car around and return in a half hour, a scant 15 minutes before the scheduled noon start time.
Fast forward to 11:50 a.m. and my first 2017 view of that magnificent structure in Chavez Ravine.
They checked us in, handed everyone a complimentary Dodgers baseball cap, and we gathered in the Baseline Club.
We heard a presentation about all the fun theme nights and promotional giveaways coming up this season. Did you know that over 60 of the Dodgers 80 home games have a theme or a giveaway? With 40,000 fans receiving gifts at those special games, the Dodgers top all the other baseball clubs in giving back to the fans who come out to the stadium.
The special night that generated the most buzz in the room was April 15, Jackie Robinson Night. On that evening the Dodgers will unveil their first stadium statue, none other than ol’ Number 42. They also mentioned the giveaway – to 40,000 fans – will be a replica of that statue. “Wow”s and “Ooooh”s broke out all around the room.
While details about the statue were scarce, we bloggers pushed and here are the extra tidbits we were able to garner:
- The statue will be larger than life, and made from bronze. It will rest on a granite base with inscribed quotes from Jackie.
- It will be situated on the Reserved Level, and will be set with the Downtown LA skyline in mind.
- The Robinson family was consulted and had input on the pose, features and the chosen quotes.
Then the Dodgers introduced their new Executive Chef, Ryan Evans. He told us all about the new foods that he’s created for this season.
The food all looked mighty good.
Above is an extreme bacon wrapped dog and some type of extreme burger with hot dog and tater tots all included in the mix. The burger is infused – or something – with Budweiser.
I don’t want to tell Chef Evans how to do his job (he doesn’t tell me how to write), but for the love of Lasorda, with so many excellent local craft breweries surrounding Dodger Stadium, was Budweiser really the best beer to go with on that one?
We finally got to sample the food, and from what I was able to taste in the 10 minutes or so before the tour left, the eats were very good. I just wish we’d had time for dessert, because I really wanted to taste that Dodgers funnel cake.
The tour was the best part of the day for me. We began in the dugouts.
I looked down at the spike marks on the bench and I wondered how far back they went. Could these be scuffs from Koufax’s spikes? Gibby’s? They’re at least the marks from WBC Champions, Team USA, and that was awesome enough for me.
We passed into the bowels of the stadium and through halls lined with memorabilia, retired jerseys and awards.
There’s something special about this place, this stadium. Its walls are saturated with legendary baseball feats, lazy, sunny Sunday games, and deeply personal history.
Thank you very much, Los Angeles Dodgers, for inviting us out to a very special day.
The next time I’m at the stadium, the Dodgers will be taking the field, and we’ll all – all of us – be starting this wild and crazy, wonderful and frustrating, nail-biting ride that is much more than just a game.