Turn and face the strange
That’s right, boys and girls, even though Dodger Stadium hasn't undergone major off-season structural modifications, that doesn’t mean you shouldn't expect some eye-opening changes when you arrive to the ballpark today. I mean, besides Matt Kemp being in the opposing lineup.
So here’s a brief look at some differences you’ll find in Chavez Ravine.
Paying for parking in advance: The Dodgers have jacked up the cost of parking $5, to $20 this season. That new-ownership honeymoon is over. However, if you purchase your parking in advance, it is $10 and you can use a prepaid entrance that hopefully will speed entry. About half the gates are now for the express people.
Arrive early: Dodger Stadium, like all ballparks in Major League Baseball, will now require you to pass through metal detectors to enter the ballpark. You can hang on to your shoes, coins and belts, but cellphones will have to pass via a table. Patience now.
Bring your sunglasses: The Dodgers have added color to the ballpark this season, but not in a good way. Guess they figured there was too much look-alike blue on the employees. Security types will wear bright yellow polo shirts, while guest services personnel will wear an even brighter Celtic green.
A new logo atop the right-field videoboard: It’s marketed several things over the years, but last season team officials couldn’t sell anything in the space, so they just painted their intertwined LA logo on it. Now it’s sponsored by a German luxury car company 90% of you can’t afford buy from.
Art of the Game memorabilia moved: No longer at the bottom of the center escalators on the field level, it’s been moved -- almost hidden -- in the tunnel on the other side that leads to the elevators.
New menu items: I guess they’re really trying. Are you up for Lasorda’s Meatball Marinara Cone or Fried Dodger Dogs (it’s a real thing)? In counter-balance programming, they’ve added turkey burgers and veggie dogs. Yum.
New public address announcer: Wave goodbye to Eric Smith, who’s moved indoors with the Clippers. The new guy, Todd Lietz, is a former KNX 1070 anchor. No word if Bryan Cranston will make another guest PA appearance this year.
The Incredible Shrinking Nancy Bea Hefley: Those annoying in-game hosts remain everywhere, but Hefley’s classic ballpark organ will play during the game exactly once -- during the seventh-inning stretch rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” This is wrong on so many different levels. Fire up for more ear-splitting rock ‘n’ roll, because where else would you want to hear it but the ballpark? Someday they’ll just play a little baseball around their own Coachella music festival.