Stadium to get a $70-million update

Times Staff Writers

The Dodgers plan to pour $70 million into stadium renovations this winter, but owner Frank McCourt said that investment would not reduce the amount of money available to sign players during the off-season.

Two totally different things, McCourt said.

In announcing the latest round of stadium upgrades -- this one to widen concourses on the field level, double the number of restrooms and concession stands there and equip every stand to grill Dodger Dogs -- McCourt emphasized the need to accommodate large crowds by blending modern amenities within a stadium that opened in 1962.

The concession and restroom areas will be upgraded on the other levels by 2010 or 2011, he said.


He also said the parking fee, which jumped from $10 to $15 this season, would not increase next season.

After McCourt bought the team in 2004, he said, fans expressed the most concern about decaying seats and congestion in parking lots and concession lines. With the latest renovations, he said, he has addressed those concerns.

McCourt said he would soon announce an overall vision for Dodger Stadium for the next 50 years. He declined to elaborate, but that blueprint is expected to include restaurants and shops outside the ballpark that could entice fans to come early and stay late.

This winter’s expansion also will include the installation of two new restaurants for baseline box seats. McCourt said prices for those seats, now at up to $225 a game, would increase by an undetermined amount.

Matt Kemp has made several mistakes on the basepaths over the last week, but Manager Grady Little said the problem isn’t serious enough to warrant cutting his playing time.

Kemp’s latest gaffe came in the third inning of Monday night’s victory over the Washington Nationals when he was doubled off second base on a line drive to the shortstop. The Dodgers, who had men on second and third with no outs at the time, didn’t score in the inning.

Kemp made two baserunning errors that cost the Dodgers a run in New York on Sunday and he ignored coach Rich Donnelly’s stop sign at third base that resulted in his being nailed at the plate a week ago in Philadelphia. The Dodgers won both games.

“It doesn’t matter, man, we’re winning,” Kemp said. “It’s over with. It didn’t cost us the game. I’ll learn from my mistakes.”

That is all Little and Donnelly are asking. Dodgers coaches have spoken to Kemp after each of his blunders, with Donnelly taking the added measure of pointing out mistakes made by opposing players during games. Donnelly has also told Kemp of his habit of sliding too late, which has led to him sliding through bases.

“He has the speed to do a lot of things and sometimes he thinks he can outrun the ball,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly said it was hard to fault Kemp’s intentions.

“The good part with all of his mistakes is that they’ve been aggressive,” Donnelly said. “Matt has great physical talent. He has to harness it to where he makes good baseball decisions.”

David Wells’ next start has been pushed up to Friday for the Dodgers’ series opener in San Diego so he can pitch on a normal four days’ rest. The Dodgers don’t play Thursday. Eric Stults, whose turn in the rotation will be skipped, was available out of the bullpen Tuesday and will remain so through Saturday.

The Dodgers’ home game against Arizona on Sept. 15 will be televised in a Fox regional broadcast and had its start time pushed up from 7 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. A Sept. 29 home game against the San Francisco Giants will begin at 7 and be televised by FSN Prime Ticket.