The roster isn’t the only thing getting an off-season makeover by the Dodgers.
Dodger Stadium is busy with the sounds of construction as it undergoes the first of several possible modernizations.
Team Chief Executive Stan Kasten said exact plans won’t be announced until next month. He had originally planned to announce renovation plans a couple weeks after the season ended, but whether it was building permit issues or other uncertainties, he is now taking something of a wait-and-see approach.
“It’s a work in progress,” Kasten said. “There is still a lot of stuff being done on the fly, because we only have 25 weeks to do all of this stuff.”
The Dodgers anticipate approximately $100 million will be spent on current improvements, or $47 million less than they just committed to Zack Greinke.
Much of the work now being done won’t ultimately be visible to fans, but a few significant changes will be obvious. Both of the large scoreboards above the pavilions will be replaced, cellphone towers will go up and the cushy padded seats that Frank McCourt had installed on the field level are currently out and will return with slightly different sight lines.
During this week’s news conferences introducing pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Greinke, the stadium was awash with construction crews. When I left after writing Monday night, darkness covered the parking lots and inner stadium, but the stadium lights remained on for workers on the field.
The clock, clearly, is ticking.
Currently the field level seats have been removed so construction crews can get under the stadium, where both clubhouses are being enlarged and modernized.
The Dodger Stadium clubhouses, both for visitors and the home team, were some of the smallest in baseball. Kasten said the home clubhouse will be two or three times larger than it was, complete with a larger weight room -- “we call it a health club” -- and two batting cages.
He said the visiting clubhouse will be 50% bigger, which will still leave it fairly small by modern standards. But previously the stadium offered only one inner batting cage and weight room, requiring an awkward walk by visiting players through the Dodgers’ clubhouse to hit or lift. Now the visiting clubhouse will have its own batting tunnel and weight room.
Kasten said the cellphone towers were scheduled to go into place next month.
“I’m told it will definitely be the most wired, signaled stadium anywhere,” he said. “That’s on target to be done my opening day.”
Kasten said he delayed unveiling precise plans because he was uncertain how much could actually be accomplished before the season starts.
“I don’t want to tell you all the things if I can’t finish them,” he said. “So we’re figuring that stuff out. I still think I will be able to get everything done. Probably after the first of the year, we will get you all back and give you our mock-ups and our drawings and schematics.”