Few days in baseball are like Opening Day. Things have been buzzing at the stadium since long before sunrise. Grounds crew members, stadium chefs and many others have been preparing to have 56,000 fans in house in just about few hours. Our department has been here for live shots on just about every TV station in town…
For those coming out to the stadium, please plan to come early and carpool if you can, or take public transit and use the shuttle from Union Station. Your patience is appreciated, as we always have more cars on Opening Day than any other day of the season.
Among the highlights to look out for…
– Pregame ceremonies including a 1981 Opening Day first pitch, a Salute to the Military and the national anthem performed by Placido Domingo
– New food options, including the Doyer Dog (available at Camacho’s) and other new healthier options throughout the stadium, plus the new Dodgertown Deli on the field level
– Remodeled merchandise stands on the left field and right lines of the Loge Level (one is a Nike store and the other is Adidas). Plus the Top of the Park store with lots of new items and the Left Field merchandise tent with all your favorites
– Patches on the uniforms of the players in memory of Duke Snider
– Bill Russell signing autographs beyond center field from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in autograph alley
– For those on the United Club Suites level, an incredible historical exhibit is there for your perusing (for those who aren’t on that level, it will be part of the Dodger Stadium tours
– The Phantom of the Opera, Davis Gaines, will be singing God Bless America
– Oh, and two of the game’s best young pitchers squaring off in one of the game’s greatest rivalries. There’s a special Opening Day edition of Dodgers Magazine with Kershaw and Lincecum on the cover, available today only in stadium!
If we don’t see you today, hopefully you’ll be here for Fireworks tomorrow, the day game on Saturday or Sunday’s 5 p.m. start with sleeved fleece blankets for the first 50,000 fans.
We announced this morning the winning uniform for the six half-price food and beverage throwback days in 2011. The 1940s blue uniform won by just a few percentage points among nearly 50,000 votes and it really is cool to say that you were the ones to decide which uniform the Dodgers will wear.
We had a few players wear the jerseys today and it really should be a unique environment at Dodger Stadium for those six midweek day games. We even created a special ticket package where the tickets for those six games are half price, too. Hopefully you’ll find a way to skip work, school, or just find your way to the stadium on these games.
Individual tickets for these games, Opening Day and all the other cool promotional nights (and all 81 games) are available starting tomorrow at 10 a.m.
When ESPN announced that it would pick up Opening Day against the Giants, some people wondered if this meant that Vin Scully would miss his first home opener since the team came to Los Angeles.
Worry no more. Vin is on board to play a role in the KABC radio broadcast on March 31 and will be in the house. Exact details of what innings he’ll call and any other role he might play in the ceremonies have yet to be determined, but rest assured, he has every intention of being here. And we’re planning a memorable ceremony that we truly hope our fans will enjoy.
For what it’s worth, when we mentioned the idea to Rick Monday and Charley Steiner, both were fully on board. As Rick put it, “It wouldn’t be Opening Day without Vin Scully.”
We couldn’t agree more.
And that’s how we kick off the Inside the Dodgers blog for 2011…
We head to Camelback Ranch in just six weeks and after six more weeks at baseball’s best Spring Training site, we are back here at Dodger Stadium for Opening Day against the Giants.
As you have probably heard, ESPN wanted to get the Dodgers/Giants rivalry as their marquee game on Opening Day, so they asked us to move our home opener, April 1, to the night before so that it could be televised nationally. So, we’ll have three of our first four games on national or regional TV — Thursday and Sunday on ESPN and Friday on FOX. And pretty soon, we’ll be able to give you the whole TV schedule for the season with KCAL and Prime Ticket.
The energy and buzz at the stadium has ramped up significantly since we returned from the holiday break. And as promised, I’m going to work harder to make this blog more exciting, more relevant and with more of your input throughout the year. Please know that your comments about the blog’s commenting functionality are being addressed as we speak. I’m very, very hopeful that the good people at MLBlogs.com will have a solution before Opening Day.
It’s a great day but I didn’t start it off very well by failing to post the lineup early. Apologies to all. But right now, we’re in the top of the fourth and the first inning brought a great rally off Jake Peavy, the third inning saw Andre Ethier make someone pay for walking Manny Ramirez and now James Loney continued his quest for a 1.000 average this season with his second hit (and first steal). Still six innings of baseball to go, but you’ve got to be encouraged for the first three innings of nearly 1,500 frames this season.
Meanwhile, it’s a perfect day here in San Diego. The park is filled, the weather is nice, and let’s be honest, we’ve all been waiting several months for today to come. Enjoy it
Our team historian Mark Langill just pointed out to me that this could be the only time in our lives that we see a Dodger ballpark open. For those who weren’t alive when the team opened Ebbets Field, Holman Stadium or Dodger Stadium, this is going to be one that we’ll all remember for a long time to come.
Also pretty memorable was Vin Scully’s first day at Camelback Ranch, which was yesterday. I had the honor of taking him around and giving him a tour with Billy DeLury, two of the team’s lone “holdovers” from Brooklyn. He seemed sufficiently impressed with the campus, as has just about everyone that I’ve come across. I hope the same holds true for all of you. I even saw a few ITDers at the ballpark walk-through event yesterday, so we know you’re out here!
For those who have been longing to watch a game or hear Vin’s voice, KCAL will bring it to you today starting at noon PT/1 p.m. here in Arizona. Over on radio, Rick and Charley will be there on KABC and Jaime, Pepe and Fernando will do the same in Spanish on KHJ.
Here’s the lineup for today’s opener:
M. Jones, RF
It’s been quite a spring, with stops in Florida, China, Arizona and a record-setting crowd at the Coliseum. I haven’t even had the chance to post anything about the Coliseum game, but I do hope that you all got the chance to either attend the game or watch on TV, as it was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I’m sure all of you have lasting memories from the game and strangely, other than walking out around midnight and looking up at the empty stadium, I don’t have a moment that stands out for me from the day, as it was special from start to finish.
What does jump out at me, though, is just how hard the entire front office has worked to bring these events to the fans. There are clearly hiccups along the way, as in any business, but I’ve witnessed people working practically around the clock in the offices and I can assure you it’s becauase of their love for the Dodgers. It’s actually really cool to see.
As for Opening Day, for any of you coming down, please try to carpool and come early. As everyone knows, there’s only so much space and on a weekday, it seems all 56,000 people bring their own cars. We’ve added 1,000 parking spots this year, which will help, but we ask for your patience and understanding getting into and out of the ballpark. Anytime you put close to 20,000 cars onto the Freeway after the game right into rush hour traffic, it’s going to be tough to keep traffic flowing but we’ve got hundreds of people working to ensure as smooth an experience as possible.
As for the pregame ceremonies, they are going to be something else, so you’ll want to see them. Like all else this year, they’re geared towards the 50th anniversary celebration.
I haven’t had the chance to give Ned all the questions you’ve asked, but his answers should be coming soon. I know a lot of you have asked about Juan Pierre/Andre Ethier and obviously you saw the conclusion that Ned, Joe and the rest of the baseball staff came to, with Andre starting the year as the left fielder. I hope that at least shows everyone that the people making decisions here don’t do so in a vacuum. They take everything into consideration and are always going to do what they think is going to help us win.
Here’s the lineup for today…
Not sure when that TBA will be filled in, but for now, that’s what we’ve got.