Despite being a Dodger fan and having been to Los Angeles quite a few times in my life, I had never actually been to Dodger Stadium. That is until a few days ago. Over Memorial Day weekend I finally had the pleasure of making my first trip to Dodger Stadium. The 350 mile trek down from the Bay Area was a small price to pay to finally see my beloved team at their home park. I ended up going to my sister to all three games against the Angels and despite the fact that the Dodgers only won one game, it was quite the experience. I'm not ashamed to say that I screamed like a little girl when I finally laid eyes on the beautiful stadium. And I was fortunate enough to attend three thrilling games, one of which went extra innings and ended on a Juan Pierre walk-off walk. I'm not one to take pictures, but I can share some thoughts from my experience:
- Getting into the stadium was very easy, I never had any problem with that. Only once did I have trouble getting out. The Saturday night game took probably a half hour to get out of the parking lot.
- The stadium itself was beautiful. The field looked great and it was never hard to get a good view of the game. Somehow the outfield looked smaller live than it did on TV though, which is weird because it is usually the other way around.
- The amount of Dodger gear was incredible. This might seem like a small thing for an LA native but I'm used to going into a sports store and seeing 1-2 types of Dodger hats and shirts, not 30-40.
- At the same time, the number of Dodger fans was somewhat amazing. This is a given at a Dodger game, but it was a fun experience rooting along with throngs of other Dodger fans. I thought there would be more Angels fans given that the play in LA as well, but I would guess Angels fans made up at most 20% of the total attendance.
- One of the few complaints that I have was that you were not allowed to go down to lower levels without a ticket. I've never been to a stadium with a rule like that before and it was quite annoying when we got there for batting practice on Friday and weren't allowed to go down to the first deck.
- The other thing related to this is that even if you had tickets for the first deck the ushers wouldn't let you into the first couple rows of stands without tickets for them. This was fairly ridiculous as there was no one in those seats at the time and it made it much harder to get autographs and catch foul balls. I understand that they don't want people seat jumping but I think this is taking it too far.
- The level of intensity was much higher than I thought it would be. Dodger fans have a stereotype as being laid-back and uncaring, but I thought the fans were more passionate than anywhere else i had been. This was probably helped by the fact that all of the games were close.
- Dodger Dogs are the best, period.
- The old "Get there in the third and leave in the seventh" maxim seemed mostly true. I wasn't sure how much of that was a myth, but the crowd definitely began to disperse early. Also, on Sunday the couple next to us didn't arrive until the fifth inning! Pathetic effort...
- My only other complaint was that the ushers didn't allow you to stand up at the edge of the stands and watch ppitchers warm up in the bullpen. I guess this was for the safety of the players, but it was already hard enough to see what was going on in there, it would have at least been nice to allow people to stand and watch.
- The video screen was much better than at most other MLB stadiums. At both the Giants' and A's parks you can expect maybe a replay an inning at most but at Dodger Stadium ther was a replay for nearly every play. The little factoids provided were a nice addition as well, though I imagine they would get old if you were a season ticket holder.
- What is with the eyes of the players appearing on the small video boards when they come to the plate? That was just weird.
- I finally got to see the Dodgers in person in their home-whites. And they look so, so much better in those than in the road jerseys.
- I thought the pictures of past Dodger players was a memorable touch, and I liked how they were lined next to the current players. Another cool thing was finally seeing the "THINK BLUE" sign that is often shown on TV, though it was farther away from the stadium than I expected.
- My favorite moment of the trip was getting to walk on the field to watch the fireworks. While the fireworks were neat, walking on an MLB diamond has been a dream of mine and just standing out in the outfield for awhile was sublime.
All in all, going to Dodger Stadium was extremely fun and the few faults I found with the park were more than made up for by the enjoyable atmosphere and thrilling games. Dodger Stadium is not the most cutting-edge stadium you'll find, but it is classically fascinating and being around 55,000 fellow Dodger fans watching your favorite team makes for quite a memorable experience. How about you? What was your first trip to Dodger Stadium like?