The Dodgers on Monday morning unveiled construction plans for the new home clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, renovations for which are on schedule to be completed by opening day. The new clubhouse is expected to be roughly double the size of the old Dodger Stadium clubhouse, per Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten.
"I knew the conditions before, and I was shocked by them. Here you have this great Vista that is Dodger Stadium, and it has the worst clubhouse in the major leagues," Kasten said. "I said to Sandy (Koufax), 'It was substandard in your day, and it hasn't been improved since'."
The plans were shown to the players in a clubhouse meeting before workouts on Monday morning.
Among the new features in the new design are a much larger locker room, larger rooms for training and physical therapy, a quiet room, and a separate interview room. In addition rather than catered meals the new clubhouse will feature a separate kitchen with a chef and nutritionist on hand. The batting cages and workout area are much larger as well.
"Mark (Walter, Dodgers chairman) was a real motivator for this. He said, 'I want the training room and everything we offer to be more along the lines of what we can get in their favorite health club. If they had a day off, where would they want to work out the most?'," Kasten said.
The visitors side will now have their own batting cage and conditioning area, something visiting players previously had to share with the Dodgers, and walk through the home clubhouse area to get to.
"To have both teams intersect like that that much is not a good thing, and now we won't have any of that," Kasten said. "We'll have half the square footage and half the use, and we're happy with that formula."
Manager Don Mattingly agreed.
"You know what I'm most excited about? The other team won't walk through our clubhouse," Mattingly said. "We have two cages when on Sunday morning when you're not going to hit (batting practice), you're not fighting to get your guys there at 8 o'clock because the other team gets the cage during our batting practice time. And we don't have the other team in our weight room. We don't need the other club walking through our clubhouse. It's really weird."
To add to the clubhouse, the Dodgers didn't dig into the mountain behind the stadium, but rather ripped out most of the field level seats and dug into the ground. Kasten said the stands were back in place, though the seats themselves aren't yet in.
The baseline seats (on the field, on the outer edges of each dugout) will be renovated, losing about a third of the seats in total. Kasten said the seats will be wider and at higher angle. The sections will have fewer rows and better sight lines.
But the larger size and new features of the clubhouse themselves have been a topic of great interest to the players during spring training. As reporters were being shown the plans in an otherwise empty clubhouse, Jerry Hairston Jr. walked in and joked to Kasten, "Did you tell them about the flat screen he was going to put in my locker?"
Kasten said that the lockers will be equipped with most modern features. Something the players can't wait to see with their own eyes.
"That's all we can talk about," Guerra said of the clubhouse renovations. "I'm pumped, hopefully I'm there opening day and can check it out."