It’s a tribute to former Dodger President Walter O’Malley that Dodger Stadium remains one of the signature venues in all of major league baseball. Other stadiums built around the same time period (the first Dodger Stadium game was played in 1962) turned into antiquated relics within a couple decades. But snagging Dodgers Stadium tickets remains one of the signature southern California experiences, and thanks to an ambitious renovation program, the ballpark remains economically viable even against some of the newer, more franchise-friendly stadiums.
A full-time staff of gardeners maintain the Dodger Stadium grounds, which include over 3,400 trees over the 300 acres. The Dodgers take the same care with the field inside Dodger Stadium-it’s consistently rated the best in the majors by baseball players, with the most recent recognition coming in a 2003 Sports Illustrated poll in which the Dodger Stadium turf got twice as many votes as any other turf for best in the majors.
Dodger Stadium has become the West Coast version of Yankee Stadium-if it’s happened west of the Mississippi, it’s probably happened at Dodger Stadium. The facility has hosted the Olympics (1984), the All-Star Game (1980), and eight World Series (most recently in 1988). Outside of baseball, it’s been one of the prime places to get concert tickets in California, as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, and virtually every other major event (including Pope John Paul II in 1987) have played Dodger Stadium.
But the high-powered shows and baseball games would be lost if Dodger Stadium seating didn’t match the wattage of the acts it attracts. Fans benefit from its reputation as the cleanest park in the majors - it’s completely repainted every off-season - and the fact that it was one of the first baseball-only parks in the majors. In fact, until 1995 Dodger Stadium and Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, were the only baseball-only parks in the National League.
Dodger Stadium seating is currently capped at 56,000, but it was originally designed to be expanded to over 80,000. The Dodgers have resisted that urge, but they did install new field level seats, an expanded dugout section, and suites in a $50 million renovation in 2000.
Year Built: 1962
'12 attendance: 41,040 per game average; 3,324,245 total
Dimensions: 330 to left, 385 to left-center, 395 to center, 385 to right-center, 330 to right
Hotels Nearby: Los Angeles Downtown Super 8, Best Western Dragon Gate Inn, Days Inn Downtown, Omni La Hotel California Plaza
Thrill of victory: October 15, 1988: “I don’t believe what I just saw!” That was Jack Buck’s exuberant call as Kirk Gibson rounded the bases after hitting one of the most memorable home runs in World Series history. In front of 55,983 World Series ticket holding Dodger fans, Gibson hobbled to the plate in the bottom of the ninth against the game’s most intimidating closer, Dennis Eckersley. The Dodgers trailed 4-3, but Mike Davis forced a walk against Eckersley. Gibson worked the count to 3-2 and launched a homer to right, propelling the Dodgers to an eventual five-game World Series victory.
Agony of defeat: October 17, 1978: It was a classic battle of East vs. West in the 1978 World Series, as the New York Yankees took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a matchup of two of major league baseball’s signature franchises. The Dodgers took a 2-0 Series lead by winning the first two games at Dodger Stadium, but the Yankees swept the three games at Yankee Stadium. LA had a chance to get back into the Series with a Game 6 win at home, but Catfish Hunter and Goose Gossage shut down the Dodgers in a 7-2 world championship-clinching victory.
Dodgers Ticket Tips: The biggest Los Angeles Dodgers rivals are the hated San Francisco Giants, and that’s when Dodgers tickets become scarcest. Dodgers-Giants is the west coast version of Cardinals-Cubs or Yankees-Red Sox, so be prepared for plenty of boos and a raucous crowd. To get as close to the field as possible, you’ll want to find a Dugout Club seat, where you’ll be right behind home plate. One of the best deals in baseball are the $6 pavilion seats available to military personnel, senior citizens, and kids ages 4-14 on the day of the game.