We've now gone through an entire season of the much-ballyhooed field level stadium renovations, which basically resulted in two added private baseline clubs (compensating for the poor folks now sitting in foul territory with poor sightlines), revamped concession stands, new lighting and cleaner fonts throughout, and secret rooms with treasure troves of mens urinals. Being a field level season ticket holder, I have to admit the gutting of the field level over the 2007-2008 offseason was a great idea, and these are all nice improvements...
...except (and you know there was going to be an "except"!), the widened concourses are still just as crowded and unnavigatable as they were before. Simple physics should have one believe that this cannot be true; the concourses are wider, so the fan with a tray full of Dodger Dogs, beers, and nachos should have no trouble balancing this on the way back to his/her seat, right?
Wrong. It is still a mess, and even at games like Wednesday night's game, with only 45,000 people in attendance (far short of a sellout crowd), one felt like a salmon swimming upstream to get through the hordes of people. There are a number of reasons for the claustrophobia, namely:
- The lines extending from any concession stand (on the perimeter) back toward the playing field still run perpendicular to traffic, cutting off any traffic flow (there is one Dodger Dog stand on the odd-numbered side that sometimes snakes a Disneyland-like line of people, allowing the people in the queue to more efficiently go to the first available register--but the snaking queue extends so deep into the concourse, it's still a major logjam);
- The concession carts with mustard, ketchup, napkins, etc., are positioned poorly, as if to purposely impede traffic in the circumference of the concourse;
- I swear to god, most men haven't figured out the locations of the secret urinal rooms, resulting in lines of surly, full-bladdered men which creep out into the concourse, just as they used to do pre-renovations;
- And, most importantly, most fans are simply standing around, sipping their beers, right behind the last row of field level seats. And throngs of policemen, Dodger Stadium staff, and Dodger ushers don't do a damn thing about it.
Before they gutted the concourses, there used to be a line that extended about two feet back behind the last row of field level seats, with a notice "NO STANDING IN THIS AREA." This area, once painted red and marked off with a white line, prevented people from congregating behind the last row, and allowed the seatholders to actually make it down the aisle to their seats. What's more, the ushers used to enforce this rule strictly, making sure loitering people moved back behind the painted area; if you wanted to stand around in the concourse, you could, but you'd have a restricted view of the field.
Well, someone forgot to re-paint that line and "NO STANDING" area, which directly contributes to the foot traffic mess that is further exacerbated by an apparent cut in the number of ushers altogether (when you can find one, which is rare, they wouldn't be able to enforce this rule as there's nothing on the ground in the first place, and they'd probably be overrun by the hordes of congregators in the mob anyway).
As if the traffic outside the stadium isn't enough--there's a mess of traffic inside the stadium as well. At the some of most expensive seats, I might add.
I have to think that this painted area was there for a fire code reason or something, but to my surprise, we've lasted all year without this line and painted area being restored to the concrete. I'm going to shoot this post off to the LAFD as well, since no one else at the Fire Department seems to have caught this.
But hey, I'm not altogether salty all the time. I'm psyched we won the NL West and I'm riding the wave of euphoria. So let me say this, Frank McCourt: You've got one week to go before the first playoff game hits Dodger Stadium on Saturday, October 4. If you can sport me the paint and the brush, I will personally come out to Dodger Stadium this weekend and paint the line on the concourse. I'll even write "NO STANDING" a couple of extra times, too (and my penmanship is pretty good, I might add).
You buy the materials, Frank. I'll provide the labor. You avoid the fire code citations and fines from crowd control violations (that's right, Frank--you could lose money here if you don't take action).
And Dodger ticket holders on the field level get to access their seats--the ones with prices that you've jacked up over 100% since your highly-leveraged purchase of the team--quickly and efficiently, allowing them to fully enjoy the game and the whole Dodger Stadium experience.
Ball's in your court, Frankie! Time for you to draw the line.