My view for the evening. Not bad at all.
After a year off in 2014, the Dodgers reinstated Blogger Night with a special 2-night affair on June 8th and 10th, 2015. The team continued their streak of being incredibly generous to this here site by allowing us to split our four invitations and attend both nights. SoSG Alex Cora and Franklin Stubbs attended the first night (read AC's recap here, if you haven't already) and I attended Wednesday night's festivities. (SoSG Dusty was sadly and unavoidably detained.)
This was a different experience from past Blogger Nights I have attended, but still a very enjoyable event. The evening kicked off with a presentation in the Hall of Fame conference room on the Club level. It's always interesting to see areas of the ballpark that the general public does not have access to. The presentation was two-fold: To introduce us to the extensive lineup of summer promotions and to show off some of Dodger Stadium's new culinary options for 2015. In attendance from the Dodgers front office were Steve Brener from Public Relations, VP of Ticket Sales David Siegel, VP of Marketing and Broadcasting Erik Braverman, Director of Advertising and Promotions Shelley Wagner, Director of Digital and Print Content (and Godfather of Dodger Bloggers) Jon Weisman, Social Media Coordinator Matthew Mesa, Marketing and Broadcasting Coordinator Claire Miller, and Assistant Director of Public Relations (and Blogger Night mainstay) Yvonne Carrasco.
Siegel started off by walking us through the very strong lineup of upcoming Dodgers promotions and giveaway items. He mentioned always wanting to give the fans "added value" for their ticket dollar. He promised that the fireworks show after the July 4th game will be the "best fireworks show in Los Angeles." That game will have a 4pm start, and Siegel indicated that there will be entertainment for the fans in the downtime between the end of the game and the 8:45 (or 9pm) start of the fireworks show. There was a huge assortment of the upcoming giveaway items laid out in the conference room, ranging from beach bags to barbecue tongs to hampers(!) to, of course, bobbleheads. The prize piece, in my opinion, was this absolutely gorgeous Sandy Koufax perfect game bobblehead, which will be given away August 13th.
Here are a few of the other items coming later this year.
Dodger Headphones. Siegel said (jokingly?) that they got special permission to make them look Beats by Dre-ish.
Father's Day BBQ Set. I'm guessing this will be a post-game giveaway. (Also, unless I misheard, the Father's Day Catch returns this year.)
A great-looking Maury Wills bobblehead, though the angle of the slide is perplexing. Is he sliding *back* to first?
Also on display (but my camera failed me) were the Juan Uribe Bobblehead (which appeared to be staring at me the whole time, making me sad), a new Yasiel Puig bobblehead, where he's making a diving catch, and the rest of the Cy Young pin collection. Also mentioned, but not on display, was a new Vin Scully bobblehead.
The second part of the presentation revolved around Levy Restaurants' new food options at the stadium. (AC covered this pretty well in his post, but we did get a couple of items that the Monday group did not.) Unfortunately, head chef Jason Tingley was not available this evening, and I did not get the names of the people who talked to us about the food. I enjoyed everything I got to taste (everything tastes better when it's free, but I would actually pay for all this stuff). The wings and sweet corn nachos AC mentioned were indeed great. I also sampled a full slice of the pepperoni pizza from Lasorda's Trattoria, which I found surprisingly great. Far better than standard stadium or theme park pizza. I washed it all down with my first taste of a Dodger Stadium michelada, which I didn't think I was going to like, but I really, really did. The most, let's say, "interesting" option of the night was a "concept" that the chefs are working on for the Extreme Loaded Dogs stand, the Pop Fly Dog.
It's a hot dog with "beer cheese" and popcorn, on a pretzel bun. I'm going to be brutally honest here. This one is a miss, at least in its current incarnation. The pretzel bun isn't pretzel-y enough, the popcorn doesn't really add anything except the sensation that you spilled other food on your food, and the beer cheese, while actually quite delicious, is visually off-putting (to put it politely). I get that the current stadium food climate calls for attempts to out-weird one another, but this one needs more time on the drawing board.
Here are a few more photos of the food items. I am still cursing myself for not partaking in the gelato cookie sandwiches from Lasorda's.
L.A. Street Dog, St. Louis Dog (with brisket) and the Pop Fly.
The presentation wrapped up there, and there was a brief time to mingle (which I kind of missed out on, due to continuing to eat and take pictures) before moving on to watch the game. All of us in attendance were given tickets on the Club level (a first for me, other than having been in a suite before) and wristbands that gave us unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages from the Club level concession stand. (Wait, what's a non-alcoholic beverage?) I took FULL advantage of the free food. I'm still full two days later.
I kind of fell in love with the Club level Wednesday night. It's a great, intimate environment with a really good view and a full bar. Plus, its proximity to the Dodgers' offices make for fun people-watching. I spied Andrew Friedman milling about a few times during the night, but never worked up the nerve to bother him. I did work up the nerve to talk to Molly Knight and Lana Berry, though, so that was cool. Two of the nicest people you'd want to meet at a game, those two.
All in all, it was a spectacular evening, accentuated by the late-inning drama and walk-off heroics. Yes, it wasn't quite the same as past blogger nights (less socializing amongst the bloggers in attendance), and David Siegel was transparent (his word) enough to tell us that the team sees bloggers and social media people as promotional assets, but it was still special to be included in this great event. Thank you so much to the Dodgers front office for always being so kind to us Sons.