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Take Me Out To The Ball Game... And Bring Lots of Money (Surviving a Trip to Dodgers Stadium)
Special to iFlyLAX.com
Story and photos by James Reilly
Inside Dodgers Stadium
Ahhhh! Summertime in Los Angeles... Sun, surf, and the to opportunity to take the family out to a big-league baseball game at Dodgers Stadium in the hills of Elysian Park near downtown Los Angeles. I'll tell you right up front that I'm just a "fair-weather" Dodgers fan (likewise for the Angels), though I always root for the home team. But seeing a game live from time to time can be fun, and is a real "L.A." experience -- in more ways than you might think.
It had actually been a few years since I had been to a Dodgers game and I really didn't recognize any names on the players roster; but I had seen on the news that the stadium itself had just undergone a face-lift, and the in-laws were in town... so what the heck... let's go see a ball game.
Driving to Dodgers Stadium from the South Bay area (not far from LAX) is pretty straightforward: take the 105 Freeway east to the 110 north, and right after you pass by downtown Los Angeles start looking for the signs. On this drive, I was fortunate enough to end up following a minivan filled with "true" Dodgers fans. Their license plate frame even read "Follow me to Dodgers Stadium" -- which I did -- and which worked out great, because he seemed to know the best lanes to take all the way into the parking lot (which can be a very chaotic place).
Dodgers Staduim has many entrances, but they are not at all connected. Be prepared to be turned away from what you may have believed was the most convenient for getting inside. You'll probably have to walk around somewhere and up a few sets of external stairs (sorry, no escalators here) before going through the security check (again) before you are finally allowed into your section. We were thrilled to have only missed first inning!
The newly installed seats in the stadium are not bad (and it looks like they've added some boxes along the first base/outfield line below). The sun was just setting, the air temperature was just right, and we had a nice view of the game (and the jumbo TV screen) from above right field. Perfect!
Now baseball is not considered a contact sport, but there is a lot of bleeding on game nights at Dodger Stadium -- not from the players, but from the wallets of the fans! Be sure to bring large denomination bills to a Dodgers baseball game. The prices for food, snacks, beer and beverages are off the hook! How about $8.50 for a Bud Light!? No self-respecting airline would charge nearly that much for an onboard drink. And between peanuts for $4.50 or a personal pizza for $7.50, it's not long before your pockets are feeling pretty light. (I actually felt good about having paid only $3.25 per gallon of gasoline filling up my car to have gotten there!)
Of course you can't bring your own refreshments into the game. But may I suggest that you down a bottle of water or a nice Seven-Eleven "Big Gulp" just before you enter the stadium. And slide a PowerBar or two into your purse or pockets. It could save you enough to take the whole family out for a sit-down steak dinner at Outback.
Oh, back to the game... it was fun! What else can I say. Lots of cheering, lots of booing, a few stadium "waves", the Dodgers lost. And chaos in the parking lot getting out of there. Watch out for pedestrians and good luck finding the exit to the freeway entrance you were hoping to start your drive home from. It's hard to imagine that L.A. residents/Dodgers fans have been going through this ritual for over 40 years. But it is obvious that the parking situation and roads around Dodgers Stadium have not changed much in that time. And therein lies part of the problem. I must admit that the total baseball experience one has at an Angels game in Anaheim is better (and cheaper?), but you must sacrifice some history and tradition. You make the call.
But after last night I can see why pro baseball is called "America's favorite passtime", because that passtime is SPENDING MONEY. And that you will do at Dodgers Stadium.
Finally, I'll tell you a little secret... Get you Dodgers tickets on Ebay. There are so many people with seasons tickets who can't always use them and sell them on Ebay you might just save enough money to buy some food. Go to www.ebay.com, and search for "Dodgers tickets" (and use the date you want to go).
About the Author
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