If Southern California is known as Dodgertown, than Dodger Stadium is its capital building. For forty-seven years, Dodger Stadium, situated in an area of Los Angeles known as Chavez Ravine, has been a home of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. The Dodgers played their first game at Dodger Stadium in 1962, after playing their games in the nearby Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Records kept by team officials indicate that more than 125 million fans have visited Dodger Stadium since 1962. The stadium, as plain as it is beautiful, is surrounded by downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the local Elysian Hills. The stadium has seats for 56,000 spectators, and parking for 16,000 automobiles. A grounds crew and a staff of gardeners help keep the field and surrounding landscape in order. Year after year, Dodger Stadium is voted among the top of the most beautiful stadiums in all of the major leagues.
In its forty-seven year history, Dodger Stadium has hosted eight World Series, and has seen the Dodgers win four of those championships. The stadium has also been the site of the 1980 Major League All-Star Game, the 1984 Olympic baseball competition, and the Baseball Association World All-Star Game in 1991. In 2009, Dodger Stadium will also play host to the finals of the World Baseball Classic.
Besides sporting events, Dodger Stadium has also played host to several non-sporting events. In 1987, Pope John Paul II held Mass at Dodger Stadium. Performances from KISS, The Beatles, Elton John, U2, Michael Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen have all taken place at Dodger Stadium in front of sell-out crowds. In 1994, The Three Tenors Jose Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, and Placido Domingo held a reunion concert at Dodger Stadium.
In an era of larger and fancier ballparks, Dodger Stadium's simplicity have made it a favorite place for fans and players. A tribute to its popularity is the fact that in 1978, Dodger Stadium became the first stadium to draw over 3 million visitors. The Dodgers also set the all-time attendance mark for a single season in 1982 when they drew more than 3.6 million fans. That mark has since been broken, but Dodger Stadium can still boast of having nine of the twenty-five highest single-season attendance marks.
Recent years have seen the stadium undergo several improvements, upgrades, and renovations. New field level seats, expanded dugouts, and Club Level suites were added in 2000. Three years later, the stadium was given a new scoreboard and a new video board. In 2006, every seat in the stadium was replaced, thus returning the stadium to its original pastel color scheme. Field Level concession stands, restrooms, and private "clubs" were added for the 2008 season, and several new vendors were added to the stadium's current list including Canter's Deli, Ruby's Diner, and Camacho's Cantina.
In order to help maintain the stadium's status as one of the best in all of baseball, Dodger ownership has announced an improvement and maintenance plan known as The Next 50. The Next 50 plan will eventually include a tree-lined entrance to the stadium, a promenade of shops, restaurants, and a Dodger museum, a natural perimeter to surround the stadium to be known as The Green Necklace, and an upgraded and improved Top Of The Park plaza.