How To Get To Dodger Stadium, 2007*


and here’s how to get out:


I’m so lucky that the people with whom I attended today’s game insisted on getting there almost two hours early. The traffic was apocalyptically bad. A relatively small crowd of us saw all this pomp and circumstance. Many more only heard explosions and flyovers from their cars. There were still plenty of empty seats as late as the fourth inning, and traumatized fans started heading for the exits in the seventh, in hopes of avoiding a worse ride home.

The McCourts should

a) apologize;

b) completely ditch the new traffic scheme, which negates the institutional knowledge Dodger fans have developed from dealing with the quirky parking patterns at Chavez Ravine since 1962, without offering any improvement;

c) tell the parking lot attendants who were just standing around, watching this mess passively that, if they can’t think of what to do about it, at least pretend to care.

The owners’ dream of 4 million in attendance will not be achieved this season. In fact, I predict that even if this pretty good Dodger team reaches the playoffs, attendance will take a big step back, because no one will be willing to put up with this nightmare.

The Dodgers lost, 6-3, but the game was okay, the weather was great, and it was fun to see our new ace pitcher, Jason Schmidt, hit a home run. Bowing to advanced age and wisdom, I only drank cold water, but in that sun, it was good as beer. I had a good time, and am grateful I got to go.

But the day will be remembered as the day the McCourts’ incompetence, which is effectively obscured when the team plays well, finally became impossible to ignore. They are in a jam. There is no PR solution to it. They need to admit their grievous error, and fix it fast.

*Update, 4/10/07:  A formerly regular Dodger Thoughts comment poster, Tommy Naccarato, articulates what I was trying to say, except more eloquently. 

This is not just a bunch of sports fans whining about parking.  This is a story out of social anthropology; what happens when outsiders try to fix something that only looked broken, and in doing so, changing what was once a challenging but live-giving experience into something confusing and oppressive: 

You see Dodger Stadium used to be a sanctuary for me. I could escape my life and completely forget about the problems going on. I could think about roster moves; what pitcher should be in the bullpen warming up; Who should be pinch hitting and which mustard was best on my once affordable Dodger Dog. I thought of just how good I had it, right then at that very precise moment.

But that’s all changed now.

Today I experienced something at the Stadium I never fully felt before–I was being controlled from the very moment I entered up until 2 1/2 hours after the Game, when we finally got out of the newly named, “Sunset Lot” through a broken down fence–and fought the traffic out the Academy Gate, down to Stadium Way.

If we would have waited for the Sunset crowd to leave, it would have taken 3/4’s of a tank of gas waiting for it to clear and maybe at least 45 minutes more. Even one of the attendants chided with us of how ridiculous the new system was, knowing that the implementation of the old system would probably mean the end of his job there!

The system that was designed 45 years ago for Walter O’Malley’s dream ballpark had it’s quirks and turns, but knowledge of the ballpark; the ability to get out of the right gate the fastest way in relation to the size of the crowd–well you learned. I know I might be a bit resistant to change and that change is good, but honestly, and I say this knowing that your being released into traffic at rush hour–even at night, this is going to be a disaster, and frankly it’s not something I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year. At least not when you can stay at home, watch the game on T.V. and save money.

I guess it all amounts to this: What was so wrong with the old system? Even during sell outs, like last year’s season ending loss to the Mets, I was out of there quicker then I got in.

But most, it’s presents an even more alarming thought of what is left to come.  

If you want to read the whole thing, it’s comment #157 to this post.  

P.S. Welcome, LA Observed readers, and thank you Kevin Roderick for pointing to this post.

P.P.S. And welcome also to Dodger Thoughts readers.  I’m proud I could make Jon Weisman laugh.


7 thoughts on “How To Get To Dodger Stadium, 2007*

  1. Pingback: Top Posts «

  2. WOW!

    I have to admit, from some past bad behavior, I suspended myself from participating on Dodger Thoughts. Little would I have known when I decided last night to make a post–with my blue ball cap in my hand, it would end up here. The wonder of the internet!

    If this isn’t a miracle of recovery(my recovery)–and a complete admission of wrong doing, (from my previous errors and bad behavior on Dodger Thoughts, and my apologies to Jon) then the Great McCourt Parking Fiasco of 2007 should be a rising success. Congrats to Frank, Jamie, Drew and the PR gal!

    But also make note, apology and amends (to the fans) is the simplest way to recovery, so Frank & Jamie, I can only suggest…..

    Dump the system!

  3. I also wanted to add, we got to our seats after a brief restroom break at exactly 11:45am. Almost a full hour and half before the game started. We left–like usual–as soon as the last out was recorded which was some after 4:30pm. I got home to La Habra at about 10 minutes to 8:00pm.

    I also have to tell you by the time we got on the Golden State, it was pretty much clear until the 5/60/10 interchange. After that it cleared up again and it was a breeze.

  4. OK, seriously. The parking was BRUTAL. Enter the Academy gate at 1100. In seats at 1210. An hour to go 1 mile. I guess that’s good? Leaving was equally sickening. I had to perform a U-turn! and tried to negotiate a parking barrier used to split entrance lanes now blocked off for exiting traffic. Simple math: 8 lanes into 2 lanes with 56000 people leaving = hours to get home. Last year, 1.5 hours home. This year…seriously thinking about not returning.

  5. Out-of-towners, particularly Giants fans, have long derided Dodger fans for leaving in the 7th inning, even if the game is close. Gary Park, who used to be the TV play-by-play guy on the local station in the Bay Area, would spend half the game talking about LA fans bailing out of Dodger Stadium early (the other half talking about restaurants he liked in LA). But, having attended a Giants – Dodgers game last year, all I can say is that out-of-towners need to understand, and sympathize! Took almost 2 hours to get out of the parking area. Frankly, using jet packs to fly in and out of the stadium might be just the solution. People have been talking about this technology for years — now here’s a need crying out for a solution! Jet packs!
    (Giants are coming back, by the way….two wins for Morris. See you guys in September.)

  6. Because of unexpected heavy traffic getting into the park,I missed all the opening good times…got in at beginining of 2nd inning…but the worst was after the game…a 2 1/2 hour nightmare of a time just getting out of the parking lot. I was in Preferred Lot L but had to cut through one of the interior lots to get over to the side that would put me on 110 south…people were getting crazier all the time throwing beer bottles into the air for sport…the situation had the potential for danger…

    I’ll not return until the parking is fixed…and that’s a shame because for 30 + years Dodger games
    have been a favorite family activity…

    Please get this problem fixed ASAP…the game was about 3 1/2 hours…but an additional 2 1/2 hrs. to get out of the parking lot is something I’m not going to put my family through again…the attendants were as baffeled as the fans…one guy said…”Hey man…don’t ask me…If they hadn’t changed things I’d be home myself by now”

    Please forward this onto the Dodger people…this is a huge issue…

    Jerry Evans

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