By Wes Williams
Frank McCourt had a number of bad ideas, but one of his few good ideas got swept under the rug.
A few years ago, the embattled Dodger owner proposed The Next 50, a plan to keep Dodger Stadium relevant for the next 50 years. The plan included a tree lined entrance into the stadium in between the bleachers, year round shops and restarants, and many other improvements to the old ballpark.
Despite being announced before the divorce chaos, work never got started on the project.
While I loved the ideas, immediate improvements need to be made by the new owner for the true fans in the reserved, top deck, and pavilion sections.
McCourt made incredible improvements to the lower levels and paid for them largely by jacking up prices on tickets, food, and parking. New concessions and restaurants made life at the stadium even sweeter for those wealthy enough to afford those seats.
Meanwhile, long lines at concession stands and restrooms were never addressed by McCourt. A perfect example occurred on the second day of the season last year.
Our school planned a Dodger night where families sat together in the All You Can Eat Pavilion in right field. Running late to the game, I did not enter the stadium until five minutes before the first pitch. I immediately headed to the concession stands to take advantage of the free food.
The line seemed extremely long and I looked across the pavilion to see if the other concession stand had a shorter line. Then I realized the other one wasn't even open.
Despite a sell out, only one concession stand was open in the All You Can Eat Pavilion.
Was it possible that McCourt could not afford to keep the other one open I wondered aloud.
I did not get to the front of the line until the top of the second inning and was greeted by the bitter workers with the news that they ran out of Dodger Dogs.
Was it possible that McCourt could not even afford hot dogs I wondered aloud.
How is it possible to run out of Dodger Dogs in the All You Can Eat Pavilion? What a sham! Its as if McCourt said to himself "we will save money on food if they eat less because they have to wait two innings to get to Dodger Dogs that might not even be there".
The bathroom situation was just as bad. There was a long line for the women's bathroom because there were not nearly enough stalls to handle a sell out.
The new owner should start over again with the pavilions. Tear them down and modernize them.
The fix for the reserved and top deck sections is fairly simple; add more concessions and bathrooms.
On the reserved level, the concession stand right inside the entrance always has long lines. At least two more should be added.
On the top deck, the Next 50 project had a great idea of adding a restaurant behind that has a breathtaking view of the Hollywood sign and downtown. On top of that, there should also be more concessions and bathrooms added.
The real fans deserve these improvements. The last thing a new owner wants to do is irritate the real fans in these sections. Look what happened to ticket sales when the real fans were irritated by the former owner.
Whoever the new owner is, make this happen immediately.