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Police out in force for Dodgers' home opener

April 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Dodgers Stadium's 50th anniversary, the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted a sold-out home opener that stirred up excitement in L.A. Along with a new owner and new menu, the franchise aimed for a safe, fun atmosphere with the help of police.

The LAPD stepped up its security Tuesday afternoon following last year's opening day beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow. Stow is recovering from severe injuries after Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez allegedly beat Stow. Both are awaiting trial.

The incident is cited as one of the reasons for a drop in attendance at games, something that officials are hoping to change this season with an increased presence of security. The stadium is also discouraging fans from participating in excessive drinking at the games and areas surrounding the stadium.

About 200 police officers were on staff, paid for by the ball club.

"We were counting police cars as we came in and we got up to 25, so we were happy about that," said Simi Valley resident Mary Gunn, who was at the opener.

Police were out in force, swarming on bikes, going undercover and cracking down on boozing tailgaters.

The LAPD said a reported fight in Lot 1 led to the arrest of one person. Other men were also detained in connection to a car burglary.

Overall, two arrests were made and 72 public drinking citations were given on Tuesday, down from 89 arrests and citations last year, police said.

There were also 79 ejections from the sold-out game for rowdiness, drunkenness and other unruly behavior.

The team's new ownership might also be behind the sold-out home opener. Johnson bought the team last month for $2 billion with Guggenheim Baseball Management. Johnson will not be in attendance Monday night because he is in New York. But he said the game would be "all about winning and restoring Dodger pride."

The Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1.

The menu was not untouched when it came to changes. The traditional Dodger dog will be joined by new five new "loaded dogs," complete with toppings like macaroni and cheese and potato salad.

"The idea behind it was to take your tailgate party and put it in a hotdog where you have your baked beans and your barbecue sauce and some cheese and potato salad, it's absolutely outstanding ," said Jason Tingley, executive chef at Dodger Stadium.

Thai pork meatballs have also hit the menu. Non-meat eaters can enjoy a sloppy Jane, the vegan version of a sloppy Joe. The sandwich includes ingredients like onion and bell peppers in molasses and brown sugar on a wheat bun.

Getting to and from Dodger Stadium can be a major challenge, but Metro is bringing back its Dodger Stadium Express game day bus service from downtown L.A.'s Union Station to the stadium.

Buses will depart every 10 minutes starting 90 minutes prior to the first pitch. During the game they'll run every 30 minutes and will run 45 minutes after the final out. Fans with tickets to the game can ride the bus for free. Others must pay a $1.50 one-way fare.

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