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Dodgers open 2013 season at home against Giants

April 1, 2013 12:41:59 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Dodgers opened their 2013 season Monday hosting the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, and fans got to see the $100 million in renovations made to the storied stadium.

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Then another Dodgers left-hander with a great curveball, Clayton Kershaw, launched his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning. Kershaw finished off a four-hitter that led Los Angeles over San Francisco 4-0.

Hours before the first pitch, the party in Elysian Park was in full swing. Brass bands and a DJ were getting Dodger fans fired up for the home opener.

"Hey, I'll be happy to make it to playoffs. That's the No. 1 goal right now. After that, let's go to the World Series," said fan Issac Zuniga.

It's an exciting new year for Dodger fans. The team is under new ownership, and the ball park underwent $100 million worth of improvements. The most impressive change is the scoreboard, which has been replaced by a new high-definition video board.

David Siegel, senior ticket sales director, said the concourses have been widened on nearly every level of the stadium, more restrooms have been added and there's a brand new sound system.

Children's play areas were built on the first base and third base sides of the reserve level, and a new retail store was built at the Top of the Park location behind home plate. It will be open daily, along with the Top of the Park ticket office. A second retail store was built on the reserve level on the third base side.

New food options include LA Taqueria, whose menu includes fish tacos, "street style" carne asada and pork carnitas tacos. Also new at the ball park is Elysian Park Grill, which will offer a "Dodger Blue Heaven Burger," Santa Fe turkey burger and the new Brooklyn Dodger Dog, described as "an East Coast take on the classic Dodger Dog."

Fans will also soon be able to Instagram, Tweet and Facebook faster at games. Officials say a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network and cellular antenna system to support cellphone and Internet connectivity from mobile devices is expected to be completed in June. A new electrical power grid with seven new substations was added to accommodate the Wi-Fi network and cellular antenna system.

Fans attending Monday's sold-out game were advised to arrive early. Gates opened at 10 a.m. for the 1:10 p.m. game

It was the first time the Dodgers opened the season against their longtime rival since 2011 when Bryan Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic who was wearing Giants apparel, was left brain-damaged in a beating in a Dodger Stadium parking lot.

What fans won't know is who among them in the stands is an undercover LAPD officer blending in to monitor the crowd.

"Their idea is to get security in that uniform present before the problem becomes more problematic," said LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez. "They'll just try to fit in as part of the rivalry and try to be a good witness."

Opening week will feature a few giveaways: On Wednesday, the first 40,000 fans will receive a hooded Dodger sweatshirt, and on Sunday, the first 15,000 kids will receive a Matt Kemp replica jersey.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.


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