Echo Park - Friday will be a Dodgers home opening game like no other. Again.
Last year’s opener was unique, of course, because it didn’t happen until July, and fans were’t allowed in the stadium.
This year, at least it’s starting on time - and cardboard cutouts will no longer be occupying the best seats. But almost everyone will have to wear a mask during the home opener. (Are they selling any that look like catcher’s masks? Could somebody get on that?) Stadium capacity is limited to 33%, with suites capped at 25%. Cash will not be accepted for any transaction.
And tickets are not cheap.
Frankie Quintana of Echo Park is among the Dodger fans who's not sure whether he'll go to opening day this year - partly because the cheapest ticket he found was just under $250, while home-opener prices usually hover at $140. Plus, he's still concerned about coronavirus and the crowds.
“I don’t want to be around too many people,” Quintana said.
And within restrictions, there will indeed be a crowd. As of late last week, even the $250 tickets were no longer turning up on the Dodgers website. The cheapest was $1,176 - and it had to be purchased in bundles of four.
This Friday, the 2020 world champion Dodgers face the Washington Nationals, who ended the 2020 season at the rock-bottom of the National League East. The venue: The oldest Major League ballpark west of the Mississippi - a 56,000-seat arena that has already seen more than its share of action this year, testing for - and later vaccinating against - The Virus That Shut Down Everything.
Here's what to expect on Friday:
Metro’s Dodger Stadium Express will begin modified service on Friday, running between Union Station and Harbor Gateway Transit Center to the ballpark for every home game. Services will begin two hours before the start of the game on April 9 and continue until 45 minutes after the final out. For subsequent games, Union Station service will begin 90 minutes before the start of the games. Harbor Gateway Transit Center service will continue to operate up to two hours before the games.
This month, Union Station service will operate out of Bay 3 in Patsaouras Bus Plaza.
The frequency of buses will be slightly reduced due to limited fan attendance. Rides are free with a game ticket. Face masks are required while on board or while waiting to board.
Dodger Stadium Parking
• Parking gates open 1½ hours before the start of the game.
• Parking must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at the stadium gates.
• Masks are required for everyone over the age of 2, except when actively eating or drinking.
• Masks should fit snugly, with no gaps.
• Neck gaiters, bandanas, and masks with ventilation valves are not acceptable.
• Visual markers will be laid out for lines and social distancing.
• Cleaning practices will be enhanced throughout the stadium.
• Hand sanitizing stations have been added throughout the ballpark.
• Bathrooms have been modified to reduce capacity and will use touchless soap and towel dispensers.
• Stadium gates open 1 hour before the start of the game.
• Bags - including backpacks and purses - are not permitted, except diaper bags for infants, and clear plastic bags smaller than 12"X12"X6”. Bags are also subject to search - yes, including the diaper bags.
• No cash is accepted for any transaction - only debit cards, credit cards, or other contactless payments such as Apple, Google or Samsung digital wallets. Seven Cash-to-Card kiosks are located throughout the stadium.
• The parking lots as well as the stadium are all no-smoking areas. That includes electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.
• Fans will not be able to access the field-of-play at any time.
• There will be a 12-foot buffer zone around the dugouts and bullpens. There will be no opportunities for autographs or personal photos with the players.
• All food will be ordered from the seats and picked up from the concession areas.
• All seats will be sold in pods, ranging in sizes from two to six. Each pod will be socially distanced from neighboring pods, and will be limited to a single party.
• Tickets can only be bought digitally, accessed through the MLB Ballpark App, and presented on a mobile device to enter the stadium.