Joe Davis will announce Dodgers games, replacing the retired Vin Scully. Photo via magazine.beloit.ed
Joe Davis will announce Dodgers games, replacing the retired Vin Scully. Photo via magazine.beloit.ed

Who is that stranger in the broadcast booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener Monday night?

Yes, there are a lot of changes at Dodger Stadium, but none so dramatic as the loss of Vin Scully to retirement. Joe Davis will be leading the team’s first broadcast of the regular season, but to die-hard Vin Scully fans, things just won’t be the same.

It’s a little unfair to call Davis a stranger, as he called nearly all the team’s road games last year.

But he’s not Vin Scully.

In addition to the loss of Scully, other changes have been made outside and inside Dodger Stadium for the 2017 season. But as far as the team goes, last year’s roster have been pretty much kept intact.

The ring road behind center field was reconfigured in an effort to reduced congestion, and a new premium parking lot was created between the former 76 station and the center field transit road.

The pedestrian loading area for the Dodger Stadium Express bus was reconfigured to provide a dedicated area with uniform pedestrian lighting, and additional landscaped islands of olive trees, palm trees and native succulent plants of the region were put at either end of the transit street.

Another exterior change will come on April 15 with the unveiling of Dodger Stadium’s first statue, which depicts Jackie Robinson. The unveiling will come on the 70th anniversary of his breaking Major League Baseball’s color line.

There are several new memorabilia displays inside the stadium, including a gallery adjacent to the Vin Scully Press Box that includes Scully’s headset and other objects from his broadcast booth during his final season with the Dodgers.

A new display case at the left field entry to the club level features game-worn jerseys from Dodger greats, including Robinson and Sandy Koufax.

Fans with tickets on field, loge and club levels and anyone with a season ticket are able to access those areas.

Game-used bats from nearly every all-star that has played for the Dodgers in Los Angeles are on display in the right field baseline club. The display is open to anyone in the right field concourse.

A new mini-suite has been built inside the Stadium Club to host groups of 15. The loge level party boxes, which can host groups of 12 to 16, have been given a new look and improved surroundings.

Areas on the field level concourse near each foul pole have been created for groups of 15 to 60. The areas have standing room, bar stools and high-top tables.

All the suites on the club level and the Lexus Dugout Club have been renovated.

Fans also have a slew of additional food choices.

The Budweiser-branded Bud & Burgers down the third base line features the Dodger Burger, a grilled Dodger Dog grilled on top of a beef patty. Budweiser has also created a simulated batting experience by the left field Bud bar.

King’s Hawaiian Grill in the left field plaza has a premium barbecue menu including pulled pork sliders made with original Hawaiian sweet rolls, smoked pork nachos, “Big Island Lava Wings” and the “Hawaiian BBQ Dodger Dog” featuring a King’s Hawaiian hot dog bun, pulled pork and the chain’s original sweet pineapple barbecue sauce.

New dishes at Dodger Stadium include:

  • “BaseBowls,” featuring a choice of poke, teriyaki chicken bowl, Kalua pork or Vietnamese rice noodles. They are available on the field level at aisle 45 on the third base side.
  • Chick-N-Tots, house-made marinated chicken bites with topping options of chili cheese, Buffalo sauce, garlic, oil and parmesan cheese. They are available on the field level at aisle 8 on the first base side.
  • Mediterranean quinoa salads, strawberry and beet salads and fresh sandwiches such as a turkey club, Albacore tuna salad and grilled vegetable flatbread are available at United Healthcare Market Place Locations on the field level at aisle 5, the loge level at aisle 137 and the reserve level at aisle 5.
  • Shock Top Bratwurst, spicy pork bratwurst link infused with Shock Top beer served on a warm bun with caramelized onions and spicy brown mustard, is available at the Extreme Loaded Dog Stands on the field level at aisle 48, the loge level at aisle 135 and the reserve level at aisle 2.
  • And desserts such as funnel cakes topped with powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle and whipped cream; glazed churros; cinnamon sugar churro served with blue ice cream; deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies are available at Trolley Dodger Treats on the field level at aisle 46 on the first base side.

Those who listen to the games are getting used to the absence of Scully, who retired at the conclusion of the 2016 season following a record 67 years with the team.

Joe Davis has become the Dodgers’ full-time television play-by-play broadcaster.

“It’s a special thing when you look at it as being one of the people that can follow him and be part of that incredible history this organization has,” Davis told ABC7. “It was something that I couldn’t say no to. Hopefully, over time, fans will learn to tolerate listening to me and respect what I do.”

Davis called nearly all of the road games last season. Unlike Scully, who worked alone, Davis will be joined in the booth by former Dodgers Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra.

The 29-year-old Davis also broadcasts Major League Baseball and college football and basketball games for Fox Sports.

Following stints with the Schaumburg Flyers of the independent Northern League and the Montgomery (Alabama) Biscuits of the Double-A Southern League, Davis was hired by ESPN in 2012, when he was 24, to broadcast college baseball, basketball, football, hockey and softball.

A majority of fans in the Los Angeles area will not be able to see the SportsNet LA broadcasts of the games for a fourth consecutive season because several television providers, most prominently DirecTV, have rejected the fee sought by the regional sports network, which is co-owned by Charter Communications and Guggenheim Partners.

An arm of Guggenheim Partners, Guggenheim Baseball Management, owns the Dodgers.

KTLA-TV Channel 5 will broadcast 10 games, beginning with Wednesday’s contest against the Padres.

Scully had a presence at Monday’s opener against the San Diego Padres despite not being in attendance. He narrated videos played before and during the game.

All but two players on the Dodgers 25-man opening day roster played with the team last season.

The newcomers are starting second baseman Logan Forsythe, acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, and relief pitcher Sergio Romo, signed as a free agent after playing nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants.

— Staff and wire reports

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