05/15/12 5:19 PM ET
Dodgers' wives, kids have brighter place to play
By Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
Already dropping parking prices to $10 and cutting down the wait at concession stands, ownership updated the wives and family room at Dodger Stadium during the team's most recent road trip, believing that any renovations are a step in the right direction for the franchise.
"We'd like to do everything right away, but things take time," president and CEO Stan Kasten said. "However, this was something that was easy to do. We knew it could be done in a week.
"We wanted to make the statement that we are looking to improve any place we can. It was a convenient, easy first step, and everyone seemed to like it. So it is a win-win situation."
The room now features new carpet, furniture and flat-screen televisions, and freshly painted walls.
Children who visit have new toys to play with and baseball bean-bag chairs in which to sit. One of the biggest additions is a chalk wall that the kids can draw on.
"It's awesome. We walked in, and you had a pop of color and the paint was fresh," said Maggie Ethier, the wife of right fielder Andre Ethier. "Now, with the chalkboard, the kids can really express themselves. It all looked really good.
"I was impressed with how quickly they were able to make the renovations and get everything done. They got right after it. It seems like they are on top of their game, and it seems like a priority to them."
With different arts-and-crafts projects every night and bookshelves full of such classics as "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss, the kids feel right at home.
Monday's game against the D-backs marked the first time Celia Elbert, the wife of reliever Scott Elbert, had been in the room with her two young daughters since the renovations took place.
"It is all so different," Elbert said. "You can really see the changes. It was noticeable the second we walked in. It is all really comfortable."
A family-friendly space full of colorful decorations, the room also features a small kitchen area where the children can eat and a separate space for wives where they can go for a few minutes of peace and quiet.
"It really is a breath of fresh air," said Cindy Ellis, the wife of catcher A.J. Ellis. "It is great to have a place where I can watch the game, support my husband and have a place my kids love to go."
Though the owners understand the limitations of a 50-year-old ballpark, they recognize that even small renovations can go a long way.
Kasten believes that taking over at the beginning of the season gives him the opportunity to learn the systems of the ballpark and understand the places that need the most help right away.
"The first time I saw the room, I thought it could use some freshening up, and I know the people who use the room every night appreciate having the space, but it wasn't the most inviting of spaces, and so with very little effort, we were able to make it a place they feel good about," he said.
"That is good for everyone. The wives feel good, the kids feel good, which makes the players feel good, and that is what we are trying to do. We want everyone to feel better about being a Dodger and feel like we are on the way to making this the premier organization in baseball."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.