This year’s World Series features games at Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium, two classic ballparks that Janet Marie Smith played a role in renovating.
With the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers squaring off, the 2018 World Series features two of Major League Baseball’s three oldest ballparks. Fenway Park is the league’s oldest, having opened in 1912, while Dodger Stadium’s 1962 debut makes it the third-oldest among active MLB ballparks. (The only ballpark in between them is the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, which originally opened in 1914).
While they are certainly among the oldest in MLB, renovations have kept Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium competitive with more modern facilities. In both cases, the teams sought the expertise of Smith when carrying out the improvements. She has been involved in some of the most notable MLB ballpark projects over the last few decades, including the creation of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as well as the renovations of Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and Ed Smith Stadium, spring home of the Orioles. She has been Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Dodgers since 2012, and will work with the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) as they plan a new ballpark in Worcester, MA for the 2021 season.
At Fenway Park, the renovations completed in the 2000’s under John Henry’s ownership group included the Green Monster seating, the right-field roof gathering space, improved concourses, and many other improvements. Smith was later involved in the upgrades to Dodger Stadium, ultimately helping to ensure that both of the ballparks in this year’s World Series remain viable for years to come. More from the Los Angeles Times:
“We’re one of the few sports that has the audacity to refer to our homes as cathedrals,” Smith told the Los Angeles Times this week at Fenway Park. “The idea of this being a place where families have gone for generations, in both Los Angeles and Boston, is something that we have looked to celebrate.”…
In order to expand the clubhouses [at Dodger Stadium], for instance, Smith had to remove the seats on the field level, excavate the space below, and then replace the seats. Not all of them, though, because the only effective way to widen the concourse was to rip out a few rows of seats.
The Dodgers also expanded walking space by building plazas outward from the seating area, including bars and drink rails that overlook each bullpen.
“Fans don’t sit in their seats for nine innings anymore,” Smith said. “You see teams designing social areas, places for fans to mill around. We don’t pretend we’re going to be sitting here with a No. 2 pencil, like our grandfather had to do.”
The Red Sox took games one and two of the World Series at Fenway Park earlier week. The series resumes Friday night with game three, which will be played at Dodger Stadium.
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