The new Dodgers' owners should also partner with the Metrolink system to run special trains to and from Union Station ferrying fans to the stadium and back, as is done in other cities. Such an arrangement would compensate for lost parking around the stadium and create a pool of pedestrian fans who want to shop before and after the game. Perhaps most important, a Metrolink shuttle would signal that baseball can be part of a positive urban experience in Los Angeles, just as it is elsewhere.
Finally, housing should be built somewhere on the site. Mega-facilities do not always make the best neighbors, as Elysian Park residents have known for decades. But just as many Brooklynites have never forgiven the Dodgers for leaving, many activists in central Los Angeles have never forgiven the Dodgers for arriving. The stadium displaced an existing community, and the never-built scheme for public housing at Chavez Ravine still represents a breach of faith that can be rectified as part of a Dodger Stadium redevelopment plan.
Housing would have to be tucked away carefully. But it could be a considerable source of revenue for the team. If done right, it could strengthen and improve the surrounding neighborhood even as it fostered residents' loyalty. The housing could be modeled on the historical bungalow designs of the Echo Park and Elysian Park neighborhoods, designs that would have more meaning in the Dodger Stadium neighborhood than the faux suburban motif of the existing stadium.
Echo Park was and remains a working-class neighborhood, so perhaps no theme is more appropriate for both the team and that section of town. In their Brooklyn days, the Dodgers were known as "Da Bums"--the guys whom average working stiffs could root for against the hoity-toity Yankees. For 40 years in Los Angeles, the O'Malleys have shrewdly built on this image. They've kept ticket prices low enough to hold onto working-class fans. They've combined the "Bums" image with an on-the-field model of interracial teamwork that reflects the city's own recipe for success.
This is the tradition that must be carried on in any plan to update the Dodger Stadium property. Leave it to Anaheim and the newly Disneyized Angels to create state-of-the-art methods for separating people from their wallets by exploiting their love affairs with baseball. Whatever happens at Dodger Stadium, let's make sure it reflects the real Los Angeles, not the fake ones. Making Echo Park stronger is far more important than building another Toon Town.