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The Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans will be in fine shape come April 9th, the date the team is expected to announce the return of baseballs to LA. For the first time since 1995, the Dodgers will play at Dodger Stadium, and the game will be aired through AT&T Stadium. The move will bring 3,000 more fans to Dodger Stadium, making it the largest single-venue sports fan club in the country, according to Darryl Strawberry, a Dodgers executive.
MLB’s first game of the season, against the Angels, will be played at Dodger Stadium, the first time the franchise has hosted the major league game since 1995.
The Dodgers have been planning the move for a few years, and it could be a great marketing idea for the team, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
“MLB’s first game here is a big one, even if it’s just a spring training affair,” Rosenthal said. “Dodgers fans are spoiled, and when a new stadium is built in Chavez Ravine, I suspect they’ll be mad as heck.”
The Dodgers have not had a single day off since their last opening day, a 4-3 loss to the Braves, on April 1, 1996. The night before, the Dodgers were swept by the Astros, and they lost their starting pitcher, Mark Langston, to a sprained knee.
“It’s a nice little marketing gimmick,” Rosenthal said. “Dodgers fans are spoiled. The team had a tough year. It seemed like any time you showed up to a game, you’d look like you were leaving. The team had trouble finding players who could pitch.”
There are some doubts in baseball circles about whether the Dodgers will be able to afford to go to spring training and practice. “This is the kind of thing that gets the powers-that-be riled up,” said sportswriter Bill Shaikin. “It’s the kind of thing that drives a team with money into bankruptcy.”
MLB is preparing for a record Opening Day attendance of 54,734. The previous record on April