In a sign that upgrades to Dodger Stadium will be in the offing under new ownership, the Los Angeles Dodgers today hired Janet Marie Smith as Senior VP of Planning and Development. Dodger President Stan Kasten made the announcement.
(READ THE BIZ OF BASEBALL INTERVIEW WITH JANET MARIE SMITH)
Smith, known throughout the sports world for her work with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, joins the Dodgers immediately.Â She most recently served as the Orioles Vice President of Planning and Development.
â€śDodger Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in sports and Janet Marie is one of the few people I would trust with its future,â€ť said Kasten. â€śShe respects baseballâ€™s tradition and knows how to retain a ballparkâ€™s distinctive charms while providing fans with the amenities and comfort theyâ€™ve come to expect. Any fan that has walked through the gates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the renovated Fenway Park or Atlantaâ€™s Turner Field has been a beneficiary of her understanding of what a ballpark means to its community. Every new baseball stadium built since 1992 has been influenced by what she helped build at Camden Yards.Â And we thank Orioles owner Peter Angelos for allowing Janet Marie to join us.â€ť
In her new role with the Dodgers, Smith will oversee upgrades and enhancements to Dodger Stadium.
â€śIâ€™m looking forward to working with the new Dodgers ownership to find ways to create an even better fan experience,â€ť said Smith. â€śDodger Stadium is a treasured piece of the Los Angeles community and a special place where I watched more than a dozen games per season when I lived in L.A. during the early 1980s. Itâ€™s important to all of us that we restore and enhance the park in a way that honors its heritage and highlights its distinctive appeals, while still capturing what fans want and franchises need in a modern venue.â€ť
Of Marie Smithâ€™s departure, Orioles Managing Partner Peter Angelos gave her high praise.
â€śThe Orioles greatly appreciate Janet Marie Smithâ€™s efforts over the past three years, as she has overseen the construction of our widely lauded ballpark in Sarasota and many significant enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.Â In Sarasota, the goal was to create a ballpark that the local community and all of our fans would be proud to visit, and after two record-setting springs, this has clearly been achieved.
â€śAt Oriole Park, we asked Janet Marie to enhance the fan experience, honor our history, and revitalize some areas of the ballpark with new, more contemporary concepts.Â And in this 20th anniversary season, those objectives have resulted in bringing our fans the Roof Deck, Dempseyâ€™s and the Orioles Legends sculptures.
â€śJanet Marie was the perfect choice to oversee these projects, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the Dodgers.â€ť
Prior to rejoining the Orioles in 2009, Smith had spent seven years with the Boston Red Sox as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development, overseeing preservation of and improvements to historic Fenway Park and its surrounding neighborhood. In Atlanta, she held the positions of President of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, and Vice President of Planning and Development for the Atlanta Braves, where she helped transform the 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field for the Braves, and oversaw the development of the Philips Arena, home of the NBA Atlanta Hawks and NHL Atlanta Thrashers.
From 1989-1994, Smith worked with the Orioles as Vice President of Planning and Development overseeing the design and construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which opened in 1992.Â Camden Yards is considered the archetype for new ballparks and ushered in a wave of downtown ballfields that capture the warmth and appeal of classic older parks while offering comfortable, state-of-the-art facilities.
Smith holds a master's degree in urban planning from City College of New York and a bachelor of architecture degree from Mississippi State University.
Source: Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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