Dodgers surpass attendance milestone
Franchise becomes first in sports to draw 175 million fans
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers surpassed the 175-million mark in all-time attendance on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves, setting a new Guinness World Record for cumulative attendance by a Major League franchise.The Dodgers, a franchise rich in history and tradition, became the first franchise in all of sports to reach the 175-million milestone. Since the inception of baseball, the Dodgers have been one of the most recognizable franchises in all of sports, and as one of the original teams in the National League, the Dodgers truly embody the spirit of America's pastime. "For our fans to be able to say with pride that their team has enjoyed the greatest attendance than any other franchise in history is truly an amazing accomplishment," said Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt. "This is something that we are humbled by, quite frankly." As a tribute to all the fans, McCourt and Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda invited 175 fans to celebrate with them on the field prior to Tuesday night's game. In addition, one lucky fan was chosen to represent the 175 million fans by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, while 175 limited addition autographed baseballs were distributed to fans throughout the stadium by Dodgers players, coaches and legends. Lasorda and McCourt greeted the fans prior to the game and spoke about the accomplishment and what the milestone means to the city, the organization and the fans. "The Dodgers are one of the preeminent franchises in all of sports and the primary reason for that is the support and loyalty of our fans," said McCourt. "The 175 million fans coming through the turnstiles really says it all." McCourt, who officially took over the reins of the franchise on Jan. 29, 2004, is the fourth owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCourt and his wife, Jamie, have reached out to the Dodgers community over the last three years, and with their guidance the Dodgers Dream Foundation has provided underprivileged youth in Southern California with educational, athletic and recreational opportunities. The team also thanked all the fans in attendance on Tuesday by inviting them back in mid-July. All fans in attendance will be able to redeem their ticket for a reserve-level seat to one of the games in an upcoming series with the Phillies. Fittingly, the Dodgers hit the milestone during the 21st Annual Think Blue Week celebration, which started on Monday. Think Blue Week gives Dodgers fans the opportunity live out their Dodgers dreams by submitting an essay, each year several fans are chosen. Note: Following Wednesday night's contest, portions of the Dodger Stadium parking lots will be closed due to the Fourth of July fireworks show, which will take place immediately after the game. The Dodgers encourage fans to carpool and arrive early for the game. The parking lot gates will open at 4:10 p.m. PT, and the stadium gates will open at 4:40 p.m.
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.