They spoke in hushed, reverential tones. Almost as if they were touring St. Peter’s Basilica. Noel had no reason to fear this group of worshipers would step on the grass. Only a heathen Giants fan would commit that sort of sacrilege. The most poignant moment? When a young father from South Gate propped up his toddling son on the dugout bench and handed him the phone that connects with the bullpen. The little kid jammed the earpiece under his Dodgers cap – as if he were ready to tell someone to get Jonathan Broxton warmed up. Dad, wearing his “Garciaparra” jersey, snapped a photo. “They will have that picture forever,” another visitor said, and they probably will. Twenty years from now, the kid will show it to friends and say, “See? I was a Blue fan before I could talk!” LOS ANGELES – Noel swung open the gate, and 10 wide-eyed Dodgers fans stepped onto the warning track behind home plate at Dodger Stadium. “You can touch the grass. You can pet it,” she said, smiling. “But please don’t step on it.” Step on the grass? No risk of that sort of desecration among the true-blue fans who take the official Dodger Stadium tour. For the next 15 minutes, the visitors wandered through the empty dugout, peered into camera wells and looked back up at the pastel-colored heights where they usually sit when they visit the stadium. Those of us who are sports insiders of some sort – media, athletes, officials, operators – forget that 99.9 percent of the public don’t have the access we do. For insiders, it’s no big deal to be in the press box. Or the dugout. Or a luxury box. Nothing new to step inside a stadium restaurant, or admire the memorabilia in the Dugout Club. But it is exotic and probably memorable to the average fan. Which is why the Dodgers’ creation of stadium tours is a good and handy thing. Most everyone who has been inside Dodger Stadium recognizes it to be a huge and organic thing. Honeycombed with passages, hollowed out for offices and clubhouses. But all they really know of it is the walk from the parking lot to their seats. And for most of them, those seats are several levels above the field, or out in the pavilions. Where ushers limit their movement. Each Tuesday and Thursday, the Dodgers attempt to fill some gaps in fans’ knowledge of the ballpark with 90-minute tours of the stadium. At 10 a.m., and again at 11:30. The tours cost $15 per adult and begin and end outside the Top of the Park gift shop (“people on the tour get a discount!”), which is no coincidence. But for seriously curious fans, it’s worth doing. (The Angels conduct one-hour tours of Angel Stadium every Tuesday during the offseason, at $3 per person.) Some fans might pay $15 just for the 15-minute video of Dodgers highlights shown in a conference room on Level 8A. If you’re younger than 20, you have no memory of the last time the Dodgers won a World Series (that would be 1988, kids), and there’s nothing like a Charley Steiner-narrated videotape to remind us that this franchise had a knack for winning things, for about 30 years there. There is Johnny Podres, preparing to pitch the opening game here, in 1962, recalling that “the beauty of the ballpark stunned everyone.” There is Kirk Gibson coming out of the dugout in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as Vin Scully says, “And look who’s coming up!” And Jack Buck moments later shouting, “I don’t believe what I just saw!” And owner Frank McCourt solemnly intoning, “The Dodger jersey is not just another jersey. It’s perhaps the most famous jersey in sports.” Which is hyperbole, of course, as long as the Yankees, Red Sox, Lakers and Real Madrid still field teams. But you get the drift. Our tour guides were young and enthusiastic women, Noel and Eva. They knew their stuff, stadium facts and figures, franchise trivia, right down to the derivation of the Dodgers nickname “From the fans who dodged trolleys” to get to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. “We’re the only sports team named after our fans,” Noel said. The 10 fans grinned. After the video highlights, the tour works its way down the elevators, to the Vin Scully Press box (“Vin sits over there … (organist) Nancy Bea sits over here”) to a luxury box (“go ahead and try out the Barcaloungers”) and the stadium club restaurant. Then down to the new dugout club restaurant – with stops to admire old uniforms, bats, balls and gloves. And then past the umpires’ locker room (“You’ll notice the sign is also in Braille”) and out to the field. Where you can sit where Nomar sits, and spit where Jeff Kent spits. Sorry, no access to the Dodgers clubhouse, though most everyone wants to see it. Noel told the fans (and we can back her up on this) that the locker room is old, small and decidedly non-glamorous. “Kind of like a glorified high school locker room,” she said, “with the difference being the great players who have been in there.” Frankly, we originally were skeptical about the tour idea. Charging $15 to run people up and down the elevator and stand on the warning track? But when it’s new and special, and for fans it is … and involves a team and a sport you care about … Yep. That toddler will cherish that photo his dad took of him in the dugout. The day they took the tour and saw parts of Dodger Stadium they never will see again. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!