Dodgertown Here We Come…
With pitchers and catchers reporting in just a few days (and our office leaving on Tuesday), the first of the many Dodgertown stories have begun and the L.A. Times and Daily News are filled today with memories from Vero Beach.
Matt McHale, who covered the Dodgers for many years and spent tons of time in Vero, wrote his "farewell to Dodgertown" story today, and between Newhan, Plaschke and McHale, there must be years and years of time living in that so-called sleepy town.
McHale’s colleague, Dennis McCarthy has spent the week at Vero Beach for the 51st fantasy camp. He suited up like one of the campers and filed several stories in addition to the daily blogging he did. In case you missed them, here they are:
Boys of Summer Polish Dodgertown Memories, Sunday Feb. 10
No Pain, No Gain at Dodgers camp, Thursday, Feb. 7
Bottom of the Ninth for Dodgers Camp, Tuesday, Feb. 5
Last Chance to Play with the Big Boys, Sunday, Feb. 3
I’m sure I’ll be saying this very often to people I see and meet over the next six weeks, but it bears saying at the start of Spring, too.
All of us at the Dodgers understand that there will be some people in Vero Beach and on the East Coast who are disappointed with our decision to leave Dodgertown and we can empathize with those feelings. However, we also know that we will be serving a larger majority of Dodger fans, especially families, by making this move.
The primary reason we are moving is to make it easier for families who are Dodgers fans to enjoy Spring Training. Just think, it takes five hours to fly to Vero; it takes one hour to fly to Glendale. It takes five days to drive to Vero; it takes about five hours to drive to Glendale. It costs $442 per person to fly to Vero. It costs $442 for a family of four to fly to Glendale.
Plus, the state-of-the-art-facility in Glendale will help our team. As Ned has pointed out in the past, the long drives from stadium to stadium in Florida mean that you spend more time driving and less time evaluating players. When the team was in Brooklyn, it made all the sense in the world to be training in Florida but the time has come to make this move for our fans.
Another thing that might surprise some is that fan reaction has been extremely strong as everyone is looking for a chance to say goodbye to the team. On the first day of ticket sales in Vero, there was an incredible turnout that exceeded our greatest expectations. We think that is a sign of the fact that many fans understand our reasoning behind the move and are taking this opportunity to show their appreciation for all that’s taken place over 60-plus years.
So with that, it’s time to pack the bags and head out to Florida on Tuesday. If anything of interest happens tomorrow, I’ll post again but otherwise, you might not see anything new until we arrive in Vero Tuesday night.