Goodbye Dodgertown, Hello Beijing
It’s been a pretty hectic and heavy day, with half the team preparing to leave for China and the other half continuing under Tommy’s guidance in Vero Beach. It took exactly two innings for Tommy to get into a heated exchange with the umpires today and it was a classic moment…just seeing him in full uniform, run out onto the field, brought back great memories from his days in the dugout.
Adding to the significance of the day is the potential that it was the last day ever in Dodgertown for some of us. If all goes as planned, we’ll be in Glendale next year, which will be absolutely amazing for our fans in Los Angeles and something that many of us are looking forward to greatly. Still, on this day, it was weird to stand on the balcony of the administration building and watch a couple of innings knowing that we likely won’t be back. In fact, I stood there the night before, too, with the stadium empty and thought about all the legends who had played on that field over the years. What an amazing place…
As we pulled away on the bus and out of Dodgertown, it was an eerie feeling and yet, I’m hopeful that all of you have had the chance to experience Spring Training there at some point over the past 61 years. And for those who haven’t, which I’m guessing is the majority of you, well, that’s the reason why we’re moving to Arizona. Be prepared for a very, very cool experience in the future.
Of course, while I’ve spent about six months of my life in total in Vero Beach, that’s nothing compared to people like Maury Wills, Billy Delury, Tommy Lasorda and all the others who will undoubtedly share their thoughts with the media over the next week while they remain at Dodgertown. In particular, keep in mind for some L.A. Times columns coming next week and highlights on ESPN, as their crew will be following Tommy around for a few days. Plus, the last game on March 17 will be televised on MLB.TV
But among those leaving today with the longest time spent at Dodgertown are Jaime Jarrin, clubhouse manager Mitch Poole, dodgers.com beat writer Ken Gurnick and team photographer Jon SooHoo. In fact, the front of the site will soon have a tribute to Dodgertown in SooHoo’s likely final gallery, which he shot earlier today. He does some pretty impressive work with the lens and today was no exception.
So with that, there’s only one thing left to say and that’s thank you. Thank you to Craig Callan and his entire staff at Dodgertown for all of their incredible hospitality. All the groundskeepers, ticket takers, hotel staff workers, dining room attendants, lounge bartenders, security guards and everyone else who has made us all feel at home for so many years there – a huge thank you goes out to all of you, too.
And of course, last but far from least, an enormous thank you to the fans and people of Vero Beach, who have supported the team incredibly over the years and who we hope will come and visit in Glendale, where they’ll be joined by thousands of like-minded Dodger fans who can’t wait to see their team in the spring. We simply cannot thank you all enough…