Everyone seems to be enjoying the Dodgers’ new spring home at Camelback Ranch, in particular Tony Jackson, who now lives within walking distance of the park, and the various fans writing in to Dodger Thoughts to provide details of their trips. And why not? It’s a brand new facility, it’s much closer to LA, the weather is better in Arizona, and the teams are much closer together than in Florida, leading to plenty of bus-ride hours saved. There’s no downside, right?
Well, except for two.
First, the remnants of Vero Beach. Think this isn’t a big deal? This actually made the front page of CNN.com today.
But along with their history, the Dodgers took with them a fair amount of economic revenue that Indian River County and the city of Vero Beach sorely miss.
It’s an area synonymous with Dodgertown.
“We need everything we can to bring business back to our community,” Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard said.
“With baseball, you have an identity,” he said. Not to mention the $35 million or so that the Dodgers brought in to the beachside retirement community, which is already taking a hit from the economic downturn.
Granted, the Dodgers aren’t in the business of supporting the economies of towns 3,000 miles away, and the move to Arizona was clearly a good business decision. Still, that doesn’t make what seems to be happening in Vero any less sad.
Second, and clearly far more important, me. I was lucky enough to make it to Vero three times in the last four years, usually catching one home game and then one road game in Jupiter or Port St. Lucie, which were right up the road. I’d actually managed to turn it into a nice family vacation to escape the winter for a weekend. With the Dodgers gone, there’s no longer any reason to go to Vero, but we all still want to go to Florida, so instead we’re going to Orlando. Sure, I’ll catch a Braves game, and I love baseball no matter who’s involved, but that’s not really the Dodgers is it?
Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying, we’re taking a break until Monday. Play nice. And I wasn’t kidding when I said that something interesting would happen this weekend, because what’s happened the two other times I stepped away from the blog for a few days?
Well, last June, the Dodgers go no-hit – and won, plus “lost” Juan Pierre to injury. Then in July, I left to go on tour, and what did we have when I returned? A left fielder you may have heard of. So what’s going to happen this weekend? Pedro’s the easy guess, isn’t it? Maybe we’ll just sign Hideo Nomo to be the 5th starter. Hey: anything’s possible.
Edited to add… well, I couldn’t not post this picture.