One last trip to Dodgertown
It’s hard to believe that after 60 years of tradition that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to take their Spring Training show to Arizona. For thousands of fans who have experienced the sights and sounds of the spring, Dodgertown has been a must-visit stop. It wasn’t just baseball; it was a way of life in Vero Beach. For so many who’ve seen it all, there life is about to change. But I guess that is inevitible.
It puts a great many things in perspective. And it got me thinking….
So what was going on in 1948, when the Dodgers settled in Vero Beach?
- Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi
- Truman ended racial segregation in the armed forces
- Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Braves (4-2) in the World Series
- Tennessee Williams won a Pulitzer for A Streetcar Named Desire
- Babe Ruth passed away
- Columbia Record introduced the 33 1/3 LP Record
What did things cost back then, I wonder….
Gasoline: 26 cents/gal
Bread: 14 cents/loaf
Milk: 86 cents/gal
Postage Stamp: 3 cents
Average Annual Salary: $3,600
Minimum Wage: 40 cents per hour
My how times have changed…
There is a special aura of the all-time greats who’ve been regulars at Dodgertown over the years. Think about the names: Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Gil Hodges, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Steve Garvey, Don Sutton, Ron Cey, Walter Alston, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershisher, Mike Piazza and so many more. When you come to Dodgertown, you just feel like there is so much history on those grounds.
Two such legends were on hand today. Tommy Lasorda is in attendance this afternoon, along with former speedster extraordinaire Maury Wills. We’ve bounced around for the better part of the morning, taking in batting practice, chowing down on Dodger Dogs and getting our first look at Andruw Jones in Dodger blue.
The travel team consisted of a very outfield-heavy roster with mostly minor league talent fighting for reserve rolls on the infield. On the bubble, Scott Thorman, Martin Prado and Brent Lillibridge all got a starting roles on the afternoon with a chance to make an impression. Jordan Schafer definitely made a good impression, getting start in center and stroking a pair of singles.
Andruw Jones showed considerable patience that many fans may not have thought he possessed, walking twice on the afternoon before being lifted for a pinch runner in the sixth. On the other end of the spectrum, it did not take Jeff Francoeur too long to pick up his first outfield assist of the spring – that came on Jason Repko (who pinch-ran for Jones) and it saved a run for sure.
Lost in all the excitement of this trip for me was the fact that the Dodgers do in fact have a new manager. How could anyone forget? Joe Torre is manning the bench this season and has a very talented young squad with a great mix of veterans. This could be your team to be beat in a very competitive NL West.
Though a new chapter may be ahead for Holman Stadium and the rest of the Dodgertown complex, it’s strange to think that the team will vacate the facility they’ve called home for more than a decade longer than Los Angeles.
I’ll throw up some images of Day 1 a little later tonight,