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Vero Beach Is Dodgertown Again

From 1946 until 2008, my old home town of Vero Beach was Dodgertown, and the Dodgers held spring training there, even though they were in California for most of that time.

But in 2008, dirtbag/genius Frank McCourt took the giant suitcases of money being offered to him and moved their spring training to Arizona, where the fanbase in the Southwest, much nearer to Los Angeles, was far more lucrative.  I have no complaints about that – yayyyy, capitalism – but he weirdly refused to let Vero use the name Dodgertown.

Former owner (and son of another legendary dirtbag owner, who is now idolized once Dodgers fans discovered what a true dirtbag owner was in McCourt) Peter O’ Malley didn’t like that very much, so he pulled strings with MLB and Dodgers President Stan Kasten – now that McCourt is gone – to negotiate the rights to use the name. Former pitchers Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park are investors with him and together they took over the facility from Minor League Baseball in 2012.

It worked, and so the rather bland Vero Beach Sports Village is now Historic Dodgertown. Shouldn’t they move on instead?  Spring training is big business these days and Vero lacks the tax base to attract a team, which would want a lot of money, a new stadium and to own the land. Old Vero people used to complain that the Dodgers did not have to pay to lease the land (it is owned by Indian River County) so they would surely be up in arms if the city paid to have someone move there. In hindsight, they probably wish they had complained a little less, though.

Sandy Koufax still lives there; I saw him in a diner once near my mother’s house but I didn’t say hello. Sure, my mother was probably so excited about his perfect game on September 9th, 1965 it caused her to go into labor with me, but the man just wanted to have breakfast.

Maybe now old Dodgers fans can forgive the O’ Malleys for moving the team out of Brooklyn.

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