Beach will not be a ghost town when the Dodgers finally pull up
stakes and leave for Arizona. Anything but!
The City fathers and the residents of Vero are
genuinely sorry to see the Dodgers bow out after 60 years supporting
the team... win or lose, through thick or thin.
The city and its people are furious with Dodger
management for breaking their contract and still, to this day,
refusing to make a final decision so Vero can welcome another
team with a reliable management to their city-state owned training
Several years ago when the Dodgers under Rupert
Murdoch were threatening to leave town, Vero Beach and the state
bought the multi-acre Dodgertown training facility complete with
two golf courses, six or seven practice fields, barracks, a cozy
clubhouse, and Holman Stadium where the Dodgers welcomed a parade
of other teams from various training facilities throughout Southern
The people of Vero Beach were loyal fans who loved Sandy Koufax,
Don Drysdale, Tommy Lasorda, Peewee Reese, Mike Piazza, Jackie Robinson,
and scores of other famous Dodgers. They welcomed the players
into their homes and turned out regularly to watch them practice.
When the major league season started the loyal residents supported
the Vero Beach Dodgers, a soon-to-be gone minor league team which
had Holman as their home field every summer.
Those same people, who probably still love the
Dodger players, are now grinding their teeth and cursing Dodger
management for their heartless withdrawal announcements while
continuing to hold the city hostage.
Frank McCourt, the current owner of the Dodgers,
would like everyone to believe the proposed move to Arizona, which
has been announced but not yet finalized, was "to accommodate
the fans." Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's
all about money.
The fans are incidental to the fact that McCourt
accepted a lucrative "perk" to move to Gilbert, Arizona,
where the team will presumably be doing their spring training
in 2009. Assuming McCourt ever pulls the trigger, Vero Beach will
probably welcome the Baltimore Orioles, a team which is drooling
over the prospect of taking over the finest baseball Spring training
facility in the history of baseball. But Baltimore can't wait
forever while Vero suffers and McCourt seeks to have it both ways.
Beach continues to be a beautiful oceanfront community full of
solid citizens who will have to adjust to life without the Dodgers.
They never got to know McCourt and they obviously do not trust
him because of his unethical withdrawal... so they really do not
care to know him.
The real reason McCourt pulled the plug on Vero
Beach points to the fact that Gilbert offered him 30 acres of
highly developable property at below market prices. He may have
to wait a few years, but the property will be worth millions.
Just ask T.J. Simers, the Los Angeles Times' sarcastic
columnist, what he thinks about the "Boston Parking Lot Attendant,"
his nickname for McCourt) who is first and foremost a developer
and incidentally a baseball owner.