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Don’t Feel Sorry for Vero Beach
By Herb Chase

Dodgers in spring training, Vero Beach, 1948

ero 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.

Dodgertown sign

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 facilities.

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 Florida.

Dodgers in 1955 spring training, Vero Beach

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.

Garvey, Lasorda and company salute the flag

Lasorda waves farewell to fans at DodgertownVero 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.


Tell Herb what you think about his article.

* * * * * Great article, Lt. Chase. I am a big WW11 Pacific campaign buff, and must say that I have never read a story such as yours. You focused on a personal story that rarely gets much coverage.

Sempre Fi! Thanks for your service to our country.

Paul Harper
Edmonds, WA

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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

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Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

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