On Jan 31st I briefly posted about the ball I had Frank McCourt sign at Spring Training a few years ago.
As I was searching through photos that are in storage, I found the one I took when he signed my ball. Here it is:
He couldn't have been more polite and approachable. Man, I can’t tell you how awesome Vero Beach was for autographs. And it was a great place to see a ball game, as intimate as a High School Field.
I know there is much talk about it. The general consensus from those within the Dodgers organization was that it was time for the Dodgers to move west for Spring Training. But it is still sad to see that the Dodgers are gone. Dodgertown, Vero Beach had a special appeal. There was so much history in that place and it had changed so little over the years.
From the senior citizen ushers wearing a hat that said "Codgers," to the minor league fields to which we all had access to, to the close proximity to the playing field and the ability to not only see the game but hear it from close up. I could spend hours out there.
I'll never forget my first visit to Dodgertown. It wasn't even Spring Training. It was November 1997 and I was on a work training assignment way up on the Southeast Georgia coast in Brunswick, GA. I had a day off so I rented a car and drove down to Vero Beach, (several hours drive), to go watch some Fantasy campers play ball. And it was a great day. I had a chance to briefly chat with Ralph Branca, Steve Yeager, Ken McMullen, Don Zimmer, Carl Erskine, Clem Labine, and Reggie Smith. As I sat in an empty Holman Stadium I started up a conversation with a very nice lady who was an absolute delight. She turned out to be Clem's wife. She had come over to bring him his lunch.
I vowed that one day I'd shell out the 4 grand and go to fantasy camp baseball. Here I am, 14 years later and I still haven't done it. I would say that as a 50-year old, that ship has sailed but there were many around that age group participating.
I can say that the ship has sailed for participating in it at Vero Beach, and I find that incredibly sad.
So anyway, this year I will make it out to Camelback Ranch for the first time. I have to admit though, I highly doubt that it will be as enjoyable as Vero Beach.
Troy from West Virginia's newest song is up on YouTube. His projected Dodgers 2011 roster:
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