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Never Forget Dodgertown: Ten Years Ago The Dodgers Said Goodbye To Vero Beach

Tommy Lasorda at Dodgertown

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and the Dodgers are taking on the Chicago White Sox at Glendale this afternoon. St. Patrick’s Day used to be a big deal when the O’Malleys owned the club. The Dodgers still wear green caps to honor the holiday when they play every March 17. But on this day ten years ago today the Dodgers played their final game at Dodgertown in Vero Beach.

It’s important to remember Dodgertown, which was the Dodger’s spring training home for 60 years. The 2008 season was the final year the Dodgers played at the iconic site before moving into their new digs in Glendale. That year was a strange season for the team. They played the first half of the season in Vero Beach to say goodbye to the old grounds. The second half of the spring was spent in Phoenix since Camelback Ranch was not finished being built. The Dodgers also took a trip to China to play some exhibition games out there.

The final game to be played at the venerable Holman Stadium was on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Half of the club was already in Phoenix and the other half of the roster stayed behind. Tommy Lasorda was given the honor of managing the final game at Vero Beach as the Dodgers played the Houston Astros. Who else would be bestowed such an honor?

The Dodgers lost the game 12-10, but the memories flashed before everyone’s face. Former Dodger’s pitcher Carl Erskine played the national anthem on his harmonica during the somber moment. After the game was over all of the players lined up and raised their bats to form a line so Tommy could walk under it. It was similar to a 21-bat salute.

The Dodgers began playing at Holman Stadium in 1953. The Stadium’s design was unforgettable with the palm trees adorning the outfield and the open air dugouts. Tommy made a statement after the game that he was feeling blue. That’s a feeling that personified that spring.

Dodgertown lives on today in a different capacity, but I think it’s important to remember our history on this day. Moving to Glendale did make sense from a practical stand point. It was closer to Los Angeles and the Camelback complex is state of the art with all of the modern amenities installed. But let’s never forget Dodgertown at Vero Beach. On this day, the tenth anniversary of the final game at Dodgertown.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

35 thoughts on “Never Forget Dodgertown: Ten Years Ago The Dodgers Said Goodbye To Vero Beach

  1. At least Baez is consistent, if being consistently shitty counts. Joan is a consistent no show in pressure situations, and often a no show in non-pressure situations.

  2. I was in Dodgertown only once, 2001. Got a bat. It’s the one I swing every day. I think it was one of Beltre’s. I don’t know that, but it sounds better if I tell it that way.

    Ryu looks ready. So does Pederson. Baez was ok today. Lowered his ERA to7.71.

    1. The signature on the bat should be one clue…another is the fact that they put their uni number on the bottom of the handle. Pederson is OKC bound. St. Patty’s day when the O’ Malley’s owned the team was a big deal at Vero.

      1. Obviously you couldn’t zoom in Michael. It’s a Model C271 Pro Stock bat. Their were 2 numbers on the bottom, one over the other and they were quite faded, very much gone now. One begins with a 4 and maybe a 3 or 8. The other number could be a 5, 6 or 8. There isn’t a 29 on it, but tell anyone.

    2. Ryu seems the same struggling starter he has been since trying to come back from injury. Joc is more or less hopeless for this team. Why spend any more energy on him? Baez may be in the same category.

      I’ve never been to Vero Beach. In fact, I never have thought about it since the Dodgers left and never will, I believe. Means almost nothing to me.

      1. Neither Roberts nor Ryu are concerned. “Got squeezed, defense didn’t help, decent velocity, blah blah”. Ryu is one of our 4 #5’s and should give us 5 innings of <1.4 WHIP, ERA around 3.99. I doubt he gets 130 innings.

        Bullpen “fuzzy” due to Koehler injury and lackluster performances. Roberts also suggests maybe 7 relievers, not 8, opening a bench spot….. for who? Fuzzy names are Báez, Liberatore, Garcia, Font, Chargois and Venditte.

        1. Badger

          Ryu has not pitched as much as our other starters, in these real spring training games.

          Because has been working on his curve ball, to make it break later and tighter, I believe, so I would not put to much into his last couple starts, for that reason.

          But his velocity has been consistent, and that puts him ahead, of where he was last year.

          1. Don’t you think it’s time for him to get it together? He’s got one more ST start. He’d better have that curve figured out and be able to throw 75-90 pitches and complete 5 innings next week because the games count after that.

            That goes for everyone. Game faces this coming week.

  3. Badger

    I think because of the schedule and the days off they have in the first month, they will not be using the fifth starter, from what I read.

    That is why they were saying they were carrying 8 relievers, although you said Roberts said maybe they will carry 7 relievers.

    But I guess we face the Giants a lot at the beginning of the season, and they mentioned the Dbacks too, but I don’t think we face the Dbacks as much as we face the Giants, early in the season.

      1. I think Stripling is a real possibility for the #5 SP. He seems to have become more reliable, settled down, when he was sent to the bullpen last year. I rooted for Ryu last year but I did not like what I saw. His last game showed me the same stuff we don’t want, early runs, HR. 3IP, 7 hits, 2BB, 5 ER. Fuggedaboudit. Not on my team.

    1. MJ. Between opening day and May 8th, the Dodgers play the Giants 10 times and the D-Backs 12. We have 4 game series against both. The Giants from March 29th to April 1st and the D-Backs from April 30th to May 3rd. The Giant series is in LA, the D-Backs series is in Phoenix. 7 of those 12 games are in Phoenix. 6 of the 10 against the Giants are in SF. They play 9 games against the Padres before the end of May and only 6 against the Rockies by June 3rd. 6 of the games against the Padres are in SD and all before the Padres come to LA. Plus the 3 they play on the road against Colorado, they have 22 games against division opponents on the road by June. That makes 35 games in the division by June and more than half of that against their 2 biggest rivals. They will have finished half their work against AZ and SF by June and then they play the Giants 3 games starting the 15th of June.

      1. Thanks Michael!

        I looked at the schedule and it looks like Ryu’s first start will be in Arizona, unless Stripling makes that start.

        Maeda, Hill, and Ryu didn’t have very good starts in Arizona last year.

        And they don’t even make Hill start in Colorado at all.

        1. I did make one error on there. 3 of those road games against the Padres are in Mexico. But they count as home games for the Pads. Dodgers lose 2 now 11-13 in spring Padres are 11-9..Ryu would be scheduled to open in AZ. Hill is the #4 starter with Maeda #3 and Wood #2. I am not too worried about RYU. His stuff has been good and that home plate ump was squeezing the zone the other day. He will be ready. Main thing for him will be keeping the ball in the park. I also do not think they are going to tinker too much with the starting pitching early on. Ryu was worse in Colorado than anywhere else..he got hammered there.

    1. I think we will need everybody.

      And that includes Stripling at #5-6.

      Heading to Scottsdale with a giant fan buddy. He bought tickets, so, I’m in. Anticipating viewing the new look midgets. I’ve got them in contention with Cards and dbacks for a Wild Card.

      1. MJ
        Let’s hope Kersh eases up on giving up HRS this year. That is the only part of his game that worries me. I am ready for the REGULAR season to start!!!!

  4. Well, I don’t know about anybody else but I am sick of Spring Training. It is entirely too long. Maybe they should use some of this time for regular season games and let the season end before October. We keep seeing games that mean nothing and are a waste of time other than seeing a few rookies which to me, gets old. Really, is it stale or just me??

    1. It is just you old buddy. The season is starting early this year. It usually starts in April around the 6th, so they are starting a week early. You need those 30 games to get the starting pitchers ready because they rarely go 5 in spring. In the old days, the last start they would try to go 7. They also wait until the last day to make final roster decisions. Right now the biggest decisions the Dodgers need to make is the make up of the bullpen. Most of the roster is set. if they go with 8 relievers, the position jobs are pretty well set. It was reported yesterday that they are actively trying to trade Trayce Thompson rather than lose him because he has no options left and if he is put on waivers, he will never clear them. Last 2 or 3 bullpen spots to be decided, and really one outfield slot. Kemp is on the team……..Toles and Pederson are the lefty LF options…Joc is toast..

    2. Package

      That is exactly what most of the players say about spring training.

      HRs, especially With Fields, was on my mind this morning, because they were showing some glimpses of the post season last year, including the two HRs Fields gave up.

      He looked like a batting practice pitcher, with the way the Astros hit those two HRs off him.

      I always want Kershaw to do well, but HRs are up in the majors, some say it is because the ball.

      I always get nervous when Kershaw is facing Bumgarner up at the plate, because Bumgarner is always swinging for a HR, and sometimes he gets lucky.

    3. Package

      I am ready for the season to start too!

      I want to see how much difference Kemp’s bat, will make with this team, he is not only good protection for Cody, Kemp is also a good hitter, that will lengthen our line up.

      1. MJ
        Kemp’s bat should make a big difference. Sadly, I think Pederson and Thompson are history. Toles will make a difference also.

  5. FanGraphs has their catcher rankings out. Based on WAR.

    We are number 5, and FanGraphs rightly notes we’d still be top 10 even if we lose our best catcher.

    Which brings me back again to trading Grandal. Among the bottom feeders at catcher are the Orioles, the Angels and the Phillies (who just signed Arriens). Surely we can do a trade with them and package Grandal with Trayce Thompson and Font?

    1. McCullough wrote that they tried, at various times with undefined tenacity, to move Grandal, but didn’t find a good deal.

      1. Bluto,
        Don’t need a good deal, just getting rid of him would be a real plus for the Dodgers. Nothing but a drughead.

        1. That’s perhaps a bottom ten modus operandi for a front office.

          He’s a top ten catcher, not a drug-head. Don’t say moronic things.

    2. YF
      I am with you. Grandal wasn’t worth anything when we traded Kemp for him. I promised a real celebration when he leaves and I will deliver.

    3. I am with you. Trade Grandal for a bag of used balls. Farmer is hitting better than he or Barnes this spring and has looked good behind the dish. The kids in the minors are pretty good too. I felt that FAZ over rated Granny ground out from the day they traded for him. He still cannot block pitches in the dirt 3 years after the trade.

    4. I think we can get more for Grandal than a bucket of used balls. Remember Zach Britton is on the Orioles (ie a team in the bottom for catching) and recovering from his offseason Achilles injury. Due back in June, just in time the hevtraded as this is Britton’s walk year and the Orioles can’t afford him. We can package a deal for them around Grandal, Rios and 1-2 low level young arms. We gain by having Barnes and Farmer at catcher, even if Britton can’t make it all the way back to where he was (I wouldn’t bet against Britton, as he’s a ground all pitcher and not only is Dodgers Stadium great for groundball pitchers we have one of the best defensive infield’s in the league, if not the best). Britton and Alexander in the bullpen, with our strikeout arms in Kenley and Cingrani, and our parade of middle inning power fastball – slider flyball pitchers, would be my dream come true.

      And the Orioles may go for Grandal as there is no chance Grandal is going to be worth a QO. He’s either going to be resigned at a decent price or just let him walk.

  6. YF

    I believe the Angels have a very good defensive catcher.

    I read in the LA Times today, that the shortstop the A’s are starting today, was playing shortstop at Parker High School, in San Diego, last year, at this time.

  7. Gammons on the NL West on (in?) the Athletic. It’s a pay model, so I won’t post much of it, but:

    1. He writes the WS hinged on Kenley’s long game 2 stint and the Gonzalez HR.
    2. Sabean is amazed with the Dodgers recent dominance over the division.
    3. Tells people not to snicker at Kemp with an anecdote.
    4. Says “There are right-handed bullpen questions to be answered, but Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi love compiling depth. They will try to open the season with at least 10 bullpen options in Majors and Minors….

  8. There was a story on about the 10 best 1-2 starting pitchers in the majors. The Dodgers with Kershaw-Wood were #10. Giants were #11. D-Backs were #7 with Greinke-Ray. Looks like Greinke will not be ready by opening day.

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