Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Original Dodgertown Continues to Live On as the Vero Beach Sports Village

I'll be honest with ya... I really miss Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida.  Sure, it was several thousand miles across the country, but I didn't care.  The handful of times I had a chance to go there made me feel like I was on a real vacation - going to some far off land totally foreign to me, as if another country.  It was like a quaint little backyard park that reminded you of the simplicity of the game, and I loved it.  The main field was no better than a high school ballpark with only a waist-level chain linked fence separating the fans from the players.  The access we had to the players was incredible, and the ambiance of the place gave it a homey feel.

I will forever miss the former Dodgers Spring home.  Fortunately, the Dodgers leaving town did not mean that it would disappear and become only a memory.  Old Dodgertown still exist, albeit renamed and refocused towards something new.

A year after the Dodgers left Vero Beach, Minor League Baseball reactivated the complex and renamed it the Vero Beach Sports Village. It had minor league ball, various tournaments and an umpire school.  Still, it struggled to survive.  Then in 2012, former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley came in with some partners to save the site from potentially closing for a second time.

After a year of heightened activity and seemingly good business, O'Malley has just signed a new long-term renewal of the facility lease agreement with Indian River County for a period of 5 years, ending in 2019.  Per a press release from the Vero Beach Sports Village:
“We greatly appreciate the confidence of the County Commissioners in our vision,” said O’Malley, whose family has been affiliated with Dodgertown since it first opened in 1948. “We also thank Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner for stepping up to reactivate the property in May 2009.   Prior to Pat’s accepting the responsibility of Dodgertown, its future was not bright.”

Joe Flescher, County Commission Chairman said, “ Vero Beach Sports Village has been a great asset to our entire community and we are grateful for the efforts of Peter O’Malley and his partners to maintain a strong business presence at the former Dodgertown property. This renewal of the agreement provides a solid foundation for a strong relationship for years to come.”
Vero Beach Sports Village Vice President Craig Callan said: “We are grateful to the County that we reached a mutually beneficial accord that has a long-term view.  This means that we will continue to have a significant economic impact in Indian River County and in Vero Beach . Our site is steeped in tradition and our plan is to grow the business, which will further benefit the community.” 
Go here to the sites website to see what they offer.  It looks like it's working on becoming a go to place for all things sports.  There is high school and college baseball and softball camps, an adult baseball camp, umpire camp, and camps for swimming, soccer, lacrosse and football.

One of these days I am going to go by there, just for the heck of it.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A LA Kings Artist Rendering of the Ice Surface at Dodger Stadium

Before I start, let me say that I disavow the somewhat dour tone I expressed in my previous post regarding the Kings game last night.  I was truly worried that the Kings had run out of gas after seeing them lose so badly in Chicago.  But now, after witnessing a total reversal last night, I take that back.  The Kings are fine, and look like the team I've come to love.  I'll also add that Coach Sutter is a genius.  He decided to mix up the forward lines by placing their top-line center (Kopitar) on the 3rd line.  This had the effect of spreading out our talent and forcing the Blackhawks to defend.  It thinned out their defense and created more space for the Kings forwards to work with.  As a result, the Kings won in convincing fashion.  No... They won in GRITTY fashion.

OK.  Now that that's over with, at the game last night I came across a graphic artist rendering of what the ice surface could look like at Dodger Stadium.  In fact, it says right on the bottom that it is not the actual model, but it certainly would present one of the ideas the league has tossed around.  See a pic below.

As you can see, it totally sucks!  Really.  It's horrible.

First of all, someone forgot to tell the artist that Dodger Stadium recently had a facelift, so those outfield screens no longer look like that.  It's so 2012.

Secondly, is that sand on the field?  Come on, now! 

This is hockey, and the last thing a hockey fan wants to see is sand.

Heck, can you imagine if a gust of wind came along and blew some of that sand on the ice?  It would be a nightmare.

And what the heck is are those things in the outfield?  Are those sand volleyball courts?  Volleyball! 


No... that is unacceptable.

Of course, if this means that scantily clad ladies will be roaming the field and stadium, then maybe a compromise can be made.

For more information on this event go here.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 6/5/2013 - Dodgers Links - All Puig, All the Time

“Que viva Cuba, viva Puig!” -Vin Scully.  Pic via Dodgers tumblr.  Wow!  Really?  Can Puig be this good?
  • Via Lyle Spencer at, "For super scout, just another manic discovery: Dodgers' Brito, responsible for Fernandomania, sees his latest find, Puig, shine in debut."
"Puig is the 32nd player I signed to make it to the big leagues in my 34 years in the organization," (Mike) Brito said. "It's a great feeling."

Known for his white Panama hat and the radar gun he held behind home plate at Dodger Stadium before readings became commonplace, Brito watched the Dodgers' right fielder deliver a Major League debut of cinematic proportions on Monday night. It had everything but a baseball off Puig's bat exploding the scoreboard.
Puig is:
* 2nd player in major-league history to have a two-homer, five-RBI game within the first two games of his career (Dino Restelli, 1949 Pittsburgh Pirates).
* 1st Dodgers player to have a multi-HR game within the first two games of his major-league career.
* 2nd Dodgers player ever to have a two-homer, five-RBI game from the leadoff spot (Tommy Brown, 1950).
  • With Puig's sudden rise to prominence, let the trade rumors begin.  Check out this funny meme-style pic sent out by parody twitterer @NotYasielPuig.
(twitter link)
"Any time something like that happens to your arm or you start losing feeling and stuff ... you think about it for sure," Beckett said. "I don't really want to think like that right now. I want to think about figuring out a way to deal with this."
(twitter link)
  • Unfortunately, Vin Scully will not be going to the games at Yankee Stadium, via Bill Shaikin at the LA Times.
  • If you haven't already heard, up to 20 suspensions are coming for PED's; including Ryan Braun, via ESPN.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2013 Topps Archives - The Dodgers Inserts

Here is a look at the Dodgers insert cards within the 2013 Topps Archives Baseball card set.  As you can see, Davey Lopes is featured in the Fan Favorites Autograph subset.  There are also 3 different Clayton Kershaw autographed cards, but redemptions were placed in packs.  So, unfortunately we can't see them.  There is also a Kershaw retail chase card available, but I have yet to see one online.  Check out the Dodgers' cards below.

Mini Tall Boys

#MT-CK Clayton Kershaw

1972 Basketball Designs

#72B-MK Matt Kemp

Gallery of Heroes

#GH-JR Jackie Robinson                      #GH-SK Sandy Koufax

1983 All-Stars

#83-PG Pedro Guerrero

1969 4 in 1 Stickers

#69S-SKCK                                           #69S-THBK

Fan Favorites Autographs

#FFA-DL Dave Lopes

Relic Cards

#60R-AE Andre Ethier

#60R-HR Hanley Ramirez 

1971 Topps Greatest Moments Box Toppers

#10 Kirk Gibson

UPDATE:  Take a look at the Topps Archives 1973 Mini Framed autographed card of Clayton Kershaw (#73M-CK) below.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *