November 29, 2014

2009 Bobbleheads: Manny, Blake and…Beimel?

Loyal Dodgerfan Readers – Sorry for the delay in posts…a new job for Chris and family obligations from Alex have kept us away, but we’re back, baby and we’re thrilled to have Manny with us.  The Dodgerfan guys are heading to Spring Training in two weeks, and look forward to sharing our perspective on “The Ranch.”

In the meantime, the Dpdgers have announced that Manny and Casey Blake will be the first two bobbleheads of the season.  According to the official press release, “a third bobblehead will depict a player to be named later.”  Joe Beimel anyone?  Yeah, he’s not on the team right now, but the way the Dodgers’ situational lefties are pitching, Ned may have to bite the bulletand go get Joe.  The guy was money for the Blue last year, with a 5-1 record, a 2.02 ERA, 32 Ks and 21 walks over 49 innings.  You can afford Beimel, Ned.  Plus you KNOW the fans would rejoice with voting Joe back in as the fan-favorite for the third bobblehead.

Let’s join Joe’s #1 fan, Troy from West Virginia in saying BRING BACK BEIMEL!

Torre Should Tap Tiger Woods for Motivational Speech

So since Spring Training is all about getting the guys mentally as well as physically prepared for the upcoming season, right?  Well, if I was Joe Torre, I’d tap Tiger Woods, one of the most famous Dodger fans out there, to come on over to Glendale, tour Camelback Ranch and fire up the troops!

Come on, the guy came back early from a devastating knee injury and just competed in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championships in nearby Marana, AZ (well, it’s about 100 miles away).  Since Tiger was eliminated yesterday, he clearly has some unexpected free time on his hands and I’m sure he would love a trip to sunny Glendale to see the new digs (Josh Rawitch, just think about the positive PR this would generate for the team!).

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really getting tired of the Manny Ramirez tug of war going on and I’ll take whatever sort of distraction I can get these days!

Dodgertown Becomes Forgotten Ghost Town as Spring Training Begins

As the Dodgers ramp up Spring Training meetings and the focus for all things Dodgers shifts to Glendale, Arizona (home of the new $80 million facility that the Dodgers and White Sox share), some members of the Dodger organization were reminiscing about Dodgertown and Vero Beach.

In particular, Billy DeLury admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he missed the team’s old Florida home. “You’ve got to,” he said. “I spent 45 years in Vero Beach but it’s over with now. You have to turn the page.”

Torre was more forward-focused as he cited the short distance betweeen the facilities in the Cactus League and the opportunity to spend less time travelling and more time on the field.

Cheers to The Canadian Press for doing a story on the forgotten Dodgertown – a piece that was really sobering particularly given the tough economic climate in this country.

Not only did 100 people lose their jobs when the Dodgers switched locations, but a small town that had relied on baseball tourism as a revenue source is feeling the pinch. There’s no revenue coming in from baseball-related activities and the county estimates it is paying $102,000 per month to keep up the facility. “Keeping up” is a relative term, however, as the description by the Canadian Press so vividly shows:

The heart-shaped lake, which late owner Walter O’Malley had constructed so he could “see his heart” when he flew over, is filled with algae. The Dodgertown golf course, originally constructed in part for black players who were barred from playing in town, has been closed for years. Its grass is brown and patchy. The 11 mph speed limit now means nothing, because no cars drive through the padlocked fences.

The town is so intertwined with Dodger baseball that the local elementary school is named Dodgertown. Johnathan Broxton was on the cover of the phone book in Vero Beach last year. More startling, the county and city are saddled with paying off the majority of a $17 million bond that was approved in 2001 to upgrade facilities and ensure the Dodgers stayed in Vero Beach. In a cruel twist of fate, roughly 1/2 of the bond is designed to be paid off with tourist and sales taxes – two sources that have dried up considerably once the Dodgers left town.

I’m all for supporting Camelback Ranch and the future of the Dodgers (I live in Scottsdale and will get to see lots of spring training games now) but turning a blind eye to the history (and questions about the future) of Dodgertown just doesn’t feel right to me. Here’s hoping Vero Beach and Dodgertown get a new life and a new name soon.

Lasorda Takes The Bus To Spring Training in Arizona

dodger_trolleyTommy Lasorda has decided to take the old-school route to spring training, hopping a tour bus from Dodger Stadium to the Dodgers’ new Spring Training home, Camelback Ranch – Glendale.

There are just two stops on the itinerary – a 76 station for gas and a Carl’s Jr. for lunch. Product placement and sponsors are cheering the event (obviously).

What is unknown is how the Dodgers front office will keep Lasorda away from such cardiac nightmares as the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger that reside on the Carls Jr. menu. Also unknown is whether Mrs. Lasorda has been invited with promises of a “steak dinner” (hope Tommy has seen how that story turns out in the recent ads).