The sad demise of Dodgertown continues
This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.
Frank McCourt’s legacy is forever cemented. No matter what happens from here on out, he’ll always be the man who took the Dodgers into bankruptcy.
His list of controversial decisions is long and labyrinthine, but one of his earliest was deciding to move the Dodgers out of their historic spring training home in Vero Beach, Fla., to become just another team in Phoenix.
Not just move out, but take the name Dodgertown with him. After 61 years, he refused to allow Dodgertown to be called Dodgertown.
Indian River County has been trying to make a go of the deserted complex for the last three years. It’s plan to lease it to Minor League Baseball and rename it the ‘Vero Beach Sports Village’ was supposed to be the answer. Alas, that now seems doomed.
Columnist Ray McNulty of the Treasure Coast Newspapers reports that MiLB is currently mired in a silly financial dispute with the county and is ready to bail on a failed experiment.
McCourt stuck the county with a white elephant, and there is no pleasant solution in sight. Dodgertown is quickly becoming a memory. Wrote McNulty, a former Dodgers beat writer for the Orange County Register:
‘Truth is, other than not wanting to see their tax dollars wasted, nobody here really cares anymore. Dodgertown died when the Dodgers left. So did any good reason to go there.
‘Without spring training, the complex is nothing more than a publicly owned, privately operated, pay-to-play park that local residents can’t use.’
You’ll be stunned to know that McNulty is no fan of McCourt -- calling him soulless. The spurned can be that way, but it’s a growing legion.
The charm and uniqueness of Dodgertown was lost on McCourt. But as it turned out, so were the Dodgers.
-- Steve Dilbeck