Cubs to Dodgertown? Wait a Minute--That Was My Harebrained Idea!

Last week, Arizona Phil offered a thoughtful, reasoned analysis of the Cubs' threats to vacate their spring training home in Mesa, absent major improvements at Fitch Park. In the meantime, with in-laws living in Vero Beach and no baseball to watch out at Dodgertown during my family's annual spring visit to Florida, I have been thinking about what a swell replacement the tradition-rich Cubs would be for the tradition-rich Dodgers, who began training in Vero way back in 1949. The Dodgers are currently enjoying their first spring training out west, at the Camelback Ranch complex in Arizona Phil territory.

Author Charles Fountain, who recently wrote a book about the history of Major League spring training, took up the Cubs to Vero Beach question in a column published in a local paper on Friday. He writes that the notion of the Cubs moving into Dodgertown is beyond a longshot. Beyond even a long, long, longshot.

Getting any team to come to Vero Beach is going to involve a lot of
public money. Dodgertown, or whatever we’ll call it in the years to
come, needs work. The county-built clubhouse, the fields and ancillary
practice facilities, the conference center and the other amenities are
all fine. But quaint, charming, historic Holman Stadium is not. While
romantic fans and poets may find it irresistible, it is not going to
attract a 21st century major-league baseball team without millions in
improvements. It needs a second deck, with private suites, premium
seating and a modern press box. It needs a widened concourse, all the
way around, including the berm. And it’s going to need roofs on the
dugouts, and bathrooms inside them, before any big leaguer sits on
those benches again.

Quaint, charming, historic, a magnet to romantics and poets. In need of millions of dollars in improvements, including more luxury seating and a wider concourse. Sounds to me like the perfect spring training headquarters for a team that calls Wrigley Field home.

Comments

I'm certain that Indian River County (FL) would be willing to invest just about whatever it would take to upgrade Dodgertown for a new team, particularly a team as popular as the Cubs.

Florida lawmakers are concerned about the recent moves of teams from Florida to Arizona and I believe they would be willing to kick in some money as well. Even so, I have a hard time believing that the Cubs would leave Arizona in favor of Florida. I don't know enough about the dynamics in Arizona to know how far they would go to keep the Cubs, but it's hard to believe they would let the team leave without making a big push to keep them.

My grandma lives in Vero and though I miss the Dodgers in town for Spring Training, I can't even imagine the Cubs coming there - definately in my wildest dreams category. My life would take a solid step toward being more complete. I better stop thinking about it! :)

although I haven't been there yet, I would certainly prefer the Cubs to stay on the West Coast for spring training.

that being said, my impression is that more Chicagoans prefer to vacation in Florida over Arizona and California, so this would probably be better for the Cubs. The Grapefruit League would sure be thrilled w/ Yanks, Red Sox and Cubs all there.

Also with the Florida economy being so dependent on tourism (they are on of a handful of states with no state income taxes because they have so much tourodollars) that this recent drain of teams (Dodgers, Indians, Reds) and with the Cactus League trying to pull even more in, I imagine the Astros will be likely candidate, this has to hurt them more than most states losing tourism dollars. The Cubs would likely make back the revenue from the Ohio Teams. Also with the new ownership likely to push for a Cub Channel and I am sure it would be easier for them to sell ads during Spring training telecasts agnaist the Red Sox, Yanks, Cards, Mets and Phils than agnaist any Cactus league team that isnt the White Sox.

I should also add that every other team in the Cactus League should pony up any money to Mesa or another city if they're smart. W/o the Cubs, the only other major draw is the Dodgers in Arizona and I'm sure those teams like the sellouts.

I don't think no state tax is because of "tourodollars". The states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Tenn and New Hampshire only tax dividend and interest income. Now, maybe the reasons Florida and Nevada do it is because of tourism, but there's plenty of other reasons to do it as well.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • "Like the Chapman deal for Cubs from on-field POV, wish I didn't now have to feel lousy following an otherwise likable Cubs team." @jonahkeri

    pretty much sums up my feelings

    Rob G. 5 hours 15 min ago view
  • You mean Yankees?

    QuietMan 5 hours 19 min ago view
  • Cards lose!

    billybucks 5 hours 26 min ago view
  • You do have a point. The TheoJed certainly would need to address this in a transparent way. Milton Bradley was no help to the team.

    The E-Man 5 hours 38 min ago view
  • FWIW, the Cubs would get a compensation draft pick between the 1st & 2nd rounds (around #35) if they extend a Qualifying Offer to Chapman post-2016 (probably about $17M), Chapman declines, and then he signs with another MLB club before next year's draft. 

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 44 min ago view
  • This all assumes Chapman doesn't want to be a free agent and possibly sign a $20MM+/year deal. We all know free agents get overpaid, sometimes dramatically (Hello, JayHey!). Not sure why Chapman would agree to the extension. If i'm is agent, I would tell him I could get I'm a $100M deal as a FA.

    billybucks 5 hours 51 min ago view
  • I'll root for the uniform and imagine it's left-handed Rod Beck or Randy Myers out there I suppose.

    Rob G. 6 hours 15 min ago view
  • Amen to this. I guess it's gonna happen and I'm gonna have to suck it up but I really despise domestic abusers with every bone in my body and cannot stand them on any team I root for.

    johann 6 hours 24 min ago view
  • I just prefer they don't  acquire players that choke their wives/girlfriends.

    Rob G. 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • So you'd rather go with Blown Save guy, when you can trade a prospect who is blocked for one piece that could get you over the top to the Big Dance? That is pretty old thinking. This is not a move that they cannot recover from if it goes south. But the upside is potentially historic.

    The E-Man 6 hours 36 min ago view
  • I'd prefer it not happen too.

    Rob G. 7 hours 3 min ago view
  • it's a hell of a blockbuster, but it's for a guy who pitches 1/3rd of a season at an extreme premium considering the guy being traded and if the early extension $$$ rumors are true.

    it's one of those things that is bringing a guy at the top his game, but something is nagging me that this trade piece could have been put to better use.

    a huge part of me is all "hell yeah, top of the line producer"...another part of me is "hmm, that for that?"

    crunch 7 hours 7 min ago view
  • Still don't want. Kinda hope they can't work out the extension.

    Charlie 7 hours 18 min ago view
  • obviously not, and I'm sure they did their homework...just hope they have some better answers than the Yankees

    Rob G. 7 hours 18 min ago view
  • Chapman 12+ Career WAR. Currently 4.7:1 k-BB. With Rondon/Chapman/Strop/Nathan/Montgomery/Wood...Its the best pen I can recall other than Sutter or Lee Smith handling things themselves.

    Its gonna suck if he gets injured, and it appears he's not the greatest of characters.

    But, he'll have another Cuban to hang out with on the team.

    The E-Man 7 hours 40 min ago view
  • I agree with the names you mention but there are lots of names being tossed around still and there's that small matter of Chapman agreeing to the extension.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 46 min ago view