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.