Westward Ho? - is a Move West Planned?

Anonymous whispers continue that the Dodgers will move their spring training operations to Arizona in the next five years or so, although no one will officially talk about it. The team's lease runs though the 2021 season but rumors have it there is an exit clause that allows the Dodgers to leave if another team agrees to move into Vero Beach.

With the club's 60th anniversary coming up in 2007, ageing Brooklyn Dodger fans drifting down the coast to follow their Bums are becoming fewer and fewer. And the recent misadventures of their Los Angeles cousins hasn't as yet sparked a nation-wide mania.

The Dodgers don't average 4,500 for spring training games and haven't over the past five seasons, giving the impression to many that the Dodgers are not all that appreciated in Vero Beach as is also indicated by the games involving the Vero Beach Dodgers in the Florida State League that even out at something around 1,000 per game.

A move closer to Los Angeles would certainly draw a large number of Southern California Dodger fans to some Arizona site where attendance is mostly higher but they will find that when you purchase an $18.00 ticket and find you are watching a lineup of people you have never heard of, you think twice about making a season ticket investment.

Hotel rooms and other rental prices are jacked up during during March, making it too expensive to stay around long enough to see a number of games and the fact that it is nearly impossible to move east and west in the state keep the clubs scheduling the same local teams for multiple games.

However, many of the same problems exist in Arizona and if the move is made it won't be for better facilities, or better attendance or any other thing. It will be for the convenience of the front office personnel, other club employees and the media, all of whom deplore the lengthy absence from home.

Commercial air transportation to Vero Beach is difficult and costly, with major air connections only available at Orlando to the North and West Palm Beach in the South.

If the move does happen, it will have eliminated the last bastion of spring training innocence, and commercialism has nearly completed it's sweep through professional baseball.

Dodgertown has changed since Peter O'Malley and his sister Terry Seidler sold the club. But it is still superb and remarkably unique, magically conjuring up memories of when Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax worked into shape on the grass of Fields #1 and #2.

All in all, it allows more access to players than any other site in a sporting world that continues grind ever closer to the mantra, "Give me your money; don't expect something back."

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