Dodgers' Move from Vero May Not Be Costly

It's a virtual certainty, if not now then soon, that the Dodgers will move from their long-time training base in Vero Beach to the Phoenix area. Dodgers officials have reached a memorandum of understanding with Glendale, Arizona, officials to relocate there by 2009. Both Indian River county and team officials said that the move is not yet a done deal.

The terms of the Dodgers' contract calls for them to pay off the remainder of the bond issue that renovated Dodgertown, with some $16 million left on the books.

However, Indian River County commissioners agreed to keep "all their options open" in dealing with the team's likely departure -- including the possibility of allowing the Dodgers to leave without paying off the bonds.

If and when the bonds were paid, the Dodgers would own the complex and thus be free, if they chose, to convert it into multi-family homes or for another commercial or industrial use.

In order to protect it from possibly being sold and redeveloped, the commissioners have suggested the county attempt to negotiate a new clause into the contract that would allow the team to leave and let the county continue to pay off the bonds.

The move would allow the addition of another major league team in the complex and would not cost the taxpayers any more than it does now.

Dodgers Vice President Craig Callan told the county commission the team has considered Vero Beach home for more than 50 years and if the move goes through, it wants to leave on good terms. It does not want to have to "buy and flip" Dodgertown, he said.

"It makes sense business wise to be on the West Coast," he said. "We want a graceful exit in the event we leave. We have lots of history, lots of relationships here."