Funding Officially OK'ed For Glendale Complex

As reported here earlier, the Dodgers' plan to move their spring training operations out of Florida took another step forward when funding was officially approved for the construction of a two-team facility in Glendale, Arizona.

The eight-member Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority board of directors voted unanimously to fund $50 million toward the cost of a proposed $76.8 million complex in Glendale. The new facility would house the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox beginning in 2009.

A memorandum of understanding between Glendale and the two Major League teams was struck on Nov. 11, beginning the process of moving the Dodgers from Vero Beach, Fla., and moving the White Sox to the Phoenix metropolitan area from Tucson.

Located west of the 101 Loop northwest of Phoenix, the property slated for the facility is a 400- to 500-acre parcel that would include a 120-acre training site. Shops, restaurants, a hotel and an 18-hole golf course would surround the baseball facility, with funding provided by a conglomerate of city, state and private-developer sources.

Each team would have two Major League and four Minor League practice fields, additional workout fields and a 42,000-square-foot clubhouse. The teams would share a 12,000-seat stadium with lawn seating for an additional 3,000.

The White Sox still have to find a replacement team to take up the remainder of their lease in Tucson, which runs through 2013.

Next, the board and the cities of Glendale and Phoenix will negotiate an intergovernmental agreement and the two teams will work with the cities on particulars of the agreement.

"This is one more step in the process," Dodgers spokesperson Camille Johnston said, "and there is more work to be done after the first of the year."

A report in the Vero Beach Press Journal recently indicated that the Baltimore Orioles have interest in taking over the Vero Beach facility if the Dodgers depart.

Vero Beach Mayor Tom White said the city would "absolutely" be interested in the Baltimore Orioles filling the vacancy.

"In fact, I have been told the Orioles have already been in contact in reference to them filling Dodgertown, so we are looking at that and other things.

"Things are not firmed up, and we still have to be careful because the Dodgers are still working on their deal in Arizona, but we are open to a major league team filling their spot and they (the Orioles) expressed interest."

This Day in Dodger History

Dec. 23, 1958 -- Dodgers trade minor league second baseman George Anderson to the Phillies for outfielder Rip Repulski and pitchers Gene Snyder and Jim Golden. Anderson had won a minor league gold glove but had a weak bat, a point he proved during the 1959 season in Philadelphia (.218-0-343). He never played another major league game but morphed into Sparky Anderson, who is now in the Hall of Fame as a manager. Repulski went .255-2-14 in 1959 and was 1-5 in 1960; Golden finished his Dodger career (1960-61) 2-1, 5.88; Snyder was 1-1. 5.54.

Dec. 23, 1976 -- Andy Messermith asked the Dodgers for a new conract with a no-trade clause and was rebuffed. His contract was renewed, as was the custom, and played out the season without actually signing a contract at at all. Following the season, Peter Seitz (chairman of MLNB's three-man arbitration committee), ruled that Messersmith, and Dave McNalley, were free agents and that baseball did not have the "perpetual right of renewal." The decision opened the gates for free agency and the resulting escallating free agent sigining bonuses and gigantic salaries. Seitz was fired for not coming in with a ruleing the owners wanted. In 1976 the minimum salary in the major league was $19,000 and the average salary $51,501, according to the Associated Press. 2006 minimum salary was $327,000 and $2,699.292 on average.

TJ to Manage Bridgeport-- Tommy John, who pitched brilliantly before an elbow injury that resulted in an operation named after him, will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League in 2007.

John, 63, pitched for seven teams, over 760 games and 4,710 innings and compiled 46 shutouts with a career ERA of 3.34. With the Dodgers he was 87-42 and 3-1 in postseason when he asked for a three year contract for $225,000 per. Turned down because of the injury, he went on to win another 201 games and 11 more postseason games.

Dodger fans wonder if the Eric Gagne saga will parallel the Tommy John story.

Hot Dog-- No, this is not a story about Terrell Owens, rather it seems that Dodger Stadium has been nominated by AOL CityGuide for its "City's Best Hot Dogs 2007" honor in Los Angeles. Dodger Stadium will now compete with a select group of nominees in an online poll to determine the winner.

The Dodger Dog has been a staple at Dodger Stadium since 1962. The Travel Channel named Dodger Stadium the world's best stadium for fine dining in 2004. In its most recent survey, the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council listed the Dodger Dog as number one in sales with 1.61 million per season.

Last year, more than 2.6 million votes were cast. If yoou are inclined to vote, you can log on to www.aolcityguide.com/losangeles/best through January 12, 2007. Winners will be announced in early 2007.

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