NYT Says Nice Things About Vero Beach

The New York Times wrote a great piece on Vero Beach and its long history with the Dodgers in Monday's edition. Well worth going to their web site and reading it in their sports section.

.....The weather so far this week has been at or over 80 in Vero Beach for the pitchers and catchers, albeit with some gusts of winds. We remember one windy spring day when Orel Hershiser ventured his first change up to hulking first baseman Nick Esasky of the Braves. Esasky hit what probably was the longest home run ever hit in Bud Holman Stadium. Hershiser could only stand on the mound and laugh at himself.

..... New signee Nook Logan is Juan Pierre with a throwing arm. A four year big league vet, he could give backup outfielders Jason Repko and Dewlyn Young a run for their money in spring training. In two of his four years, he had 34 stolen bases.

..... One of our good buddies just had the rotator cuff surgery. With microsurgery and the small scar. We also remember when Frank Jobe and his Vero Beach doctors first tried that on Hershiser. Previously the surgery required an incision that was three feet long and ugly indeed. Here's a case where sports medicine has become part of regular medicine or for non athletes. Kind of like things learned from space flight coming in common usage by us mere mortals in a very short time.

..... Watching Roger Clemens before Congress also triggered thoughts about baseball commissioner Bud Selig pronouncing that he was not satisfied with baseball's testing program. Huh? Had the commissioner been serious before, that hearing maybe would never have taken place.

..... Four our part, there were too many Dodgers and ex Dodgers implicated already so we were glad that both Paul Loduca and Eric Gagne manfully stood up lately and apologized to the world at large for what they had done.

..... One wonders if the wholesale changeover in the Dodgers trainers department and the arrival of Stan Conte, who over the winter established his firm credentials as being anti drugs, had anything to do with the changes.

..... Did you notice the Dodgers would leave none other than Tommy Lasorda as "manager" of the team left behind after half the squad and Joe Torre head for China. Lasorda gets the honor of turning out the lights on the Dodgers long Florida history, having seen it all or just about all of it. Tommy is older than the pope and there haven't been any young popes.

..... With newspapers cutting back everyplace, the cutbacks have to be felt in the sports departments as well. The Scripps Howard chain in Vero Beach didnt even bother to cover the Vero Beach Dodgers in their last few years. And the press contingent to China probably has an open seat or two.

..... Another thing you dont see much of anymore in Vero Beach are Florida's once famous orange groves. NAFTA put a nail in the coffin of Florida's citrus industry (NAFTA made South America citrus lots cheaper than the home grown variety) and many of the old groves became sites for, ugh, more housing developments.

..... Many of Don Zimmer's kids and family loved surfing in the Atlantic. Dodgers kids of the future wont be doing that in Arizona. Many baseball people over the decades also loved deep sea and ocean fishing including at the famous Sebastian Inlet. We once took all the sportswriters, an umpire or two (now retired Bruce Froemming was one) and others on a boat trip topped off with a water view of a space liftoff at nearby Cape Canaveral. You cant do that in Arizona either.

..... Some of us remember in 1988 spring training when Kirk Gibson chased Jesse Orasco all over Dodgertown for putting bootblack on Gibson's baseball cap. It was the fastest Orasco ever ran. Gibson would have hurt him had he caught him.