Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced today that they have completed all the arrangements for playing Spring Training in Glendale, AZ next year, thus completing the final aspect of moving the Dodgers from their longtime home of Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL.
“This is the culmination of a long journey designed to give Dodgers fans a shorter journey," said McCourt. “Since the start of this process, we sought to bring the Dodgers closer to the people of Los Angeles. They have supported this team for 50 years on the West Coast, and while we loved our spring home on the East Coast, we know that over the next 50 years, far more fans of the Dodgers can enjoy Spring Training if the trip is five hours by car instead of five hours by plane."
The new Spring Training complex in Glendale will be shared with the Chicago White Sox, and includes everything from retail development to an 18-hole golf course. Between the complex’s location and size, it reaches across both Glendale and Phoenix city borders.
The Dodgers spent 60 years in Dodgertown, a now historic location for the Dodgers and baseball.
“We have notified Indian River County and the City of Vero Beach that we will not exercise the option to remain in Vero Beach until 2021,” McCourt said. That option would have expired on March 31, 2008. “While we are confident at this point that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will be able to conduct spring training in Glendale in 2009, we have until July 15 to make that determination.”
Earlier this month, the McCourt said that some aspects of Dodgertown would be coming to the new Glendale, AZ (read Dodgers Plan to Move Dodgertown to Arizona).
“As is the case whenever a family moves out of the neighborhood, we are filled with mixed emotions," said Dodger President Jamie McCourt. "The Dodgers established some deep friendships in Florida, and they will endure. And just as a family experiences in such a move, there are new friends to be made in our new neighborhood.
"The key to this move, however, is the obvious proximity to our fan base. Spring Training provides one of the best opportunities for an intimate look at baseball. You can walk up to players, see what they look like, and get an autograph to commemorate the meeting. When an eight-year-old has that experience, her or his eyes are as wide as the player is tall. It's a great way to help children fall in love with baseball, and through the years, they are forever grateful to the family members who made that life-changing moment possible.
"As soon as the Dodgers landed in Phoenix, families wearing Dodger Blue were waiting. It was a daily unofficial welcoming committee. We can't wait till next spring, and in the meantime, we get to enjoy a full baseball season, wire to wire."
Source: Press Release – Los Angeles Dodgers
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