Thursday, March 03, 2011

Private Tour Of Historic Dodgertown (Part 1)

Every time we come to spring training for Our Washington Nationals, we have Sohna Days where The African Queen picks what we do during our trips to Florida. Visiting a friend in Vero Beach, Florida today, Sohna completely surprised me when she was able to put together a private tour of Historic Dodgertown--the 60 year spring home of the Brooklyn & Los Angeles Dodgers. Abandoned by The Dodgers in March of 2008 when the team moved their spring headquarters to Chandler, Arizona--Minor League Baseball reached a deal with the City of Vero Beach and Indian River County in 2010 to take over the legendary training facility to use as a vehicle to promote amateur tournaments, umpiring clinics and softball while considering opening up the vast playing fields for football, soccer and lacrosse.

Original Dodgertown Sign Now In Storage

Original Holman Stadium Sign Now In Storage
The only problem is that The Los Angeles Dodgers retained the name "Dodgertown" and will not allow Vero Beach to use the famous name to promote the 65 acre campus.  In the near future, the area surrounding Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine in L.A. will be named "Dodgertown". As a result, Holman Stadium, the six baseball diamonds, the training facilities, living accommodations and executive offices in Florida have been renamed The Vero Beach Sports Village. In fact, the only original Dodger logos still intact and in original form are the marble "Dodgertown Winter Home" marker located at the entrance to the living quarters at the corner of Tommy Lasorda Drive & Jackie Robinson Avenue-- and the "L.A. Dodgers" name engraved into the metal entrance gates to Holman Stadium.
All other logo references have been stripped and repainted basic blue in color.

Our tour lasted two hours, there were virtually no restrictions. There are 92 living quarters, six playing fields, two separate batting cage facilities under cover and lighted, two separate sections of group bullpen mounds and, of course, the old Dodgers Executive Offices. Also there is a pool, tennis and basketball courts, sand volleyball court, shuffleboard area, four conference rooms, a dining facility, a player/family/team official lounge with bar & pool tables--and a Dodger Hall Of Fame consisting of historical photos.
The only part of Dodgertown not in existence anymore is the original golf course--recently land swapped back to Indian River County and the City Of Vero Beach so MiLB could revamp and build softballs fields on what were once the fan car parking lots for Dodgertown.

Despite not being a full time facility anymore as MiLB works out the details of its stewardship, the practice fields, training areas and even the Holman Stadium diamond are still in pretty excellent shape. Every single baseball field still held up to Major League standards. During our visit today, The Italian National Team had just arrived to train for their European season and the Canadian Junior National Team was working out on another half of the very large grounds.

We are still sorting through all of the nearly 300 photos taken today and will break the facility down in  additional posts. The first being the living area for players, their families and team officials. It's pretty impressive how The Dodgers housed virtually their entire organization in one location. A city within a city. Then Nats320 will take a look at the practice facilities.
And finally, there will be a tour of Holman Stadium.

Much more coming on our special visit to Vero Beach and Dodgertown over the next few days here on Nats320.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved--unless noted


Mark Potts said...

Thanks for this. Holman Stadium is the single prettiest ballpark I've ever seen. A perfect little jewel, with incredible access to players, etc. Until a few years ago, it didn't even have an outfield fence. There were just a few palm trees, evenly space along the warning track, with horizontal yellow lines painted a few feet up the trunks. Fantastic!

Farid Rushdi said...


I lived in West Plam Beach in the 1980's and watched many games at Holman Stadium.

As I recall (and If I was there in the '80's my recollection is questionable), their was no fence during spring training games but the Gulf Coast League (Class-A) required one and after the big boys went north (well, west), the fence was erected.