Baseball returns to Dodgertown starting in late December

VERO BEACH — A baseball-filled winter starts in late December at Dodgertown with a travel team coming to town, marking the first live competition at Holman Stadium since 2008 when the Dodgers left for Arizona and the Devil Rays moved their minor league team elsewhere.

Nancy Gollnick, Assistant to the Vice President of Minor League Baseball, says that plans are in motion to ensure that Dodgertown hosts a steady stream of baseball through the spring.  “Starting December 27, we have an 18-and-under travel baseball team coming in to town,” said Gollnick.  “They will play several local teams, and will be here through January 1.  We have lots of other things scheduled, and other things aren’t yet concrete.”

One team that it appears won’t be coming to Dodgertown is the Chicago Cubs, whose new owner is said to be considering a new spring training home for the team.  

 “MiLB has contacted the Cubs, but there has been no response,” said Gollnick, who added she can’t see the team leaving its Mesa, Ariz., spring home.  “There’s such a huge fan base in the Phoenix market, and they draw some great crowds there.  Nobody draws like the Cubs in Arizona.”

The Cubs set a Cactus League attendance record last year. Some 203,105 came to their 19 spring training contests.  The next closest in box office sales was the San Francisco Giants with 177,995, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers with 136,944 fans in their first year in Arizona.

 “You never say never,” said Gollnick of getting a Major League team back in Vero Beach.  “In life, you never know what’s going to happen around the corner.”

2010 Scheduled Events for Dodgertown

Jan 15-18 — The Baseball Factory comes to town offering baseball instruction, college planning and college planning for high school baseball players. A premier scouting partner for Baseball America, this group works with players to find a college that is right for them both athletically and academically.

Jan 21–26 — Umpires Retreat. The Professional Baseball Umpire Corp (PBUC) comes to Dodgertown for an umpire’s retreat. This organization is responsible for the training, evaluation, and recommendation for promotion, retention, or release of all umpires for the Minor League Baseball system throughout the United States and Canada.

Feb 20-April 24 — 2010 RussMatt Invitational at Dodgertown.  The event is for NCAA Division I, II & III, NAIA, Junior Colleges and high school.  Competing teams only play within their own division unless coaches agree to crossover games.  Last year 75 college teams participated in the RussMatt Greater Phoenix Invitational

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