Dodgertown to take over running spring training tourneys next year

VERO BEACH — After receiving rave reviews for hosting high school and college baseball tournaments this past spring, Dodgertown officials have decided next season to strike out and run the event on their own.The 2010 tournaments were run by RussMatt Baseball, which paid a fee to rent the Dodgertown facilities. Next year officials hope to expand on the estimated $3 million generated from late February to early April into even more cash for local coffers. RussMatt arranged for 60 teams to come through Vero Beach, many of which stayed locally and brought family with them — local officials claim over 4,300 room nights were tracked to the teams. However, a lot of teams also stopped off in Vero Beach for the day and then traveled on to other destinations. Vero Beach Sports Village Vice President Craig Callan said Tuesday he wants to emphasize booking college and high school teams who will come for an extended stay.”We did about 350 games last year,” Callan said. “That is a lot of volume, but a lot of the teams drove in from central Florida and didn’t stay here. Our goal is to fill up the Vero Beach Sports Village and and host hotels and local restaurants and not deal with transient teams.”Most of the teams that played this spring said they loved playing at Dodgertown with its history and major-league caliber facilities. Many thought that once word got out about Dodgertown there would be an even bigger influx of teams coming here next spring.However, that increase was to come with the backing of RussMatt, one of the largest organizations to run college and high school spring training tournaments. Callan will counter that with the reach of Minor League Baseball, which is running the Dodgertown facility.”We decided we would rather not have money flow out of community to outside vendors and that Vero Beach Sports Village would market it through minor league baseball and on our website,” Callan said. “Spring training will look just the same, but we will be running it ourselves.”For more information on the 2011 spring tournaments visit www.vbsportsvillage.com.

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