It was tough to see images and read about the last game to be played at Dodgertown in Vero Beach on Monday. During my 14 years as a South Florida resident, I'd seen my Mets play in St. Lucie, and the Yankees in Ft. Lauderdale, far more times than I'd seen the Dodgers in Vero. Yet (although I've since moved up north and haven't seen Tradition Field, the renovated Mets facility that opened in 2004) I always thought Dodgertown was much nicer than the other Grapefruit League facilities I'd been to. Dodgertown had the "home park," "fan friendly" feel that most training parks lack. It wasn't just a temporary facility where the pros could keep warm until it was time to head north; it really felt like a place that loved its Dodgers, who had been there since 1948.
Now that the Dodgers are moving to more proximate digs in Glendale, Arizona, the longtime Florida residents who recall the days of Jackie, the Duke, and Pee Wee must have that same Ebbets Field feeling they had when their beloved Bums packed their bags and headed west in 1958. The last vestige of the East Coast Dodgers is gone. You can almost feel the long-since rusted pins being thrust into Walter O'Malley dolls for the first time since 1957.
• Trying to decide which is worse: watching the Mets fold like an origami accordion last September, or watching the Houston Rockets win 22 consecutive games while my Knicks have yet to win 20 all season.
• Really Extreme Makeover: Speaking of folding, after the reigning NCAA champion Florida Gators went 3-8 in their last 11 games, and missed the party for the first time in ten years, coach Billy Donovan got a little mad. He not only barred the players from entering UF's $12 million practice facility, he also banned them from wearing any Florida attire.
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