Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bye Bye Baby to Dodgertown

Yesterday the Los Angeles Dodgers said good-bye to their spring training grounds, known as Dodgertown, in Vero Beach, Florida. And in the words of William "Smokey" Robinson, what's so good about goodbye?

The Dodgers called Vero Beach, FL their spring training home from 1948 up to this 2008 spring season. 1948 when Gene Hermanski led the team in homers with 15 and Pee Wee Reese stole 25 bases. Their top winning pitcher that year was a fellow by the name of Rex Barney, he had 15 W's. And through the years it was always the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

These two teams have the greatest rivalry in professional sports. When you factor in that both clubs decided to move west in the same season, thus being the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants in 1958, you can see that no matter what their team strengths may or may not have been the rivalry has always been there. What could be better than that?

And as a Giants fan I may speak for many other orange and black lovers when I say the Dodgers really have been like an impacted tooth over the years. Look at the years the Dodgers took first place compared to how many times the Giants finished in first place since 1948 (the year after Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color line).

Dodgers: 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1994, 1995, 2004.

Giants: 1962, 1971, 1987, 1989, 1997, 2000, 2003. (In the years 1965 thru and including 1969 the Giants finished in 2nd place.)

Another thing about the rivalry is when a team is going through a transitional phase they always have the opportunity to play spoiler against their rival foe. It makes for good competition and perhaps it is from these inspirational head-to-head battles (between the Giants and Dodgers) that a superstar may ascend from what seems like a season-filled full of games where the orange and black have fallen.

Kevin Marquez