The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

 

Three Quick Strikes

• With the Dodgers slated to move their spring training facilities to Glendale, Arizona in 2009, Dodgertown's days are numbered. Having been to Vero Beach in 1989 and again in 2003, I have some fond memories of the place, and I'm not the only one. Over at Dodger Thoughts, reader Eric Tenbus shares some wonderful memories of spring training in Vero. Tenbus got to serve as a batboy during the '78 spring training, which sounds like my idea of heaven:
I was allowed to leave school early for those games in March 1978 so I could play catch with Steve Garvey, practice pitching to Yeager, and laugh at Dusty Baker's jokes. I also had to work, running out to the plate to retreive Reggie Smith's bat, and wipe off the plate with a rag because Billy Martin had complained to the umpires that the plate was too dirty for his pitchers. I remember that March Yankees game, only five months removed from Reggie's three-HR game that crushed the Dodgers' World Series hopes in 1977, with Martin bitching about the overflow of people sitting on the outfield "wall," which as you know was a hill, replete with royal palm trees (this was before the fence was put into place) and how this would affect ground-rule doubles. I also remember Tommy swearing loudly about Martin's grandstanding. I took seriously my responsibility to bring Davey Lopes bubble gum for each game after he confided to me that his numbers would be much higher if I was his supplier. I was damn sure not going to let his OBP suffer due to my sixth-grade negligence.
As he got older, Tenbus worked in the publicity office during spring training and made friends with youngsters Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez. Lucky bastard.

Doesn't look like I'm going to make it to spring training this year, but I may try to get to Vero for one last go-round next spring. And as bummed as I am about the move, I'm certain that I'll give Glendale a shot at some point; if nothing else, it's closer to my dad and my brother, and taking in a few games in the spring sun wouldn't be a bad way to go.

• Gaslamp Ball, a Padres blog, has an excellent three-part interview with former Dodger GM and current Pads special assistant for baseball operations Paul DePodesta: I, II, III. Anybody looking for dirt on his Dodger days will be disappointed; the interview is mainly focused on DePodesta's current role, the Padres' front office's way of doing business, their offseason activities, and the lengths to which one can go to get a leg up at miniature golf. Though the Pads are the Dodgers' top competition in the NL West at the moment, I have a great deal of respect for Kevin Towers, Sandy Alderson and company, and I'm happy to see DePo land on his feet.

• Feels like I wrote this just a few months ago, but lo and behold, another two years have passed. Today it's 12 years since I loaded all of my worldly possessions into a U-Haul and drove from Providence to New York City. Time flies...

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