Waldstein: A new spring for old Dodgertown

From David Waldstein at the New York Times on April 19, 2015, with mention of SABR member Peter O’Malley:

The Montreal Alouettes football players, dozens of them, jogged out of the Jackie Robinson meeting room to a practice field wearing shorts, cleats and Jackie Robinson T-shirts.

Half of them wore a replica of the Brooklyn Dodgers No. 42 shirt that Robinson once wore on these very grounds; the other half had the design he wore for the Class AAA Montreal Royals, with the city’s name written on the front, above the spot where the players cradled the football, and Robinson’s No. 9 on the back.

As the players for the Canadian Football League team shook off their off-season rust, tossing arcing spirals to receivers in the 20-yard end zone, fireworks exploded overhead. The pyrotechnics came from two fields away, where the Class A St. Lucie Mets played the Brevard County Manatees at Holman Stadium in the second annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Game, an event commemorating Robinson’s first major league game on April 15, 1947.

It was a busy but poignant evening at the quaint campus once affectionately known as Dodgertown, the spring training home of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1948 to 2008.

Three years ago, the site was on the verge of becoming an industrial park or a wasteland. But because of the O’Malley family, which has not owned the Dodgers for more than 15 years, it is springing back to life.

Today it is known as Historic Dodgertown and hosts events like C.F.L. minicamps, high school soccer games and junior college softball championships. Its players use the fields and pathways once patrolled by men like Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella and Robinson.

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/sports/baseball/a-new-spring-for-old-dodgertown.html

Originally published: April 20, 2015. Last Updated: April 20, 2015.