On March 6th, I traveled to Vero Beach, which is an hour and a half drive from the Orlando International Airport. The view of nature, the freeway, and the signs and advertisements of gas stands continued endlessly during my trip to what used to be Dodgertown has not changed at all.
I stayed the night at one of the lodging facilities located inside the Vero Beach Sports Village; I felt the 60 years of history just by walking in to the relatively small bathroom. The atmosphere has not changed from the time when I used this facility as a Major Leaguer: the smell of detergent filled the room, and if I look outside the window I could see lights shaped like baseballs. Impressed by the wealth of Major League’s long history and the wonderful facilities, it brought back memories of 17 years ago where I pledged myself success and felt as though Spring Training was about to start again.
The following day, I toured around the Village facilities. The Vero Beach Sports Village is a multi-sport facility with numerous baseball fields, multi-purpose fields, and even has its own lodging facility. During my stay, there were more than two hundred high school and collegiate athletes staying in the Village.
Whenever I stood on the mound or walked into the bullpen area, the blue skies and the green trees entered my line of sight as they have not changed at all from the time I was there as a Major Leaguer. As I stood on the mound, I was deeply touched by the fact that I am able to share this scenery with all the great former Dodger players, and also with all the young players who will play on this facility.
I hope that more and more young players will use this facility, where I was given the chance to play Major League Baseball and at the same time find something that they can possess and use for the rest of their lives.