Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 19, 2009

Host: Ted Simons

L.A. Dodgers: New Spring Training Home

  • A tour of the new spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, Glendale's Camelback Ranch. Ned Colletti, Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager, talks about moving the team's spring training headquarters from Vero Beach, Florida to Glendale, Arizona.
  • Ned Colletti - General Manager,Los Angeles Dodgers

View Transcript
David Majure
>> sight and sounds from the March 1 opening game at Glendale’s Camelback Ranch. before we hear from Dodgers general manager New Colletti about the team's new spring training hope, let's take a brief tour of the complex.

Dodger Player
>> It’s the first time for me in Arizona for spring training, it’s really nice.

David Majure
>> after 60 years of spring training at Dodgertown in Florida, the Los Angeles Dodgers are training in Arizona. that's good news to fans like Lorraine Aguilar from --

Lorraine Aguilar
>> Los Angeles, California. Dodger fan my entire life. my mom's here too with us. never made it out to Florida unfortunately , but when the Dodgers came here, had to come out for opening day of spring training.

David Majure
>> Lorraine was at the front of the line to see her team play its first spring training game at Glendale’s camelback ranch.

>> let's go, Dodgers!

Lorraine Aguilar
>> for the rest of my life I’ll be coming to spring training, now that they're so close.

David Majure
>> just days before the ballpark opened for business, workers were putting some finishing touches on the stadium.

Construction Worker
>> this is the largest stadium in the cactus league. you see how the architecture blends in with the desert.

David Majure
>> the facility is shared and jointly operated by the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. the stadium has 10,000 seats, plus there's room for another 3,000 people to sit on the lawn. Camelback Ranch cost more than $100 million. the city of Glendale is covering the initial cost, but the city will be repaid with hotel and rental car taxes collected by the Arizona sports and tourism authority. and sales tax revenue generated by a nearby mixed use development. you'll need to spend time outside of the stadium to fully appreciate the 141 acre complex. it includes 12 full practice fields and a lake.

Greg Corns
>> it's a two-acre lake. it separates the White Sox from the Dodgers right down the middle of the complex and connects to the outfield portion of the stadium.

David Majure
>> the lake is used for irrigation and in the future, it may be open for fishing. it adds to the park-like setting where fans can get close to the players free of charge.

Greg Corns
>> that's the other unique thing about Camelback Ranch. if you're not going to a game, you can come out here and just relax, enjoy a b game on one of the replica fields, sit on a hillside, have a soft drink or beer and enjoy yourself.

Joe Torre
>> it’s great, it really is. when it grows in, it's going to be spectacular. the guys have done a great job. I’m certainly looking forward to it when it matures, but right now it's -- it's got about everything could you want, and it's very well laid out.

Ted Simons
>> here now to tell us more about this fabulous facility is Ned Colletti, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. thanks for joining us. it's not Dodgertown, is it Dodgerville?

Ned Colletti
>> well, it will be Dodgertown as time goes on. first I need to say something. I need to thank all the people who worked on this facility. because they had a really short time frame to do a lot of work. and every day I come in here, something is better, something is improved, and the work the men and women did on this facility was phenomenal.

Ted Simons
>> why did the team decide to move to Glendale?

Ned Colletti
>> well, we're based in southern California, being from Los Angeles. and for many years the Dodger fans that live in the southern California part of the country really didn't have an easy time getting to Florida to watch their team play in the spring. plus the games would start at 10:00 a.m. on the radio. I think the dodger fans really missed out a lot on one of the great assets of a team, and being in spring training. I think it was a tough hike to make. you couldn't really fly right into Florida you had to fly and drive another hour or two. so it also helps our franchise, it -- spring training, the teams are closer, there's more proximity. so our team can get more work in, spend more time working on different fundamentals and different team play rather than being on a bus traveling from one place to another. we decided when we framed this place out and thought about moving here, we would make it state of the art and move our hub of player development to this area as well. our minor league development system will be headquartered here, this operation will be probably 12 months a year.

Ted Simons
>> the fans, you mentioned them. when it was originally announced, long-time fans, fans on the east coast, fans everywhere, did you get a lot of blowback on this.

Ned Colletti
>> we got some, because of the historic nature of our old facility. there's no train facility like it. it does take you back. but again, the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn over 50 years ago. and a lot of the fans who had come in to Florida were the fans that had rooted for the team when it was in New York. So a lot of things have happened since then, 50 years have gone by. a lot of different things have happened in that period of time. I think the move out west was in some ways long overdue, and at the same time respectfully came at the right time. and to be this close to Los Angeles, to be able to have fans come through here, take a weekend jaunt right down the highway, I think is great. one hour flight, I think it's going to have a dramatic impact on our fan base and such -- in such a positive way.

Ted Simons
>> the economy the way it is, looking back now, was it a good thing, or maybe not such a good thing to make this move in this kind of recession?

Ned Colletti
>> well, it's a good question. I really haven't thought about that. I think as long as we were able to do it in the right way financially, which I believe we did, I think that it was the right time to do it. you can't always plan what's going to happen and how it's going to unfold when we first started talking about this project, the economy was in a much stronger position than it is today.

Ted Simons
>> as far as Arizona, pitching woo, to get you guys out here, what did Arizona do right and did Florida do anything wrong in not being able to keep the Dodgers?

Ned Colletti
>> Florida did nothing wrong. you can look at a map and you can see where Los Angeles is and where Florida is, and they're really not that close to each other. it was really more proximity to where the majority of our fans are on the west coast. plus the opportunity to have the major league team have a source for player development that's close too. when we would try and do things across country, coast-to-coast, it becomes difficult. when you try to move players around and try to keep players that are rehabbing from injury, and we really couldn't keep tabs on them that well because they're so far away. Florida did nothing wrong. it's just that Los Angeles and California seemed to be a lot closer to Glendale and Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> and when you look around this facility, last question, you see, this absolutely gorgeous property and these buildings, and the stadium. what do you think? you've been in baseball many years. this is spring -- these look like stadiums of old. these are spring training stadiums.

Ned Colletti
>> it is phenomenal. the city of Glendale did a tremendous job with this. when we started to draw the plans out, and we started to dream and you start to put things down on paper and you bring in the people who -- you bring in the trainers to help design the medical site, you bring in the clubhouse people to design the clubhouse. you bring in major league coaches and minor league coaches to help design the layout. and you put it all on paper, then you come here a year plus, two plus years later, and you see it come to life, it is staggeringly great.

Ted Simons
>> very good. Ned, thank you so much for joining us.

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