Major League Baseball may enter into a lease for Historic Dodgertown, the venerable Vero Beach, FL complex that was once spring training home of the Dodgers.
Historic Dodgertown–which includes Holman Stadium (shown above)–was the longtime home of spring training for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers played their last spring training game at Holman Stadium in 2008, and Minor League Baseball eventually began leasing the facility with the goal of using it for youth tournaments, an umpire school, corporate events and other activities. However, MiLB encountered financial issues when operating the complex, prompting a group that includes Peter O’Malley to later take over the lease.
That entity, Verotown LLC, and Indian River County are in discussions with MLB about a potential lease agreement. The lease would allow MLB to use Dodgertown for tournaments and other events, and county officials believe that an agreement could position Historic Dodgertown for future stability and success. More from TC Palm:
For months, the county and Verotown LLC, which currently leases the complex, have been in talks with Major League Baseball, County Administrator Jason Brown said. A lease could be signed within four months, he said….
Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, one of the five Verotown partners, initiated the talks with Major League Baseball to ensure the long-term success of the facility, Brown said.
“It would solidify the future (of Dodgertown) and pave the way for success there for many years to come,” he said.
The county is hoping to preserve the history of the complex — and provide overflow parking for large events — by buying the adjacent former Dodgertown golf course property from the city. Vero Beach, however, also has an offer from a developer.
Officials are working to have the lease finalized by the end of this year. In addition to spring training, Holman Stadium was also used for a time as the home of a High-A Florida State League franchise (which began as the Dodgers, but was known as the Devil Rays in its final years). Though no longer home to a team on a full-time basis, Historic Dodgertown and Holman Stadium has been hosting MiLB action in the form of the successful Jackie Robinson Celebration Game that is played annually on April 15. That date commemorates the anniversary of Robinson’s first MLB game, played on April 15, 1947.