SI Vault
 
Blue Skies Everywhere
Tom Verducci
February 26, 2007
The end of Dodgertown may be near, but there are no signs of gloom in a clubhouse where the players have new reasons to dream big. They weren't alone. With the opening of camp, all but a handful of teams had a justifiably bright outlook
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 26, 2007

Blue Skies Everywhere

The end of Dodgertown may be near, but there are no signs of gloom in a clubhouse where the players have new reasons to dream big. They weren't alone. With the opening of camp, all but a handful of teams had a justifiably bright outlook

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2 3

"At night you'd have 18 guys hanging around the pool table in the Koufax Room, waiting their turn, except for the three nights each week we had the motivational speeches," says catcher Ken Huckaby, who has returned as a nonroster invitee after spending springs at Dodgertown from 1991 through '97. "This place is special. I always thought this was one of the few places--the Yankees are another--where the uniform is bigger than any individual."

"I'll definitely miss it; I'd be lying if I said no," says Bill DeLury, a team executive who began as an office boy and is spending his 44th spring in Dodgertown. "It'll be sad. But it's like Mr. O'Malley said, 'Nothing is forever.' Everything comes to an end. You've got to change."

DeLury stood near the rightfield bullpen in Holman Stadium, where millionaire relievers watch games from a grass berm, shaded only by a tall palm. On the field, players moved through their conditioning drills, not all too differently from 1948, except now they don't keep fungo bats handy to kill the occasional snake. It was the same humble start to another long, grueling season. But this time, even on a morning as fresh, crisp and clear as Saturday's, it was the beginning of the end of something much bigger.

1 2 3