Saturday, February 23, 2008

D-Lowe and Nomar are still together after all these years

Former Red Sox stars Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciaparra walk past fans at Dodgertown. Nomar treated it more like a perp walk, keeping his head down so no one could see him.

Today, I hit up Dodgertown, the Los Angeles spring training complex in Vero Beach, about a 50-minute haul from Melb0urne.

Dodgertown has obvious history. The team is well-rooted in the Vero Beach area, with many fans among the Floridians there. There are many former New Yorkers here, and it seems that they are big Dodgers fans, too, probably because of their former name, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Or maybe it has to do with the team's former Yankees, such as Joe Torre and Don Mattingly.

Don Mattingly disappoints fans. But not me: I'm not a fan.

The size of the crowds and the prices of concessions makes it obvious that the Dodgers have broad appeal. At the Nationals' camp in Viera, players mingle among fans while walking from practice field to practice field. At Dodgertown, a converted Air Force base, fans are cordoned off with yellow rope. That makes it difficult get autographs. Most of the time, the players don't stop to sign. Don Mattingly just waved, above. The more fans you have, the meaner you get, I guess.

Tommy Lasorda signs autographs for fans ... and me. Nice jewelry there.


Tommy Lasorda, who's a cool 80 years old, was the only one nice enough to set up a table for people to line up and get him to sign on the stitches, as he does for me, above. As people waited toward the end of the line, some people thought he might die of old age before he signed their photo, ball or card.

Nomar is relegated to ball bucket duty during batting practice. In Boston, he was good.

Nomar demonstrates the size of the fish he used to catch in Boston Harbor.

One of the not-so-nice big shots was former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who made a point of it to keep his back turned to the crowds. Former Sox pitcher Derek Lowe, below, wasn't as snobby.

D-Lowe ignores his boss, Joe Torre. I wonder why.

I arrived at Dodgertown about five minutes before practice began. Fans were lined along a walkway leading to the fields when the players emerged from the clubhouse. Nomar and D-Lowe walked out together, but Nomar kept his head down the whole time. But it's nice to see that the former Sox guys are showing solidarity.

Joe Schmoe.

It's also nice to see Dodgers manager Joe Torre, above, on the other side of the country, instead of hounding the Sox.

Here are some other photos:

Pitchers Brad Penny and Chan Ho Park share a moment.

The main field.

They didn't trust him with a golf cart.

A child waits for autographs only to be disappointed.

The Boys of Spring home

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