Florida, the motherland of Spring Training, is going to knock one out of the park. The Sunshine State has been steadily losing its grip on Spring Training as tone-deaf to history baseball club owners are lured by sweet deals in the desert.
Take the Los Angeles Dodgers, for instance. The team in 2008 junked a 60-year history at Dodgertown in Vero Beach for a monstrosity called The Ballpark at Camelback in Glendale. Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Don Drysdale must have turned over in their graves.
Half of MLB now trains in Arizona.
Arizona's immigration law is an affront to the hundreds of foreign born players and their families who play in Major League Baseball. Players are also at risk when suiting up against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Legal U.S. citizen or not, cops can now demand the identity papers of anyone they suspect of being foreign born. [The New York Mets have the most foreign-born players of any their team. Mercifully, they train at Port St. Lucie, Fla.]
Michael Weiner, executive director, issued a statement to oppose the law. It noted that members of foreign descent have made “invaluable” contributions to baseball “and their exploits have been witnessed, enjoyed and applauded by millions of Americans.”
The union wants the law repealed or modified as soon as possible.
Major League Baseball Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig should study the strategy of the National Football League, which yanked Super Bowl XXVII from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe and moved it to the Rose Bowl after Arizona voters failed to approve the Martin Luther King holiday.
MLB should pull the slated 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix, if the immigration law has not been overturned or modified. Individual baseball club owners should return or set up Spring Training camp in Florida.
Though Brooklyn has never forgiven the Dodgers for running to Los Angeles, the good people of Vero Beach want their old team back.