2008 Florida Spring Training Tour, Day 4 (Los Angeles Dodgers)

BY: T.C.

On day 4, I shifted my base camp to Vero Beach.  I attended the Dodgers camp on my first day on the east coast.  I arrived at Dodgertown at about 8 am.  It was good timing, as a few of the non-roster invitees were taking B.P. with Don Mattingly in the cages.  After the B.P. session ended, Don came over and signed for all of the fans that were waiting there (about 15 people).   

Practice started around 9:30 am.  As practice time neared, several players headed over to the field and signed on their way.  I was able to grab Matt Kemp & Derek Lowe on the way over to practice.  Once practice started, the crowd grew considerably.  I would guess that about 2-300 people were there watching practice.  It made autograph opportunities pretty scarce.  I found the best place to hang out was by the minor league batting cages.  During practice, the players rotated through these cages to take B.P.  There were only 3 of us over there and we were able to snag Andy Laroche and Andruw Jones on their way to/from the cages.   About ½ way through practice, Tommy Lasorda sets up a table in an open area behind the concession and merchandise tents.  He signs here for about 15 minutes.  You need to make sure that you get in line quickly, because a security guard cuts the line off pretty early. 

At the end of practice, I stationed myself along the left field line of the practice field.  Nomar signed a few here (which I missed), as did several other players.  Joe Torre also signed here for about 10 minutes.  I was extremely excited to be able to snag the new skipper’s autograph on a ball! 

After practice, a bunch of the guys went back to the cages by the clubhouse to take extra B.P. with Mattingly.  After this session, Preston Mattingly came down to hit for about 20 minutes with Don.  Once they were done hitting, both came and signed for the folks that were left. 

All in all, Vero is a cool place to experience.  You can really feel the tradition in Dodgertown.  The players are pretty accessible, which is nice.  The only downside is that there are TONS of people here, which is never good for autographs.  A map of the autograph areas is below.

 Dodgers ST  

While I didn’t get a great number of autographs, I did get some good quality ‘graphs.  Here is a summary of what I got: 

  • Preston Mattingly, 1 card, 1 RMLB
  • Esteban Loaiza, 3 cards
  • Andy Laroche, 1 RMLB, 1 ROMLB
  • Tom Lasorda, 1 ROMLB
  • Joe Torre, 1 ROMLB
  • Derek Lowe, 1 ROMLB
  • Jose Vizcaino , 1 RMLB
  • Don Mattingly, 2 ROMLB
  • Matt Kemp, 1 ROMLB
  • Andruw Jones, 1 ROMLB
  • Scott Proctor, 1 ROMLB
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