Eric Gagne warms up at Dodgertown

I attended Sunday's spring training game between the Dodgers and Nationals at Vero Beach, the first time I've seen a game at the legendary Dodgertown. There are no bad seats, the atmosphere is completely laid back and you're right on top of the players. I sat so close to Eric Gagne warming up along the third base line I could've made a beer run for him.

The history of Dodgertown dates back to the years the team played in Brooklyn, and I found a very unexpected relic from those days in the stadium: an oxidized bronze plaque in which the Brooklyn Dodgers expressed their feelings about the Hiroshima bombing.

Brooklyn Dodgers 1956 Hiroshima plaque

The inscription reads:

We dedicate this visit in memory of those baseball fans and others who here died by atomic action on Aug. 6, 1945. May their souls rest in peace and with God's help and man's resolution peace will prevail forever, amen.

One year after their first World Series championship, the Dodgers made a goodwill trip to Japan in November 1956, presenting the plaque with the intent it could be displayed in Hiroshima, as the word "here" indicates in the inscription. Only 11 years had passed since the bombing.

How the plaque ended up in Vero Beach is a mystery. All mentions on the web make it sound as if the Japanese kept it.

The emotional impact of the plaque, which marks an event that claimed an estimated quarter-million lives, is diminished somewhat by its placement next to a concession stand's mustard and ketchup dispensers, right beside another plaque that recognizes Dodgertown for achievements in landscaping.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

The meaning of life whispers among the hot dogs.


 

Nice picture ... but that umpire in the background should eat a few less hot dogs ... ;-)


 

Well said Sterling.


 

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silly plaque or not, i can't tell you how envious i am of your trip!


 

I'm envious of myself for going there, and I got the impression that a lot of other people in attendance Sunday felt the same way. It didn't hurt that the weather was postcard-perfect.

Living in Florida means the Major League Baseball season begins six weeks early when pitchers and catchers report.

Have you ever been to a spring game in Florida or Arizona?


 

I went to see a Dodgertown game when I was in Florida for a space shuttle launch a few years ago. Launch was scrubbed, so we went toolin' around the next day. We stopped at Vero Beach for a treat, saw a Dodger decal in the window. After inquiring, we headed over to Dodgertown for a peek--mostly as a lark for a coupla LA-area people. But we weren't the only ones heading into Dodgertown... turns out that a game ---the AAA team--- was starting in 5-minutes' time. Since we were full on sweets, we didn't go to the concession stand, and therefore didn't see the Hiroshima plaque. Oh, and the Dodgers won.


 

Rogers, need I remind you why the plaque was placed next to the ketchup and mustard dispenser? It was to remind us why the United States used nuclear weapons on Japan in the first place: to protect our freedom of condiment choice. If you don't see my point, try putting wasabi and soy sauce on your hot dog next time and imagine what life would've been like if we hadn't used The Bomb.

But, seriously, those nachos were the best. I want to move to Mexico now.


 

Back when the Yanks trained in Ft. Lauderdale, maybe about 15 years ago, I had business in South Florida and took in a late Spring Training game. Most memorable was that teeny weeny stadium, an unpire Ken Kaiser, who good-naturedly took our razzing him to no end. We were sitting betwen first base and the plate, and felt our view was better than Kaiser's ... on all his calls!

I also had business in Ft. Myers and Cocoa Beach often saw major leaguers, but never went to a game during those visits. And when I had Miami business in later years I took in Marlins games. It got to where I'd schedule my South Florida visits around their home schedule.

My folks live in Florida half the year, and they've been to some Spring Training games, and always love the experience.


 

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