Today’s Winter Meetings festivities included a news conference with Ned Colletti, Joe Torre, White Sox GM Ken Williams and Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen to discuss the upcoming first spring training in Glendale, Ariz., at the new facility the two clubs will share. It was all pretty basic stuff, but the most interesting thing that came out of it, IMHO, was this:
the Dodgers will be using it not only as a spring-training site, but as a year-round staging ground for much of their baseball operation:
“This will be practically a 12-month endeavor,” Colletti said. “Our player-development department will move its headquarters there. Our Instructional League team will play there, and we may be able to double up on the Instructional League. We may double up on some specific clinics for players in the fall months. A few of our players reside in Arizona all year long, and they will have the opportunity to work out any day of the offseason. We will have extensive video, we will have extensive hitting oppotunities, pitching, fielding, and a lot of former Dodgers will be invited back to partake in it to be there both as instructors and as people who can teach a little bit about what the game is all about.”
The White Sox also will use the facility year-round, but not nearly to the extent the Dodgers will. After all, Chicago is much farther away from Phoenix than Los Angeles is.
“For now, we are going to keep our short-season (minor-league) teamsin Great Falls, Montana, and Bristol, Connecticut, so we will not have a Rookie League presence there,” Williams said. “But we will have a medical staff there for rehab players, things of that nature.”
At the end of a very long day, I am now headed out to what has become a small, winter-meetings tradition that we started a few years ago. Every year, all the writers who are here at the winter meetings who ever worked at the now-defunct Cincinnati Post, a paper whose sports staff was down to about seven or eight people when I left there for the Daily News in 2004 and which disappeared completely on Jan. 1 of this year, all pick one night and go to dinner together. Sadly, this year’s contingent includes only three people: Chris Haft, who now covers the Giants for mlb.com, Marc Lancaster, who now covers the Rays for the Tampa Tribune, and yours truly. I’m sure we’ll have a toast to the grand old lady, may she rest in peace. To varying degrees, we all owe our careers to the time we spent filling her pages with the latest news on the Reds. Thankfully, we were all lucky enough to get out before the curtain fell.