Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dodgers Leave LA? Sounds familiar ...

Dodgers may be eyeing Arizona spring home

PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly negotiating with the city of Glendale to relocate their spring training operations from Florida to Arizona.

The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that the Dodgers would play in a new publicly financed stadium in Glendale that could be shared with the Chicago White Sox, who are thinking of moving their spring operations from Tucson.

The Glendale City Council will meet Wednesday to discuss and potentially act on the plan, according to the newspaper, which said the Dodgers and White Sox must execute formal agreements with the city and possibly a private developer.

The Dodgers would not discuss their plans publicly other than to confirm talks with Glendale over a memorandum of understanding to move to a new stadium. The team will "explore all options," said Camille Johnston, the Dodgers' senior vice president of communications.

The Dodgers have trained in Vero Beach, Fla., since 1948 -- nine years before the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

The team's stadium lease with Indian River County does not expire until 2021. But the Dodgers have the option of opting out of the lease if the team buys the stadium or pays off the county's bonds.

"They are dealing with Arizona because they're a team from the West Coast," said Michael Zito, Indian River County's assistant county administrator who met Dodgers' officials Monday.

The White Sox have trained at $38 million Tucson Electric Park since 1998 and they share that spring facility with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf called Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry on Friday to let him know a proposal to move could be forthcoming.

But Huckleberry said the county has a contract with the White Sox that runs through 2013 and the team must satisfy the county with a replacement team if they opt to leave early.

Meanwhile, the city of Goodyear and the Cleveland Indians also are seeking money from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority to build a $77.5 million spring training stadium.

The state will hold a public hearing Friday to begin considering the Goodyear/Indians' proposal.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press