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Former President Hospitalized; Dodgers' Spring Training, February 24, 1969

February 24, 2009 |  6:00 am
1969_0224_cover
Former President Eisenhower undergoes emergency surgery. President Nixon arrives in Brussels for NATO talks. And did the Southern California Rapid Transit District pay too much for a Pasadena bus line?
1969_0224_sports Cale Yarbrough hits the wall at the Daytona 500. Darrall Imhoff with the 76ers vs. the Lakers.

1969_0224_dodgers
The vanishing business of renting binoculars at Santa Anita.
John Wiebusch has a nice feature on Dodgertown in Vero Beach, filled with memories that seem timely since the Dodgers are spending their first full spring in Arizona.

"The old men are talking about how it was in times past -- in the days of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and Dixie Walker and yes, even in the days of Sandy Koufax," Wiebusch wrote. "The young men are talking about what it is like to be in Florida again and about playing golf and going to the beach and watching bikinis. Occasionally, they talk about baseball, too, and what it would be like to play in the major leagues."

I never had the chance to visit Dodgertown. Palm Springs was my springtime destination. I can remember taking off early from Cal State Fullerton for an afternoon in the sun. I remember talking to players as they jogged during the game along the warning track.

Some, like Bobby Bonds, only scowled and kept walking (I never saw him run).  Others, like Bruce Bochte, smiled and at least acted as if they were glad you made the trip. And after the games, I watched old baseball icons like Leo Durocher in restaurants hoping to be recognized by the fans one more time.

My sons and I will be heading to Arizona next month for a quick weekend. I'm sure it will be memorable, but spring training now isn't what it used to be.

As Walter Alston said, "I love this place and these goofy barracks and the whole thing."

-- Keith Thursby

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