Dodgers finalize arrangements to hold spring training in Arizona

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized arrangements to hold spring training in Glendale, Ariz., beginning next February.

The Dodgers have held spring camp in Vero Beach, Fla., for the past 60 years, beginning when the team still played in Brooklyn.

Team owner Frank McCourt wanted to move to Arizona to be closer to the team's Southern California fan base.

"This is the culmination of a long journey designed to give Dodgers fans a shorter journey," McCourt said in a statement released Thursday. "Since the start of this process, we sought to bring the Dodgers closer to the people of Los Angeles.

"They have supported this team for 50 years on the West Coast, and while we loved our spring home on the East Coast, we know that over the next 50 years, far more fans of the Dodgers can enjoy spring training if the trip is five hours by car instead of five hours by plane," he said.

The Dodgers will share the Glendale facility, which reaches across the Glendale and Phoenix city borders, with the Chicago White Sox.

"We have notified Indian River County and the City of Vero Beach that we will not exercise the option to remain in Vero Beach until 2021," McCourt said.

He added a bit of a caveat by saying, "While we are confident at this point that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will be able to conduct spring training in Glendale in 2009, we have until July 15 to make that determination."

The Dodgers played six spring games in Arizona this spring after returning from a trip to China.

They played their final game at Vero Beach on March 17.