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Picture Postcards from Dodgertown
2005-03-17 00:01
by Jon Weisman

Dodgertown is the newly released third photo essay compiled by Dodger publications editor and team historian Mark Langill - and well worth adding to your shelf. Suffice it to say, it tops the Weisman Spring Training collection with ease.

Langill particpated in an extended interview with Dodger Thoughts last year - so this time around, I did him a favor and only subjected him to a handful of questions. Still gives you a nice taste of what Dodgertown will offer.

1) Do you have a personal favorite among the pictures, and why?

My favorite photo is spring training 1957 with Emmett Kelly (the famed circus clown), Los Angeles mayor Norris Poulson and Dodger president Walter O'Malley. There were rumors the Dodgers might be moving after the 1957 season. During that spring, O'Malley hired Kelly to perform at Dodgertown and at various minor league affiliates. The posed photo shows Poulson whispering something to O'Malley while the sad-faced Kelly is holding an umbrella and trying to "listen" to the conversation.

My other [favorite] was taken during the 1972 labor dispute which led to the first players' strike. The head of the union, Marvin Miller, visited Dodgertown during that period to meet with the Dodger players. Miller accepted an invitation from Walter O'Malley to attend the team's St. Patrick's Day party. In the cafeteria line is the normally serious-looking Miller in a business suit with a slight smile and wearing a St. Patrick's Day party hat.

2) How organized was the collection of photographs you searched?

The photos were organized by player, year and events. I knew the text of the book would take care of itself, but the hardest part was choosing the photos. I wanted to assemble the book like a family album, with a range of scenes, emotions, and choose photos which would trigger an emotion from the fans. It seemed the best photos were the original "outtakes," the ones originally passed over years ago but in time became perfect for this project.

5dodgertown.cover.jpg 3) How long did it take?

I estimate it took three months, with the last few weeks a race to the wire in terms of making a photo jigsaw puzzle and always wondering if there was a better photo than the one selected at the time.

4) What was the most surprising thing (or things) you learned about Dodgertown while putting this together.

Instead of surprised, I was fascinated to learn so many details of routine and historical events. The project also reinforced my original assumption of how much the Dodgers and the complex have meant to the local Vero Beach community.

5) How many Spring Trainings have you spent in Vero Beach?

I began coming to Vero Beach as a reporter for the Pasadena Star-News in 1990. Over the years, I've always looked forward to my time at Dodgertown, whether as a reporter or a member of the front office.

6) What's the atmosphere at Dodgertown this year?

Like any spring, there is optimism. Whether you're coming off a disappointing season or a playoff appearance, the start of spring training means fans can stop replaying the previous season - good or bad - and can concentrate on that blank canvas in front of them, which is another season. And no matter the level of expertise, no one can accurately predict the events in baseball during the ensuing eight months. It's the ultimate unscripted reality series.

Langill's first two collections:

2005-03-17 13:04:17
1.   Icaros
I don't see how anything can top the photo of that Stanford alum in the cool shades.
2005-03-18 01:16:37
2.   kngoworld
Just curious Jon, what happened to the purchase links? If itís none of my business just disregard the question.
2005-03-18 09:06:08
3.   Jon Weisman
The Amazon links look fine to me, both at home and at work - do you still not see them?
2005-03-18 09:35:10
4.   kngoworld
Ok, I guess my Norton Internet Security blocked them from the page. When I first viewed the site yesterday they appeared, but when I checked back later they were gone. It's ok now though, I just had to "enable ads" in Norton.

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