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Published:February 13th, 2007 03:57 EST
The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Coming--To Vero Beach, Florida!

The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Coming--To Vero Beach, Florida!

By John Lillpop

As a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I was thrilled to discover that the "Boys of Summer" are on the cusp of yet another season of exciting baseball action.

Can you believe it? Americans are once again talking "baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie!" especially in Florida and Arizona where spring training camps are set to open at the end of this week.

The Dodgers train in Vero Beach, Florida, hometown of Judyth Piazza, Great Editor and CEO of the SOP.

By the way, did you know that Judyth was once married to Dodger superstar catcher Mike Piazza?

Judyth ultimately left the aging catcher (he was 26) for a shortstop with a "no trade" contract and performance incentives potentially worth millions.

There you go--the Fickled Finger of Feminism racks up another male victim!

But back to baseball: Dodger pitchers and catchers report to Vero Beach this Friday! That is just three days from now, Friday, February 16, 2007.
Repeat the Sounding Joy: The Dodgers open training camp this Friday!

Back to Piazza. Mike, that is:

The Dodgers have always been recognized as one of the best-run organizations in sports. Team management was seen as a sterling model on player scouting and development, on-field coaching, teaching of fundamentals, and winning!

Sadly, the Dodgers' reputation as a "class organization" suffered tremendously beginning in 1996 when the club inexplicably traded Mike Piazza. At the time, Piazza was the most formidable catcher in the National League, and seemed to be at the center of a club destined for good things.

But, for whatever reason, the Dodgers let Piazza escape. Since that fateful trade, the Dodgers have struggled to be competitive, and have been involved in just two post-season series, both of which they lost decisively.

However, 2007 may be a great year for the Dodgers. Note: It always looks that way in February, but more often that not spring optimism turns into heartaches come September.

But this year will be different!

I am confident that the Dodgers will deliver a "September to Remember" for faithful fans because the club signed two premier starting pitchers in the off season.

That would be Jason Schmidt from the hated San Francisco Giants and Randy Wolf from the Philadelphia Phillies. These two star hurlers join Derek Lowe and Brad Penny in what could be the finest pitching rotation in the league.

Although the Dodgers were unable to sign superstar hitter Alfonso Soriano, despite offering the man $96 million dollars, most of the everyday positions are filled with solid ball players.

All in all, I look for big things from the Los Angeles Dodgers, including the very real possibility that the club will compete in the fall classic, otherwise known as the World Series.

But, of course, fans in Chicago feel the same way about the Cubs, those in Pittsburgh just know that this is the year of the Pirates, and San Francisco fans feel likewise about the Giants and Barry Bonds.

And so it is--hope springs eternal in the hearts of baseball fanatics. Especially in February.

Back to Piazza. Judyth, that is.

In the photograph, Judyth shows off her curves by throwing out the first pitch at a Dodger spring training game a couple of years ago.

What an arm, what an editor! With that Judyth Piazza on our side, who needs Mike?