FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2018
Chinese Men’s National Baseball Team Returns to Historic Dodgertown
The 7,600 mile trip between Vero Beach and Beijing, China is proving to be a road well traveled. For the Chinese Men’s National Baseball Team, they returned to Historic Dodgertown with one goal in mind.
To get on a level playing field with teams from Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei.
The “top 3” as Team China head coach John McLaren calls them, finished Gold, Silver and Bronze at this year’s Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia. China came in fourth.
McLaren brings a wealth of professional baseball experience to the Chinese Men’s National Team. He previously managed the Major League Baseball Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals, and has 40+ years in pro ball. This is the third time he has brought the Chinese Team to train at Historic Dodgertown (2018, 2017 and 2011).
This year, McLaren and his staff return for a month of fully immersive training and to build on what the team accomplished when training here last year. Upon arrival, they could immediately get to work, on and off the fields.
“Historic Dodgertown is turn-key,” McLaren said. “We fly in and start playing ball. We hit in the batting cages, and practice on the half field and two full fields.
“The legends are still here, you can feel them,” he said, referring to the Hall of Famers and baseball greats who trained played here from 1948-2008 when Historic Dodgertown was the Spring Training home of the Dodgers.
Hall of Famers and baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez, and current pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The six World Championship teams in Dodger history all started their seasons here.
The Chinese team is enjoying the championship history at Historic Dodgertown, from staying and living on campus in the hotel villas, eating in the dining room, utilizing the professional weight room equipment, and training on the fields and playing games to enhance their skills and confidence.
This year McLaren brought a group of younger players and is focusing on playing more games, developing a weight program for the players, and building on their short and long-toss programs during individual and team practices. McLaren also has a great interest in growing the game internationally.
“It has worked out great. We can give individual attention to each kid.”
Following their training season at Historic Dodgertown, the team members will return to Beijing before returning to America next summer to play on the Texas AirHogs, an American Association (independent league) team McLaren will manage.
Earlier this year the American Association announced that the AirHogs, based in Grand Prairie, Texas, developed a partnership with the Chinese Baseball Association whereby members of the Chinese National Baseball Team will train at AirHogs Stadium and rotate as players on the AirHogs team.
“There are a lot of good things going on for the team,” McLaren said.
Historic Dodgertown Chairman and former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley has long encouraged the growth of sports in China.
O’Malley’s first visit to Beijing, China was groundbreaking. In February 1980 he met with All-China Sports Federation representatives. In the summer of 1980, five representatives of the People’s Republic of China were his invited guests to observe baseball at Dodger Stadium and in Southern California. On Sept. 12, 1986, dedication ceremonies were held at the “Dodger Baseball Field,” privately built by O’Malley at the Tianjin Institute of Physical and Cultural Education (about 120 kilometers south of Beijing). In 1991 O’Malley was named an “Honorary Citizen” of the People’s Government of Tianjin.
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532