By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
71-year-old Rick Fahrney is the current master behind the annual MSBL World Series entrant, Dodgertown West, also known more recently as the So Cal Dodgers. He is also a 2015 inductee into the MSBL World Series Hall of Fame. In that story we published for the MSBL website, there was an important opening paragraph that may come into play here, as we explore the roots of this team that many of us have competed against year after year.
(From 2015 MSBL website publication) The name Dodgertown normally conjures up memories of Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, and the long line of Dodger immortals who have gone through the gates of Vero Beach, Florida for spring training. Today, the Dodger Blue tradition filters down to the annual Fantasy Camps, and that’s where Rick Fahrney comes in.
Dodgertown West is the name of the league that Rick plays in and is primarily an ensemble of Fantasy Camp participants, though those requirements have eased a little in recent years. They then join forces and go to the MSBL World Series and compete.
“The original concept was conceived somewhere in the 80s but I wasted too many years playing softball and wasn’t involved,” chuckled Fahrney. “I came into the picture around 2000 and started managing in about 2002. I lived in the LA area and that’s where the league was located. We decided to put a team together to go to Arizona around then. At that time, we were all Fantasy Camp participants and put it all together fairly quickly, winning the World Series in 2004.”
Over the last couple of decades, the Dodgertown group has become a victim of growing a little long in the tooth so they have had to become more flexible in their World Series team requirements.
“We kept moving up in age divisions as we got older but then some guys decided to hang it up or move to other teams, though that wasn’t the case very often. We are a family and have a wonderful teammate group. But it is harder now to keep the same guys together so we have included other players and they don’t have to be Dodger Fantasy Camp participants. All teams go through this and we are no different. Every day I am thankful and blessed to still be playing.”
In its heyday, Dodgertown West took multiple teams to Arizona for the World Series.
“We have taken as many as three teams, sometimes two, and usually just one. But in our golden years of maybe 2000 to 2015 we were well represented.”
I wanted to dig into the 2004 Dodgertown team that won it all.
“I think one of the reasons we first won is because nobody expected it. Playing together helped us a lot, I think. We knew each other, felt comfortable, and didn’t feel any pressure.
As many managers know, sometimes you can recruit an amazing team but it falls flat because of conflicting personalities. We didn’t have that. We were all good friends, on and off the field. When we go to Arizona we usually have 90% participation at dinners, outings, the hot tub, whatever. I truly think that makes you a better team.”
Dodgertown’s other piece of championship hardware came in 2019 when they won the 65-over Cactus division, defeating a very good Puget Sound Mariners team.
Here is an excerpt from their 2019 championship story as posted on the MSBL World Series page:
“Rick Fahrney, manager of Dodgertown West, was thrilled with the win, especially for Ashman (Steve), who suffered a stroke in September, and Ebert. “Tom Ebert has been playing out here for over 20 years,” Fahrney said. “He’s never won a ring. He stepped up in the championship game and was nails on the mound. He threw a great game for us. We won like we did all week. Everybody stepped up.”
So, what is in store for Dodgertown West in 2023?
“We will be in the 65+ and 70+ Cactus divisions this year at the World Series as the So Cal Dodgers. Since we can’t claim the same true Dodgertown status of years past, we decided it best to switch to the new name. I’ll be managing just the 70s this year.”
Any special moments over the past 20 years or so of World Series competition?
“It’s hard to beat that first ring. In seven of our games in 2004 we won in the last inning! It was meant to be.
But it’s hard to top the experience of being the manager and choreographer throughout the years. It is special to lead the way. We all have health issues as we get older so as a manager you have to know the strengths and weaknesses and still play ball effectively. My special moments are all team-driven. Every moment of being able to play our great game with lifelong friends is a special one.”