Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Community (Page 2 of 6)

Support Cindy Ellis in run for pediatric cancer research

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

One week from today, A.J. Ellis’ wife Cindy will run in the Boston Marathon to raise money for research into the fight against pediatric cancer. The Ellis family will match all donations up to $26,200.

RhyanThey have made the effort in honor of their family friend Rhyan Loos, who has stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer, but their hope is to make an impact far beyond one person.

… We are desperate for a cure and have come to find how important yet underfunded Pediatric Cancer research actually is.

Each year in the United States approximately 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age are diagnosed with cancer.

In the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease —yet all types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4% of the U.S. federal cancer research funding – of over $5 billion. …

Learn more and offer your support at the Ellis family site, You can also donate directly here.

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Dodgers FanFest: Vin Scully thankful for the push

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Vin pumpBy Jon Weisman

In just under the wire before an expected Sunday rainstorm, it was a whale of a day at Dodgers FanFest (presented by State Farm), with activities and athletes galore.

As usual, no one set the tone better than Vin Scully, who took the FanFest stage and told the story above.

Here’s a taste of what else was happening with your favorites …

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1000 Vin Scully Avenue

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Ultimately, when the big moment came, it came in an instant.

By a 12-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council approves a motion to change the name of Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue. 

Then, we are silent, because as we have been taught, there are times when it just makes the best sense to let the crowd speak for itself.

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

When we return, we simply hear these words.

“I am overwhelmed.  I was raised in the streets of New York, and to have a street named after me in Los Angeles is almost too much to comprehend.  I am eternally grateful to the Los Angeles City Council and especially councilman Gil Cedillo.  A path to Dodger Stadium is a pathway to my heart.  For 55 years, it has been an honor to walk that road to one of the greatest entertainment centers in the world, a place that has brought so much joy to all of us.  I thank God for this great honor.”

And like that, Vin Scully has touched home, just as he has touched our souls. Forever.

Within 30 days, given the expected blessing of local residents, the existing street signs will be lowered and new ones raised.

“How do you get to the game?” offered Cedillo, who introduced the motion. “Go up Sunset and turn on Vin Scully Avenue.”

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

I’ll say this much, and don’t misunderstand this as opposition to today’s events: I love the words “Elysian Park.” They’re a melody in four beats, and their long association with my home away from home evokes a Proustian sensation. It had to be something special, something transcendent, to justify replacing them as the address of Blue Heaven on Earth.

Vin Scully Avenue meets that standard. One small street for Vin, one giant drive for fankind.

No name could be more worthy, except perhaps, as one citizen (a fellow Fordham grad, he told us) argued during his opportunity at City Hall for public comment, Jackie Robinson. But the groundbreaking Dodger is getting Dodger Stadium’s inaugural statue — no small honor, that.

I don’t feel Robinson has been done a disservice, and I do think it was worth showing Scully how much he has meant to all of us.

“I’d be okay if we named the whole damn city after him,” councilman Paul Koretz exulted. And who could argue?

Dodgers Love L.A.: And here come the pretzels

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By Jon Weisman

Day 4 of the Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour (presented by Bank of America) was comfortably comestible, with Dodgers Kiké Hernandez, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner giving away Dodger dogs and pretzels in downtown Los Angeles.

Pretzel man Justin Turner, by the way, was just labeled the fifth-best third baseman in MLB right now, by MLB Network.

Los Angeles Dodgers Love LA Tour at Wetzels Pretzels at Union Station

While there, Pederson spoke to about Dave Roberts and the upcoming season.

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For more images from the day, visit LA Photo Blog.

Earlier in the day, Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization (and, oh yeah, Dodger legend) Fernando Valenzuela was on a White House conference call to discuss the launch of the White House Regional Convenings on New Americans, aimed at assisting local immigrant and refugee efforts.

“It’s a great honor for me to be here, to be a citizen and a Presidential Ambassador,” said Valenzuela. “In this role, I want to share with the United States and the city of Los Angeles the many rights that come with being a citizen. I’m excited to get to vote in my first presidential election. It’s important for the Los Angeles community to know how important it is to vote.”

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The Dodgers Love L.A. Tour heads to City Hall this morning, to see if Vin Scully Avenue becomes officially official.

Gateway to Dodger Stadium: Vin Scully Avenue?

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Who’s ready for Vin Scully Avenue?

That could soon be the name for the stretch of road leading from Sunset Boulevard to Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles city councilman Gil Cedillo is scheduled to make a motion for a vote during the Friday City Council meeting at City Hall to change the name of Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue, in honor of the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster.

“There’s no better way to recognize such an iconic Dodger as Hall of Famer Vin Scully than naming a street after him,” Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten said. “We appreciate Gil Cedillo and city officials bringing this to the forefront, and we look forward to the day when everyone can drive on Vin Scully Avenue when they enter Dodger Stadium.”

Many members of the Dodger organization will be present Friday at City Hall, as part of the Dodgers Love L.A. Tour (presented by Bank of America). Scheduled to attend are Dave Roberts, Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Austin Barnes, Jharel Cotton, Carlos Frias, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher, Pedro Baez, Yasmani Grandal, Micah Johnson, Zach Lee, Adam Liberatore, Frankie Montas, Josh Ravin, Scott Van Slyke, Trayce Thompson and Ross Stripling, along with Dodger alumni Tommy Lasorda, Orel Hershiser, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Eric Karros, Maury Wills and SportsNet LA broadcaster Alanna Rizzo.

Dodgers Love L.A. tour visits tragedy-stricken San Bernardino

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By Jon Weisman

A special part of the Dodgers Love L.A. community tour (presented by Bank of America) came Wednesday  in San Bernardino. Ken Gurnick of has more:

Andre Ethier has participated in countless community events supporting the military and law enforcement, but his appearance at one of Wednesday’s Dodgers “Love L.A.” tour stops was like no other.

Ethier, Tommy Lasorda and Steve Garvey headed a delegation that had lunch with victims and first responders from the Dec. 2 San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 and seriously injured 22.

As Ethier saw and heard, the region is still reeling from the shocking tragedy. But the outfielder was moved by the long line of autograph seekers — some in uniform, some still nursing wounds — most with big smiles.

“It’s amazing to see,” Ethier said. “Being in Arizona, you know what happened, but you can’t realize the impact and the magnitude like when you come here and see it first hand, even two months after. You ask them how they’re doing and everyone says, ‘One day at a time.’ You hope you can brighten their day, even though you know they have a long, tough road to recovery.” …

Go to the LA Photog Blog to see Jon SooHoo’s photos from the event. The Dodgers Love L.A. Tour also made a visit to Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica, and prepared and served lunch to homeless residents in transitional housing.

Dodgers Love L.A.: A special day connecting the dots between Jackie Robinson and Dave Roberts

Jorge Jarrin, Dave Roberts and Mark Langill address students at Muir High School.

Jorge Jarrin, Dave Roberts and Mark Langill address students at Muir High School.

By Jon Weisman

It’s no exaggeration to say that Jackie Robinson is the pride of Muir High School, just as he is the pride of the Dodgers and, for that matter, the United States.

A tribute to Jackie Robinson in the Muir High School museum.

A tribute to Jackie Robinson in the Muir High School museum (click to enlarge)

So it was a special day for everyone today when this week’s Dodgers Love L.A. community tour (presented by Bank of America) made a stop at Muir, with a screening of portions of Ken Burns’ upcoming “Jackie Robinson” documentary, followed by a Q&A featuring manager Dave Roberts and team historian Mark Langill, moderated by broadcaster Jorge Jarrin.

Many of the four score students in attendance today will graduate from Muir exactly 80 years after Robinson did. But not to worry — his story still resonates.

“I loved the documentary,” said Bryan Barrios, senior captain of the Muir baseball team. “It was very inspiring (and) emotional. I walk around this campus just thinking about Jackie Robinson all the time. Sometimes I can’t believe he came here.”

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Dodger children’s holiday party postponed after LAUSD closure

Because of the closure of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District today, today’s Dodgers/Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation children’s holiday party has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Today’s 4 p.m. gift-giving event hosted by Dodger broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela at Estrada Courts will still take place.

— Jon Weisman

Chance to meet Vin Scully among auction items to benefit fight against cancer

Los Angeles Dodgers BroadcastersS2c
By Jon Weisman

An MLB charity auction benefiting Stand Up to Cancer among other organizations is underway, and a meet-and-greet with Vin Scully is among the items up for bid.

Other Dodger-related items available include a Spring Training batboy/batgirl experience and the chance to show our Matthew Mesa what you can do as the Dodgers’ social media coordinator for the day.

In addition, this year’s auction will benefit Do It For Durrett, in honor of the late Texas Rangers beatwriter Richard Durrett, who passed away suddenly last year, and the YouCaring page established for Miami Marlins Sun Sentinel beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez, who is currently battling a brain tumor.

Previously: LADF online Dodgers memorabilia auction begins

Dodgers, Newcombe welcome vets to Dodger Stadium

Newcombe signs

By Jon Weisman

A cheerful Don Newcombe was among the featured guests at today’s Dodger Stadium gathering for approximately 300 pre-selected Armed Forces veterans and active duty service members and their families.

To my regret, I didn’t have the recorder running as Newcombe shared stories with me about training soldiers during the Korean War, including doctors for the medical units depicted in “M*A*S*H.”

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Clayton Kershaw extends efforts for underprivileged

Clayton Kershaw co-hosted a clinic for youth from the Dream Center in July. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Clayton Kershaw co-hosted a clinic for youth from the Dream Center in July. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Not surprisingly, Clayton Kershaw has once again made himself busy in the charity and community service arena since the offseason began.

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LADF online Dodgers memorabilia auction begins

Clayton Kershaw Autographed JerseyBy Erin Edwards

Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Look no further! The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has amazing deals on autographed memorabilia.

Now through December 7 , LADF will be hosting an online auction with autographed memorabilia, including items from your favorite current and former Dodger players. Go to to place your bid on autographed baseball and jerseys.

Now is the time to find a coveted gift for your favorite Dodger fan or for yourself. As you browse through the online auction, you will find items signed by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and many others. If you are the winning bidder, we will ship item to you prior to the holiday.

All proceeds benefit the programs and charitable donations of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.

Adrian Gonzalez’s Bat 4 Hope Celebrity Softball Game comes November 7 to Dodger Stadium

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Adrian Gonzalez and actress Eva Longoria are co-hosting Bat4Hope, a celebrity softball game benefiting children and young adults with cancer November 7 at Dodger Stadium.

The organization behind the event is PADRES Contra El Cancer, a nonprofit organization that for 30 years has been committed to improving the quality of life for children and young adults with cancer, along with their families, throughout Southern and Central California. Event proceeds will benefit family bilingual cancer education, quality of life and economic assistance programs.

Advance tickets are available to purchase through Eventbrite. For more details, visit the Bat4Hope event website.

Pedersons cap ‘Live Like a Champ’ motto with hat sales for a good cause

Champ Hats by New Era Press Conference

By Claire Miller

Joc Pederson goes by the mantra: “Live like a champ.” The phrase, coined by older brother Tyger and inspired by oldest brother Champ (who has Down syndrome) means live life to the fullest and don’t take anything for granted. No matter what you’re going through, pick your head up and live like a champ.

To help spread the Pederson family philosophy, Joc Pederson teamed up with New Era to design an exclusive Dodger hat featuring the family motto, with 31% of the sales benefiting Best Buddies, the charity of Pederson’s choice dedicated to supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“(Our family) wouldn’t be who we are without Champ,” Joc said. “He kind of brings us all together. This is just somewhat a small thing that is going to bring us closer, and Best Buddies is a great cause.”

Senior vice president of corporate partnerships Michael Young hopes this will be the beginning of a trend. Depending on the success of the sales, the “Live Like a Champ” hat could pave the way for more exclusive hats helping other worthy causes.

The “Live Like a Champ hat” is now on sale exclusively at Dodger Stadium in the Right Field Plaza New Era store on game days, while supplies last.

Hollywood Indies Little League thrives with LADF support

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By Jon Weisman

The latest issue of the Hollywood Reporter, dedicated to philanthropy, includes a feature by Scott Feinberg on the Hollywood Indies Little League, which is supported by Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.

An excerpt:

The largest little league program in L.A. county, HILL was founded in 1994 by lifelong Angeleno and die-hard baseball fan Stan Brooks, 57, the director and Emmy-winning producer (Broken Trail) of many TV films and miniseries, including this year’s The Lizzie Borden Chronicles for Lifetime. “I was sitting in my office 22 years ago and I read an L.A. Times story about how the board of supervisors was cutting funding for parks and rec,” he recalls. “The first thing to go was going to be baseball because it’s such an expensive sport.” …

… Support from the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation — which, through the nationwide RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities) initiative, provides funding, uniforms, equipment, health resources and an annual field trip to Dodger Stadium to take in a game — has been integral to HILL’s success. “The opportunity to use sports to engage kids — kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity or who otherwise really wouldn’t be seen — is intriguing to us,” says Nichol Whiteman, executive director of the Foundation.

Over the years, various members of the Dodgers organization have taken hands-on roles with the league, making opening day appearances, teaching clinics and giving pep talks, including Mike Piazza, Tommy Lasorda, Tim Leary and, most recently, star outfielder Carl Crawford. “I played in RBI programs,” says Crawford, 34, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Red Sox in 2012. (He helped to carry an RBI team from Houston to the 1997 RBI World Series.) “I love being around the kids and I just try to give them words of encouragement. You want to give them the same types of chances that you had.” …

Read the entire story here.

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