Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Community (Page 3 of 6)

Reading between the baselines

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Erin Edwards

Those who attended the August 11 game against the Nationals not only got to see Zack Greinke’s six scoreless innings and Yasiel Puig’s five RBI, they could also witness another one of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s Giving Moments.

Sasha Murillo, a sixth-grade student from Hollenbeck Middle School, was recognized for her success in the “Take Me Out to the Book Game” reading challenge. Sasha read 82 books and is now reading at an 11th-grade level.

Murillo’s success was due in part to LADF grantee City Year LA, which deployed 28 AmeriCorps members to Clinton and Hollenbeck middle schools to help raise reading levels. The AmeriCorps members met with students during and after school, and were able to add 40 minutes of reading per week for each student that attended.

“City Year is a great place to learn,” Murillo said. “It gives you confidence, and it’s inspiring.”

Murillo, who wants to be a lawyer when she grows up, said the best book she read was “Freak the Mighty.”

More than 350 City Year Corps members and staff attended the game to cheer on Murillo and the Dodgers. Visit to learn more about LADF.


ThinkCure! Weekend arrives Friday

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

The annual ThinkCure! Weekend at Dodger Stadium begins Friday before the Dodgers’ game against the Reds.

Through ThinkCure!, the Dodgers support City of Hope’s efforts to find new treatments and cures for cancer while encouraging Dodgers fans to support that work as well. To date, ThinkCure! has provided $1.8 million in local cancer research grants, accelerating the search for cures and leveraging that investment into an additional $40 million in research support.

Donations can always be made to ThinkCure! by texting the word “CURE” to 50555 for a $10 donation, or by visiting the ThinkCure! website at

“Every day, 100 Angelenos and their families learn they have cancer,” ThinkCure! executive director Joe Fay said. “The disease affects all of our families, and it’s only with community-wide support for cancer research done locally that we will conquer it. We’re grateful to Dodgers fans for embracing this challenge and becoming part of our hometown team to help wipe out cancer.”

— Jon Weisman

Busy off day with trades and PingPong4Purpose

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By Jon Weisman

There was no Dodger game Thursday, but it wasn’t exactly a day for lounging on the couch at home.

In addition to all the player trades — which Don Mattingly, Orel Hershiser, Charley Steiner and A.J. Ellis react to above — Adrian Gonzalez hosted his Adrian Gonzalez Baseball ProCamp at Granada Hills Charter High School, as David Adler writes at

And of course, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw hosted their annual Kershaw’s Challenge PingPong4Purpose event, which was well attended by celebrities and ballplayers alike.

Steve Bourbon of has a report from the event. Some video and photos follow.

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Dodgers open Kosher food stand tonight, Jewish Community Night coming August 30

LAD_15-Jewish-Comm-Night-T-Shirt-R1By Jon Weisman

Beginning tonight, the Dodgers are opening a Kosher stand that will begin service by offering three types of Kosher hot dogs.

Located at the grill adjacent to Tommy Lasorda’s Trattoria in the right-field plaza, the stand will offer a Kosher Dog and a Jalapeno Kosher Dog for $9 each and a Kosher Italian Sausage for $10.

The stand will be open at Dodger home games except Friday and Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Additional food items will be added in the future.

In addition, the Dodgers will celebrate their 16th annual Jewish Community Night on August 30 when they host the Chicago Cubs at 5:08 p.m.

The Dodgers are offering a special ticket package, which includes a voucher for a Dodgers-in-Hebrew T-shirt and a ticket to the game in the Reserve MVP or Preferred Reserve sections. An additional Kosher food stand will be available in the Left Field Reserve section. In addition, the first 40,000 fans in attendance August 30 will also receive Dodger headphones.

A limited number of tickets for Jewish Community Day are still available and can be purchased at In order to receive the commemorative item, fans must purchase the ticket package through the website. The commemorative item is available while supplies last. Anyone interested in groups of 20 or more should call (323) 224-2642.

Kershaws’ Ping Pong 4 Purpose set for July 30

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

PP4PBy Jon Weisman

Jimmy Kimmel will host the third annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose fundraiser for Kershaw’s Challenge at Dodger Stadium on July 30.

Proceeds will benefit Kershaw’s Challenge, the nonprofit foundation founded by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw that works to transform at-risk communities and the lives of children in Los Angeles, Dallas, Zambia and starting this year, the Dominican Republic.

Among those scheduled to take part in the event, which features a single-elimination ping-pong tournament, include Orel Hershiser, Eric Stonestreet, George Lopez, Kevin Frazier, Jenna FIscher, Josh Henderson, Marcellus Wiley, Alan Thicke, Jaleel White, Tyler Toffoli and Lamorne Morris.

“Our PingPong4Purpose event on the field at Dodger Stadium has become a fun tradition and we are excited to host it for the third year,” Kershaw said for today’s press release. “This event combines two things: our passion for making a difference through Kershaw’s Challenge and a favorite clubhouse activity. We’re looking forward to a great night for a great cause.”

Limited tickets and sponsorship packages still remain. Visit Kershaw’s Challenge for more information.


Surprise friends, family with Ribbon Board message at Dodger Stadium


By Erin Edwards

Do you know a Dodger fan who is about to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or promotion? Why not honor them in front of upwards of 50,000 people at Dodger Stadium?

You can do just that by displaying your message at Dodger Stadium on the Ribbon Board, located below the left-field Dodger Vision screen.

Ribbon Board messages can be purchased online for a cost of $75. This purchase will delight the recipient, and all proceeds go to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation for its mission is to aide underserved youth in the greater L. A. area.

Ribbon Board message details:

  • The message will appear once during the game, at the end of the fifth inning.
  • In approximately six to eight weeks, you will receive a 5×7 color photo of the message.
  • Two lines of text each limited to 34 characters.
  • Purchase online at

Dodger dog: $5.50, Ribbon Board message: $75. Seeing your name in lights: priceless.

Jimmy Rollins nominated for Humanitarian Award


Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jimmy Rollins has been nominated for the All-Stars of Giving Humanitarian Award, recognizing the efforts of professional athletes as philanthropists.

Through May 15, fans can vote to choose the organization’s 10 All-Stars of Giving and then for the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Rollins, who shared baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award last year, has focused on helping children, at-risk youth and families through the Rollins Family Foundation, which is dedicated to providing families-in-need access to fresh food and nutritional education.

— Jon Weisman

Join this year’s 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run at Dodger Stadium

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Dodgers at Giants, 12:45 p.m.
Justin Turner, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

We haven’t yet mentioned this year’s New Balance Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run ((presented by your SoCal Honda Dealers), scheduled for September 13 at Dodger Stadium.

Registration is open at $40 for the 5K or 10K and $25 for the Kids Fun Run. The first 2,000 to register for the 5K or 10K will get a voucher for a free Dodger game ticket.

All proceeds benefit the LADF, and there are incentives for those who join in the fundraising. For more information, visit the official site.

Dodger Stadium to host MLB Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day

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By Jon Weisman

Not only is the April 15 Jackie Robinson Day celebration returning to Dodger Stadium this year after a one-season absence, but on that night, the Dodgers will host the Mariners in the ninth annual Civil Rights Game — the first time that the two events will be held together. The game will air on ESPN2.

MLB developed the Civil Rights Game “to pay tribute to the spirit of the civil rights movement and to honor those who embodied the struggle for equal rights for all Americans.” The Dodgers have played in the event once before, in 2012 at Atlanta.

“It is truly an ideal pairing to have the franchise of Jackie Robinson and the city of Los Angeles join our National Pastime in recognizing leaders of the past and present who have done so much for the benefit of our country,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.  “Together with the Dodgers, Major League Baseball will proudly celebrate the civil rights movement, the courageous people like Jackie who contributed to it, and its many lessons that continue to resonate today.”

Said Dodger owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson: “We’re proud of the role the Dodgers have played in professional sports history as pioneers of social change since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 during the team’s days in Brooklyn. From Jackie to Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Hideo Nomo to Chan Ho Park to now Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers have sought to lead the way and be a model of inclusion in sports and American society as a whole.”

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Robinson signing with the Dodgers.

“Thanks to Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers, baseball was at the forefront of the civil rights movement, integrating long before other parts of our nation caught up,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I’m proud that Los Angeles will play home to this game honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson and all those who stand for freedom and equality.”

Together, MLB and the Dodgers will honor MLB Beacon Award recipients, conduct a youth baseball-focused event and host the “Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion, where “a group of prominent participants will discuss the pivotal role baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game’s continued presence as a social institution in American society.” will stream the panel.

Dodgers turning into runway models?

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos by Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Erin Edwards

It’s true: Members of the 2015 Dodgers and their wives will suit up for a cause April 16 at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s Blue Diamond Gala at Dodger Stadium, strutting down the runway in the newest creations of Ted Baker London.

DSC_5016-2This gave Spring Training a new twist last week, when fashion fittings took place in the visitor’s clubhouse at Camelback Ranch for three days prior to the commencement of games. Stylists from Ted Baker, custom tailors and the LADF crew worked with players to find just the right look.

Those on hand witnessed Juan Uribe salsa dancing as he put on his pink shirt. Uribe said he “needed to make sure his outfit was just right,” so he threw on his gold aviators. (The fittings were inside, mind you.)

And who knew new-to-the-blue Jimmy Rollins had such a flare for fashion, helping pick out his looks? Rollins, the Dodgers’ newly anointed leadoff hitter, is set to lead off the fashion show as well.

DSC_5009One other great highlight was seeing new parents Clayton and Ellen Kershaw take turns holding their sleeping baby Cali, while Mom and Dad took turns getting fitted.

Watching the Dodger players walk down the runway will be just one of the highlights of the Blue Diamond Gala. Tickets are still available. Visit for more information.


Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation donated more than $1 million in 2014

Maggie And Andre Ethier Learning Center

By Jon Weisman

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation donated more than $1 million in 2014 — an 82 percent increase from 2013 — to more than 50 nonprofit organizations.

Organizations receiving grants served more than 800,000 youth and families in need throughout the greater Los Angeles region. The average grant size awarded was $20,000, with grants typically ranging between $500 and $15,000.

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In case you missed it: Justin Turner and prospects on parade

Los Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue Mission

By Jon Weisman

As often as the top Dodger minor leaguers get recognized for their potential, I never get tired of it …

  • Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Darnell Sweeney and Scott Schebler all finished in the top 10 of Carson Cistulli’s admittedly very rough attempt to determine Wins Above Replacement for 2014 minor leaguers at FanGraphs. Bonus: Austin Barnes was 16th.
  • Seager and Urias are in the top 10 of Keith Law’s new prospect rankings at ESPN, with Joc Pederson 28th and Grant Holmes 79th. An excerpt: “Kyle Seager has turned into one of the top 20 players in the majors, but even as good as he is, brother Corey has the potential to be much better.
  • Urias is the No. 1 left-handed pitcher in MLB’s prospect positional rankings, with Pederson the No. 2 outfielder and Seager No. 4 at shortstop.
  • Al Campanis’ many achievements with the Dodgers, before his “Nightline” demise, are reviewed by Mark Armour and Dan Leavitt, who are promoting their book, “In Pursuit of Pennants.” They rank Campanis No. 13 all-time among general managers.
  • Promotions update: Juan Uribe (July 11) and Yasiel Puig (July 19) Bobblehead dates are set. And here’s more:

  • J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News caught up with Justin Turner, who talked about his busy offseason workouts. “I think the key to anything is obviously being on the field and staying healthy,” Turner said. “That was my emphasis this offseason, was to focus on that. Get stronger, get leaner, do some running stuff and prevent any breakdowns.”
  • Here are photo highlights from Tuesday’s caravan stop at Cesar Chavez Elementary School and Wednesday’s activities, featuring Turner.
  • More on video below …

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In case you missed it: Dodgers continue pitching in

Los Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Hollenbeck Middle School

By Jon Weisman

On Day 2 of the Dodgers’ Pitching in the Community caravan (presented by Bank of America) today, Dodger alumni including Al Downing, Lee Lacy (pictured), Tim Leary and Dennis Powell visited Hollenbeck Middle School for a project with City Year, which “works to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students actually need and what their schools are designed and resourced to provide.”

Next, the caravan visited the After-School All-Stars at Cesar Chavez Elementary, led by Al Ferrara, Matt Luke Luke, Powell, Dodger employees and Bank of America volunteers. After-School All-Stars Los Angeles “educates, enlightens and inspires young people by providing dynamic and exciting opportunities for success, while cultivating self-esteem, leadership and respect to help build healthier communities.”

For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.

Meanwhile …

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In case you missed it: 2015 Dodger Caravan begins

By Jon Weisman

Despite this afternoon’s rain, the 2015 Pitching in the Community Caravan, presented by Bank of America, got off to a happy start today with a baseball skills clinic featuring Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez at Garfield High School.

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Dodgers spread Thanksgiving cheer to community

Update: Jon SooHoo has some great photos from Wednesday’s event at LA Photog Blog.

IMG_9023By Jon Weisman

On a beautiful afternoon (and really, I can’t emphasize that enough) at the top of the park at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), in partnership with Ralphs/Food 4 Less, hosted the 10th annual Community Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway at Dodger Stadium — part of the Dodgers/LADF 2014 Season of Giving.

IMG_9019Dodger Alumni League members Al “The Bull” Ferrara, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Matt Luke and Dennis Powell helped distribute a complimentary turkey, fixings and reusable canvas bags to 1,200 pre-selected families and nonprofit community organizations, who will in turn distribute them to Los Angeles area families in need. Levy Restaurants provided complimentary Dodger Dogs for these families and organizations.

The Dodgers also partnered with the offices of Senator Kevin de Leon, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez on the event.

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