The Los Angeles Dodgers assembled a convoy on Friday and bused north from Dodger Stadium for a day of laughs and healing. The 2020 Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour rolled into Saugus High School for a pep rally that featured multiple games.
The visit marked the second consecutive year the Dodgers’ annual community week made a stop where a tragic shooting took place. Last January, the Dodgers participated in a luncheon with first responders and people affected by the massacre at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.
Students received a rally towel and Dodgers cap with ‘#SaugusStrong’ stitched on the side as they entered the gym. They are still recovering from last November’s shooting when a classmate killed two students before turning the gun on himself.
Those lost aren’t forgotten, and students are still on the mend from the tragedy, but they welcomed the Dodgers with open arms. “It was awesome to hear the kids fired up,” Justin Turner said.
“The ovations the guys got, no matter who they were when the walked in the building, was pretty cool. Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row we’ve done an event like this for a community after a shooting. Although the reason for being here is not something we want, it has made for a couple really good events.
“For us to get out in this community tour, visit kids and families, it’s been a really good experience. That’s what the community tour is for, is to get out in the community, give back, create memories, experiences, take some pictures, sign some autographs and take people’s minds off anything that is bothering them at the time.”
Each player received a loud ovation when they were introduced and separated into four groups — one each representing a class level of the high school. Matt Beaty, Walker Buehler Gavin Lux, Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling and Turner were among those selected to participate alongside a student in one of the various games.
From Saugus High School, the Dodgers contingent went to the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department. The setting was much more subdued, but players and Sheriff personnel all the while enjoyed a barbecue lunch and opportunity to socialize.
“I’m glad we’re able to do this, when it’s still on their minds,” Stripling said. “The shooting was two months ago, so still very fresh. The Dodgers do a good job of getting out in the community.”
“We’re definitely appreciative of the Dodgers coming out to this community, which was hit pretty hard obviously by the tragedy,” L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “Nothing like some Dodger blue to lift up the spirits.
“Their outreach and all the community events the engage in is so nice. It tells you what a class act the organization is and what it means to all of L.A. County.”
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