Throughout their years at Camelback Ranch, the Los Angeles Dodgers have annually opened up their doors to some of the franchise’s more recognized and renowned figures. On Saturday, in stepped Steve Garvey as a guest instructor for the first time.
Shortly after retiring, the former Dodgers first baseman visited the team during the spring at Historic Dodgertown. But that was in an unofficial capacity, and Garvey was mindful to not become a distraction.
Such was not the case this time around, as Garvey addressed the clubhouse during the team’s daily meeting. “Steve Garvey talked to the guys, which was great,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“He came in and talked about his days as a bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He captured the room and he nailed it.” Garvey’s message also centered on the importance of enjoying the journey to reaching the Majors.
“There were two themes. No. 1, the evolution of our lives and careers in the blink of an eye. You start out as a young boy, playing Little League and on a traveling team. All of a sudden you blink and now you’re in college, you’re being drafted, you’re with an organization and you’re on the journey trying to get to the Major Leagues. You blink and you’re there,” he said.
“And then all of a sudden you blink again and you’re halfway through your career, and you blink again and now you retire. The most important thing is to nurture and nourish each one of those steps.”
Although Garvey concluded his career by spending five seasons with the San Diego Padres, he’s synonymous with Dodgers lore. His association and emotional ties to the franchise were highlighted in the team address.
“The second part was, you should feel something special when you put a Dodger jersey on,” Garvey said. “Yes, there have been historic franchises. Everybody thinks of the Yankees, the Cardinals, and maybe the Tigers. But nobody over the last 70 years has influenced the game more than the Dodgers.
“They have been good times and bad, but now they’re consistently competitive year in and year out. The evolution from bankruptcy to where the franchise is, I said I’m proud of it. But I said it’s all about each of you feeling something when you put [the uniform] on and creating more history.”
Garvey stressed he isn’t looking to encroach on what coaches are teaching players, and wants to be viewed as “resource.”
“I just mention little things, one thing to each guy, if I see something,” he added.