Both as an organization and with players acting individually, the Los Angeles Dodgers have long been active in the community and in tune with issues that extend beyond baseball.
That was evident last August when the Dodgers supported Mookie Betts in boycotting a game against the San Francisco Giants. They were among the MLB teams to follow in the footsteps of the Milwaukee Bucks, who protested a playoff game in response to the Jacob Blake shooting.
That was followed shortly after by the forming of the Players Alliance, which Dodgers teammates Mookie Betts and David Price are part of.
The group’s mission is “To create an inclusive culture within baseball and the community, where differences are leveraged to elevate racial equality and provide greater opportunities for the Black community, both in our game and the places we live in, play in, and care about most.”
Over the past several weeks the Players Alliance has been giving back to communities across the United States through a “Pull Up Neighbor” tour. The latest stop was in Phoenix, Arizona, which saw Cody Bellinger among the players to participate.
The experience was one Bellinger thoroughly enjoyed, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
“This is just awesome,” said Bellinger, who won the NL MVP in 2019 and helped lead the Dodgers to last year’s World Series championship. “I know there are a lot of players that live in Arizona, but look at this turnout, from all ages, minor leagues, big leagues, retired, World Series champions. It’s really cool to be a part of.”
Price also was on hand and he emphasized the need for MLB to continue engaging with the Black community:
“I feel like every single year in spring training and throughout the year,” said Price, a 12-year veteran, “we ask what can baseball do to reach out to the African-American community. I never had the answer to it. Then, this came along. I think this is a big start to give everyone the supplies that they need to play baseball and to raise awareness of African Americans in baseball.
“Its huge because it’s not the way it used to be in the game of baseball. I grew up watching the (Atlanta) Braves in the ‘90s. There were a ton of their players who looked just like me, and that’s why I fell in love with the game. Now, to see these guys come out here, with all of their aspirations, it’s making a difference.”
Reports indicated upwards of 50 current and former players were on hand in Arizona. The tour rolled into Las Vegas, which wound up being the final stop. The Players Alliance planned to visit multiple cities in California but had to cancel those because of a stay-at-home order.
Kershaw joins Players Alliance
Clayton Kershaw has been vocal about needing to use his platform to support the Black community and fight against systemic racism, and when the Players Alliance arranged a drive-thru event in Dallas, Texas, he was there in the snow to distribute equipment and food.
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