The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC) partnered to host the fifth annual Dodgers All-Access Event on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
The event provides fans with the opportunity to meet current and former Dodgers players, as well as participate in baseball activities such as batting practice, pitching off a mound with a radar gun measuring how hard they throw, and calling a play in the broadcast booth.
Among those in taking pictures and signing autographs for fans were Austin Barnes and Walker Buehler, as well as franchise greats Ron Cey, Mickey Hatcher, Orel Hershiser, Kevin Kennedy, Tommy Lasorda, Rick Monday, Bill Russell, Steve Sax, Reggie Smith and Steve Yeager.
“The goal of Dodgers All-Access is to give you an insider’s view into one of the most storied franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers,” LASEC president Kathryn Schloessman said.
There is also a philanthropic purpose to the event, with a silent auction that features signed Dodgers and other memorabilia from professional Los Angeles sports franchises, as well as vacations and various items that auctioned off to support both the LADF and LASEC.
Schloessman also spoke about upcoming sporting events coming to Los Angeles, with the 2020 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, 2022 Super Bowl and 2028 Olympics being a few big ones that are already confirmed. They are also currently in discussions to get other events like the Ryder Cup, NCAA Final Four, College Football Playoffs and another NBA All-Star Game back to Los Angeles.
The night concluded with two different panels of Dodgers speaking to the crowd, emceed by Hershiser and SportsNet LA host John Hartung.
First up were Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Buehler and Hersisher. The grouping was fitting as it featured the famed right-hander with one of the organization’s brightest young righties.
Among the topics they discussed were returning from a serious arm injury like Buehler’s Tommy John surgery, playing and learning from a pitcher as great as Clayton Kershaw and Buehler’s recent performance in the first combined no-hitter in Dodgers franchise history on May 4 against the San Diego Padres in Monterrey, Mexico.
To close out the night, a panel of great Dodger outfielders included Monday, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig. Perhaps the most impressive part of this portion of the night was Puig’s ability to entertain fans speaking only English, which he has worked so hard to learn in his few years since coming over from Cuba.
Monday, Puig and Kemp discussed fun topics like who the best dancer and dresser on the team were (which to no surprise, Puig and Kemp picked themselves, respectively), but they were also able to get serious by discussing topics like hitting approach and bringing the first World Series back to Los Angeles since 1988.
That is a goal that Kemp said he has hoped to fulfill for over a decade. Puig and Kemp did not have the best relationship during Kemp’s first tenure with the Dodgers, but they have since mended that relationship and genuinely looked like friends when they were up on the stage talking.
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