The Los Angeles Dodgers were honored to receive the Disability Rights in Sports Award at a dinner on November 13 in Los Angeles. This award from the Disability Rights Legal Center recognizes the Dodgers for the recent improvements at Dodger Stadium. Transforming a 50 plus year old venue into a place that complies with ADA was a challenge but an important upgrade. The improved circulation, wider concourses, added ADA seating and accessible restrooms, have made Dodger Stadium more accommodating for all fans, especially those with physical challenges.
The award was presented by Joni Campanella-Roan the daughter of Roy Campanella and was accepted on behalf of the organization by Dodger Coach and former Dodger catcher, Steve Yeager. Also in attendance were Dodger alumni Tim Leary and Dennis Powell along with Dodger’s Senior Vice President of Planning & Development Janet-Marie Smith who was instrumental in renovations to the stadium.
In honor of Veterans Day, the Los Angeles Dodgers continued their commitment to support and honor our nation’s service members by hosting the 3rd Annual Veterans Day Batting Practice on the field at Dodger Stadium. 100 members of the U.S. Armed Forces were invited out along with their families to a day of fun on the field and received special batting practice t-shirts, commemorative photos and a Dodger Challenge Coin.
Guided by Dodger Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda (U.S. Army), and Dodger Alumni Roy Gleason (US Army and Purple Heart recipient), “Sweet” Lou Johnson and Al “The Bull” Ferrara, everyone was able to take part in hitting on the field, throwing in the Dodger bullpen and hitting in the batting tunnel. Tours of the newly renovated stadium including the Dodger clubhouse were also offered.
The day concluded with a hitting contest which service members competed for prizes. First place winner Staff Sergeant Hunter Holmes, U.S. Air Force, will be recognized as the Veteran of the Game at the Dodgers’ 2014 Opening Day at home.
Kicking off Veterans Day early, Dodger alumnus Billy Ashley visited with residents at the Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles on November 7. Ashley, whose father served in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, was honored and touched to meet with the residents. He presented Dodger blankets and a commemorative Dodger Challenge Coin to each veteran.
Our 2013 National League Cy Young Award Winner was bestowed another impressive accolade when he was honored and received the Roy Firestone Award at the West Coast Sports Associates annual dinner on Sunday, November 3, which benefits at-risk kids and gives them an opportunity to play sports. The award recognizes Kershaw for his commitment to the communities in Los Angeles, his home town of Dallas and his work in Africa.
Los Angeles Dodgers alumni and staff joined nearly 200 UnitedHealthcare employees as they participated in “Days of Service and Play” at eight “Dodgers Community of Schools” locations. Both organizations worked together with the goal of having a meaningful impact on the health and wellness in the school communities surrounding Dodger Stadium.
Volunteer activities varied at each school, but were divided into two service categories: recreational play and school beautification. Volunteers worked with representatives from Playworks to bring the power of play to the schools with recreational play. School beautification was led by Los Angeles Conservation Corps such as cleaning of playgrounds, landscaping and restriping of play areas.
The eight schools visited were Allesandro Elementary School, Ann Street Elementary School, Dorris Place Elementary School, Castelar Elementary School, Logan Elementary School, Clifford Street Elementary School, Solano Elementary School and Elysian Heights Elementary School.
In an effort to continue to honor Jackie Robinson’s legacy and increase resources for gifted students of color, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation hosted the 2013 JAZZ on the Grass (JOTG) benefit which featured phenomenal Jazz performances.The JOTG Honorary Host Committee included, Sharon Robinson, Don and Karen Newcombe, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Matt Kemp, Frank Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Paula Madison. The proceeds from this event directly benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a 40-year old college scholarship program that provides both generous four-year college grants and comprehensive support services to highly motivated students of color with financial need.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, in partnership with the LA84 foundation, Republic Services and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, dedicated two new Dodgers Dreamfields at Rancho Cienega Recreation Center. With the addition of the two new fields, there are now 30 completed Dodgers Dreamfields. Dodger alumni Fernando Valenzuela, Derrel Thomas, Kenny Landreaux and Wes Parker were in attendance and also conducted a youth baseball clinic following the dedication for youngsters from Rancho Cienega Recreation Center.
Adrian Gonzalez was named the Dodgers’ 2013 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. The award recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The Roberto Clemente Award pays tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.After being acquired by the Dodgers during the 2012 season, Gonzalez immediately connected with the Los Angeles community. Gonzalez chose to support PADRES Contra El Cancer, and he and his wife Betsy also launched “Adrian Gonzalez’s Viva Los Dodgers Days”. Gonzalez also supports education with The Adrian Gonzalez Scholarship program that began in San Diego, continued in Boston and will start in Los Angeles in 2014. Gonzalez, a four-time All-Star, this season led the Dodgers in hits (171), homers (22) and RBI (100). He also reached the 20-home run mark for the seventh time in the last eight years. Gonzlaez hit .303 (88-for-290) in 79 games at Dodger Stadium, which was the 14th-best home mark in the NL. “I’m truly honored to be nominated for this award that pays tribute to Roberto Clemente, one of the greatest in the game who also had an extraordinary impact off the field with his philanthropic efforts,” said Gonzalez. “Everyone should strive to be the type of man Clemente was and I am humbled that I am the Dodgers’ nominee for this prestigious award. It is very important to me and my wife to give back to the community and I look forward to doing so much more.”
On Sept. 27, the Los Angeles Dodgers honored winners of the 34th Congressional District Art Competition. Each year Congressman Xavier Becerra and other members of the United States House of Representatives recognize hundreds of young artists nationwide who participate in the national Congressional Art Competition, “An Artistic Discovery”, in which students have the opportunity to enter an original piece of artwork. Art Competitions are held locally and one winner from each district is selected to visit Washington D.C. and view their artwork displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.
Sunday, September 15th, was World Alzheimer’s Day at Dodger Stadium. The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Paul Fox, an award winning record producer, known for his work with the Wallflowers, Bjork, Phish and 10,000 Maniacs, threw the ceremonial first pitch. Fox was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and is an active ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association.