Thursday’s fourth annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose proved once again to be a happy and fun fundraiser for Kershaw’s Challenge. Here are some photo highlights on a night when Will Ferrell (wearing a Vic Davalillo jersey) was the emcee, Susan Sarandon was a special guest, Dennis Gilbert was the honoree, but Clayton Kershaw’s outfit was the star.
— Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
It’s been 40 years since Riverside native Dusty Baker made his debut in a Dodger uniform. He has also spent 40 seasons in the Major Leagues — 19 as a player (including eight with Los Angeles) and 21 as a manager, including this year’s debut season helming the Washington Nationals.
By Jon Weisman
Terry Crews is as big as they come, but his heart is even bigger. And Dodger Stadium has played a not-so-small part in that.
Pat Harrington Jr., the longtime TV performer (“One Day at a Time”), passed away Wednesday at age 86. Harrington graduated from Fordham in 1950 — one year after Vin Scully — and was a guest on the Scully-hosted “It Takes Two” in June 1970.
— Jon Weisman
By Cary Osborne
The offseason brings uncertainty for the Dodgers — a new manager is on the horizon, Zack Greinke, Howie Kendrick and Brett Anderson among those hitting the open market, and who knows what other changes are ahead.
Adrian Gonzalez said he doesn’t feel the same uncertainty that others do.
Frank Sinatra may have sung “New York, New York,” but his eyes were blue, and during Tommy Lasorda’s time as manager of the Dodgers, his allegiance was with his good friend’s team.
In recognition of this being the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth, “Ol’ Blue Eyes” will be celebrated at Dodger Stadium on September 18 with a special event ticket package that includes a ticket to the game and a limited-edition commemorative Dodgers and Sinatra T-shirt.
“Frank was a dear friend to me, he was a Dodger and he bled Dodger blue,” said Hall of Fame manager and special advisor to the chairman Tommy Lasorda. “I am so pleased to join Frank Jr. and the Sinatra family in paying tribute to Frank on his centennial year at his favorite ballpark with his favorite team. In my book, Frank Sinatra is the greatest singer God ever put on earth.”
Sinatra sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 1977 as a favor to Lasorda.
The Dodgers invite fans to join the Sinatra centennial celebration at Dodger Stadium and arrive early to hear Frank Sinatra Jr. perform the national anthem. Additional members of the Sinatra family will be in attendance along with Lasorda. After the game, fans can enjoy Friday Night Fireworks, which will be set to Sinatra’s iconic music.
Visit www.dodgers.com/Sinatra for ticket information.
Actor/comedian Billy Crystal, whose new series “The Comedians” premieres Thursday on FX, is one of baseball’s most famous fans. And though his New York roots run deep, his connection with the Dodgers is longstanding. Read more in this excerpt from the April issue of Dodger Insider magazine. (Click the image to enlarge.)
— Jon Weisman
As we head into April and the imminent arrival of the next issue of Dodger Insider magazine, I thought I’d pass along a story from the March edition. It’s an interview with Ken Jeong, whose falling in love with the Dodgers while growing up in North Carolina is almost as is unlikely as his career transformation from doctor to comic actor. Click the image above to enlarge.
— Jon Weisman
By Cary Osborne
The Dodgers’ Spring Training game in Peoria on Thursday against the San Diego Padres will feature the first appearance of Hyun-Jin Ryu. Then at some point rookie reliever Will Ferrell will come in and then we’ll likely see …
Yes — that Will Ferrell.
The actor and comedian will be suiting up for 10 Major League teams throughout the day – including the Dodgers – to benefit cancer charities.
Ferrell is honoring the 50th anniversary of Bert Campaneris playing all nine positions in one game, in 1965, and will play all nine positions (and DH) during the course of the day in the following Cactus League games tomorrow: Mariners at Athletics, noon; Cubs at Angels, 1:10 p.m.; Reds at Diamondbacks, 2:10 p.m.; Giants at White Sox, 4:05 p.m. and Dodgers at Padres, 6:15 p.m.
“The Dodgers are excited to join MLB in this creative project that involves one of the Dodgers’ most beloved fans, Will Ferrell,” said Dodger executive vice president and CMO Lon Rosen. “We look forward to welcoming Will to Dodger Spring Training and, most importantly, helping him support Cancer for College and Stand Up to Cancer.”
Ferrell’s efforts are part of a special for HBO airing later this year in collaboration with MLB Media and the production team at Funny Or Die. HBO is donating proceeds to Cancer for College, and MLB is raising additional money for that cause in addition to Stand Up To Cancer through the auction of game-used, autographed gear and equipment featured throughout this one-of-a-kind project.
Ferrell will be pitching for the Dodgers, playing the outfield for the Padres and umpiring during Thursday night’s contest, which will air on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.
“Spring Training affords an appropriate setting where our game can serve as the backdrop for an event that will benefit organizations that fight cancer,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. Will is a big fan of our game, and many of us in baseball – among our clubs, players and our millions of fans – are big fans of his. Major League Baseball is happy to take part in what will surely be a fun and memorable day for a great cause.
For your entertainment, here are some more Will Ferrell baseball moments:
Pizza at Wrigley
Kansas City Dugout
By Cat Belanger
This is a mix of top celebrity moments of the year and my own experiences with them. Disclaimer: I am going to complain about having to talk multiple times to David Beckham in this article and hope you feel bad for me.
Chrissy Teigen: In case you missed it, prior to Chrissy’s first pitch, she tweeted that she was drunk. This instantly sparked a ton of publicity surrounding her appearance at the Stadium. But while some people shun her for drinking prior to her first pitch, what they didn’t see was she was treating the whole experience as a fun event (which it really is).
It was her dad’s birthday, and she brought him, her mom and some friends to enjoy the night together. She made her first pitch a great family event. I work with all of our first pitch celebrities, and it’s sometimes sad how celebrities only treat it as a publicity stunt, then leave after rather than enjoy the game. Chrissy enjoyed every minute, from coming early with the family to enjoy batting practice (and some adult beverages), to specially ordering her father a cake to surprise him in the sixth inning. Chrissy was one of my favorite first pitches ever merely, because she had the best time here from start to hazy finish.
Our players fanboying out over Jessica Alba (obviously), Martin Lawrence and David Beckham: One of the differences for me this year was our players had a spike in interest for the big names we had coming through — one being David Beckham. News of David’s attendance spread through the Clubhouse prior to a game — and I was put to work as the annoying autograph asker. There were so many things I needed to get signed by him, I had to go back up to him multiple times with items. This is where I’m complaining that I had to keep talking to David Beckham, but I was even annoyed by me.
- When I introduced him to Don Mattingly, who himself has a very laid back surfer vibe to him, it was like introducing two of the same person to each other.
- When I took Jeff down to the cages to practice his throw, he and his friend/trainer practiced some sort of meditative yoga first. Jamey Wright, Andre Ethier and I watched in awe.
- When we had a mini-meeting with his family and team about him “bowling” the first pitch to start, à la his “Big Leibowski” character, it was just a really interesting conversation — with lots of practice bowls.
- When he drew a pic of his face on a baseball as an autograph for Brian Wilson, who is a mega fan of his.