Dodgers players help community to end caravan
Friday's four stops devoted to pillars of 'live, learn, play and serve'
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson were among the Dodgers participating in the club's 11th annual "Pitching in the Community" Service Caravan on Friday.
Nineteen members of the 40-man roster made the day's events: Mike Baxter, Nick Buss, Drew Butera, Crawford, Tim Federowicz, Stephen Fife and wife Alyssa, Dee Gordon, Javy Guerra, Alexander Guerrero, Jansen, Matt Magill and wife Melissa, Jarret Martin, Puig, Paco Rodriguez, Seth Rosin, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Justin Sellers, Scott Van Slyke and Wilson. Also on the caravan were broadcaster Charley Steiner and assistant hitting coach John Valentin.
The four stops with the players Friday followed four days of community outreach featuring Dodgers alumni. The weeklong initiative concludes Saturday with the annual FanFest in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.
"Last year, our mission was to restore the brand," said Renata Simril, brought in by new ownership as senior vice president of external affairs. "This year, we're expanding the brand. Helping the community is what the Dodgers are all about."
Simril said the theme of the week has been "live, learn, play and serve." From Monday through Thursday, the caravan dedicated one full day to each of those "pillars," with one stop for each Friday.
The morning began at Kidspace Children's Museum in the shadow of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. On what would have been the 95th birthday of Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers hosted 42 students from nearby Washington Middle School, which Robinson attended. Players led a physics workshop and participated in experiments at the museum.
On Jackie Robinson's birthday, the 1st stop on the Caravan is Kidspace w/ 42 kids from Washington MS, his alma mater pic.twitter.com/tQ1TFvyRCH- Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) January 31, 2014
Next on the caravan itinerary was Homeboy Industries, which provides training and support to high-risk men and women formerly involved in gangs and operates seven social enterprises that serve as job-training schools. Players worked in the retail store, the bakery and cafe and assisted in maintenance.
After lunch, the caravan moved to Weingart East L.A. YMCA, which is committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen and improving the community's health and wellness. Activities included a Q&A session, fitness and stretching, and arts and crafts.
Finally, the bus rolled into Jesse Owens Park in Los Angeles to dedicate the 32nd and 33rd Dodgers Dreamfields, along with the county of Los Angeles, LA84 Foundation and Hollywood Indies Little League.
Among those taking part in the dedication were Nichol Whiteman, executive director of the Dodgers Foundation; the office of county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; county Department of Parks and Recreation director Russ Guiney; and Patrick Escobar, vice president of grants and programs for LA84 Foundation. The dedication was followed by a hitting and pitching clinic by the players with the Little Leaguers.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.