A grand night at annual fundraiser for baseball scouts
That was some event Dennis Gilbert pulled off Saturday night in his eighth annual awards dinner to raise funds for the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
Interesting mix of people at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Scott Boras, Gilbert's bitter rival back when he was an agent, was there. (I find Boras increasingly annoying because he hasn’t aged a day in 20 years.)
Peter O’Malley was there, arriving just a few minutes before Frank McCourt, who apparently borrowed some gas money from Fox to make the three-block drive over from his Beverly Hills hotel. Don’t think they discussed O’Malley’s view on how "the current Dodger ownership has lost all credibility throughout the city."
Commissioner Bud Selig was there, but as far as I could tell, McCourt still couldn’t corral him for a few minutes to discuss his financial state.
Times columnist T.J. Simers did try to get McCourt for a few minutes, but in a packed lobby, McCourt responded: "In your ... dreams."
Some people just have a knack for continuing to endear themselves.
There were loads of former baseball greats, both as honorees and presenters -- who knew Tom Seaver was hilarious? Brooks Robinson, Robin Yount, Joe Garagiola, Bobby Valentine, Jim Fregosi and Seaver were among those honored.
Actor James Caan, Roy Firestone, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Tommy Lasorda, Dave Winfield and Selig were among the presenters.
Reinsdorf said he was supposed to present Seaver with his award but was told by Gilbert at the last minute that there had been a switch.
"I asked him why and he said, 'Because I can’t find anyone who will introduce Bob Uecker,' " Reinsdorf said. "I said, 'Who’s Bob Uecker?' "
Said Uecker after taking the dias: "Thanks, Larry."
Lasorda had an unintentionally funny slip-up when he thanked his boss, "Peter O’Malley," at first referring to him as Paul. Then he seemed to catch himself and thanked his current boss, McCourt, whom he said he'd seen in the lobby.
It seemed a highly successful event. The ballroom was packed. Regular Joes -- of the wealthy variety -- mixed with ex-Dodger manager Joe Torre (bet he was able to talk to Selig), ex-players Bobby Grich, Tim Leary, Frank Robinson and numerous others I couldn’t even begin to discover in the crowd, celebs Rob Reiner and Larry King and team broadcasters Charlie Steiner and Jaime Jarrín.
With the auction, the sponsors and the dinner tickets, some serious money was raised for the scouts. Gilbert’s awards dinner has grown into a big-time, national event, which is terrific for the often-forgotten scouts.
-- Steve Dilbeck