Dodgers Now

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Category: Lou Johnson

Jackie Robinson Day features panel discussion, Dodger Stadium ceremonies to honor No. 42

L0yaronc The Dodgers have scheduled a series of events Friday to honor the 64th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier.

They’ll start off the day with 10 current and former Dodgers holding a panel discussion on Robinson’s effect on baseball and society at Crenshaw High School. Former Robinson teammate Don Newcombe, now a special advisor to Frank McCourt, will moderate the panel.

Also scheduled to appear at the Crenshaw assembly are Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, Lou Johnson and current Dodgers Matt Kemp, James Loney, Marcus Thames, Tony Gwynn Jr., Xavier Paul, and minor leaguer and Crenshaw alum Trayvon Robinson. It is closed to the public.

The Dodgers have also donated tickets to the entire Crenshaw student body for their game June 13 against the Reds.

"The Dodgers and Jackie Robinson have been a team for so many years and they remain a team today,’’ Newcombe said in a statement. "I look forward to helping the next generation of Americans learn all about who Jackie was and how much he means to so many people.’’

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Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Rafael Furcal, Don Mattingly and Steve Dilbeck to appear at Dodgers Community Caravan

You can spend Valentine’s Day with Andre Ethier.

Or, if you prefer, The Times' dashingly handsome Dodgers blogger, Steve Dilbeck.

Here’s the catch: You have to pick up garbage.

The Dodgers’ two-day community caravan will start Feb. 14 with a stop at the Los Angeles River, where Ethier, Don Mattingly, James Loney and Tom Lasorda will be part of a group cleaning up the banks of this majestic … ah, who are we kidding?

Fans who would like to pretend they were convicted of driving under the influence and forced to do community service can register to take part in the event at dodgers.com/caravan. Space is limited to the first 250 fans.

Participants for the second day of the caravan will include Matt Kemp, Rafael Furcal, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Fernando Valenzuela.

Here’s the caravan schedule:

Monday, Feb. 14

Participants: Mattingly, Ethier and Loney; former Dodgers Lasorda, Steve Garvey, Bobby Castillo, Tommy Davis, Kenny Landreaux and Rudy Law; Dodgers broadcaster Steve Lyons.

10 to 11:30 a.m. Los Angeles River Cleanup (Public must pre-register for a chance to participate)

The Dodgers in partnership with the Los Angeles City Council District 1, Councilmember Ed P. Reyes and Los Angeles Conservation Corps/Los Angeles River Keepers will clean up the banks of the L.A. River.

Dodgers fans must pre-register online to participate. The event is open to the first 250 registrants that sign up at www.dodgers.com/caravan.

Noon to 2:30 p.m. Visit to USC University Hospital, the Official Hospital of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Hospital employees only)

The Dodgers will join USC University Hospital public health workers for lunch as a thank you for their dedication to healthcare and research.

3 to 4 p.m. LACER (Literacy, Arts, Culture, Education and Recreation) at Thomas Starr King Middle School (Open to program participants)

LACER, a longstanding Dodgers community partner, provides after-school activities to underserved middle and high school youth. The Dodgers will join the LACER youth in playground activities and gardening.

5 p.m. Lopez Tonight Taping in Burbank

The Dodgers will make an appearance on George Lopez’s national show to share their community service experiences.

 
Tuesday, Feb. 15

Participants: Furcal, Kemp, Gwynn Jr., Jay Gibbons and Gabe Kapler; former Dodgers Valenzuela, Don Newcombe, Ron Cey, Derrel Thomas and Lou Johnson; Dodgers broadcasters Charley Steiner and Pepe Yniguez.

9:30 to 10 a.m. Los Angeles Fire Department, Station 3 (Open to media only)

LAFD Chief Millage Peaks, Councilman Tom La Bonge and Los Bomberos President Phillip Dominguez will join Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti and Furcal in announcing the donation of a LAFD fire truck to Furcal’s hometown Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic.

10:30 a.m. to noon Heal the Bay, Santa Monica (Public must pre-register for a chance to participate)

Dodgers fans will join the Dodgers on a Heal the Bay cleanup at Santa Monica beach. The event is open to the first 750 fans that register online at www.healthebay.org/events. Participants will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win autographed baseballs, Dodgers tickets and raffle items at the day’s event.

12:30 to 2 p.m. West Valley LAPD (West Valley LAPD Personnel Only)

The Dodgers will join the officers at the West Valley LAPD station for lunch as a thank you for their service in protecting the greater Los Angeles Community.

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. High School Visit (Open to media only)

The Dodgers will surprise the baseball and softball teams of a local high school and offer playing tips and instruction.

4 to 5:15 p.m. Dodgers Dreamfield Dedication Ceremony at Northridge Recreation Center

The Dodgers Dream Foundation will dedicate its 10th Dodgers Dreamfield at the Northridge Recreation Center. Councilman Greig Smith will join, and youngsters from the community will participate in the field’s first clinic with the Dodgers, who will instruct them on the fundamentals of baseball.
 

-- Dylan Hernandez 

Dodgers' Web doings: Oh, the pain of John Lindsey's near debut

Was that just tortuous, watching John Lindsey strolling up to the plate for his first at-bat after 16 years in the minors … only to be called back by Joe Torre?

After Lindsey was announced as a pinch-hitter Wednesday, the Padres made a pitching change and Torre then called on left-hander Andre Ethier. Who promptly hit into a double play.

Lindsey was goodhearted about his near debut, writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, though many on the Web were harsh on Torre for teasing the 33-year-old outfielder in a lost season.

The Dodgers, however, feel they have an obligation to the teams still in the race to try to win every game against a contender. Lindsey figures to get his debut in the four-game series beginning tonight in Houston. The Dodgers have flown his family in.

MikeSciosciastragicillness.com thinks that regardless of the situation, Torre should have let Lindsey bat. MemoriesofKevinMalone.com’s Chad Moriyama thinks it was the only reason left to watch the game and doesn’t buy the obligation-to-other-teams bit.

Also on the Web:

-- Yahoosports.com’s Tim Brown takes a sympathetic look at Torre’s situation with the Dodgers and his looming announcement on whether he will return to manage the team next season.

-- The Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth notes that Thursday is the 45th anniversary of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, a 1-0 victory that set an MLB record for fewest hits in a game -- one by Lou Johnson.

-- SportsIllustrated.com’s Lee Jenkins offers an insightful look at the dysfunctional ownership of Frank and Jamie McCourt, which includes a glimpse of how Peter O’Malley views the painful proceedings: "It’s embarrassing."

-- ESPN/LA.com’s Tony Jackson thinks that how the Dodgers finish their final 22 games will have effect on how they are remembered, and they should show some pride.

And ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian thinks the Dodgers are in a position to determine the outcome of the National League West winner.

-- Expanding the postseason to include two wild-card teams would add more credence to actually winning your division, argue both SportsIllustrated.com’s Tom Verducci and ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Checking in with Tommy Davis, still the L.A. Dodgers' only batting champion

Davis He seemed a lonely island of offense, surrounded mostly by singles-hitters and speedsters.

Tommy Davis was a phenomenon on those great early-’60s Dodgers teams, a hitting machine who seemed almost out of place in an offense spurred by speedsters Maury Wills and Willie Davis.

"We manufactured runs, and with the pitching we had, the formula was OK,’’ Davis said.

The legendary pitching, of course, included Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres and Claude Osteen.

And although massive Frank Howard could provide some much needed pop, it was Davis who was the consistent offensive threat. His 1962 season remains one of the greatest in Dodgers history -- a .346 batting average, a team-record 153 RBIs , 230 hits and 27 home runs.

"It didn’t come totally together,’’ Davis said. ``We didn’t win.’’

That 1962 batting average won him the first of consecutive National League batting crowns, the only two in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

Davis, 70, now lives in Alta Loma with his wife, Carol. The father of three girls and one son, he continues to work with the Dodgers’ speakers bureau. He also makes visits to the team’s lower minor leagues for hitting instruction, as well as continuing to provide private hitting lessons. He also owns a small marketing company that manufactures T-shirts and hats.

Davis was born in Brooklyn, but didn't make it to the majors until the team moved to Los Angeles. And that might not have happened but for a late phone call.

"I was getting ready to sign with the Yankees because they had shown more interest," he said. "But then I got a call from Jackie Robinson."
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