The Los Angeles Dodgers were welcomed Friday to City Hall, where some members of the City Council admitted to being a tad star-struck.
“This is such a wonderful day. I’m just so tickled pink,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who donned a Dodgers baseball cap and uniform prior to the team’s arrival.
“We’ve all grown up watching the Dodgers,” Koretz said. “The Dodgers always give back, the Dodgers always help.”
About two dozen Dodger players and coaches were on hand when Councilman Gil Cedillo recognized the team for its 12th annual “community service caravan,” in which team members visited young people at stops around the city and announced grants for youth and community programs.
The visit to City Hall was also made to raise awareness about the team’s support for the Wounded Warriors Project, which offers support to injured service members.
But it wasn’t long before the team’s upcoming season became the topic of discussion, with player Yasiel Puig promising that “this year we are going to give you guys the championship.”
Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, the team’s former manager, said “I feel it in my bones” that “this is the year we’re going to raise that flag.”
The council also got an introduction to one of the team’s new additions, Howie Kendrick, who spent the last eight seasons with the Dodgers’ cross-town rival, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the city more … even though I’m only 20 miles away from where I used to be. … I’m definitely excited about being up here in this part of L.A. and I guess the real L.A. team is what everybody always said,” Kendrick said to approving cheers.
Cedillo singled out Kendrick during his presentation, telling him, “You are a Dodger now, and there is nothing in the world like being a Dodger, and you know that now, right?”
“Oh yeah, I’m starting to realize that and understand that,” Kendrick responded. He said the community support in Los Angeles is on a different level than what he experienced in Anaheim.
After the presentation, the Dodgers invited military service members, city employees and the public to dine on Dodger Dogs at a reception in the Bradley Room at the top of City Hall.
The Dodgers also invited fans to Saturday’s free Fanfest event at Dodger Stadium.
Earlier this morning, Dodger athletes led warm-up exercises for students at South East High School in South Gate. They were scheduled this afternoon to visit Inner-City Arts to join elementary school students in activities ranging from Brazilian dance to filmmaking.
— City News Service