LOS ANGELES -- The theme of Don Mattingly's charity event on Jan. 24 is comedy, but the purpose is no joke.
All proceeds from the fund-raiser go to provide underprivileged youth, those in the greatest of need, with equipment to support baseball-related activities for boys and girls.
"There are fund-raisers trying to cure cancer -- I go back to the inner city," said Mattingly. "I grew up in an area [where] I got into fights a couple of times. The Little League coaches mentored [me] and helped me turn away from that activity. It's something I've always wanted to support, and there's a great opportunity in L.A. to do something with the Dodgers Dream Foundation to get into the inner city and reach those kids."
The "Night of Entertainment," being held at the Sports Museum of Los Angeles in partnership between Mattingly Charities and the Dodgers Dream Foundation, will be hosted by entertainer and longtime Dodgers fan George Lopez and will include performances by Ben Glieb, Josh Wolf and Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda, among others.
"It is such an honor to work with the Mattingly Charities and Dodgers Dream Foundation, which foster and serve underprivileged youth through literacy and youth development activities," said Lopez. "Both organizations represent causes that are important to me and are valuable to today's youth."
Mattingly has learned from interaction with youth coaches that the biggest hurdle children face is obtaining such basic equipment as gloves, bats and balls.
"I heard that and I was like, really? That seems crazy for this city," he said. "This fits perfectly for what I want to be involved with. Introduce the game to kids and provide them with mentors."
Mattingly has lined up a list of heavyweights to appear and provide memorabilia for the live and silent auction. Dodgers present and past who are expected to attend include Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Shawn Tolleson, Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Kenny Landreaux, Steve Yeager, Lee Lacy, Jim Gott, Tim Leary and Al "The Bull" Ferrara.
Celebrities expected to attend include Alyssa Milano, Landon Donovan, Chris "Drama" Pfaff and Omar Benson Miller.
The event will include a tour of the museum's collection of Dodgers artifacts dating back to the franchise's infancy in Brooklyn and conclude with a question-and-answer session with Mattingly.
Topping the items up for bid in the live and silent auctions is a Dodgers game experience for two with owner Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who will host the winner and a guest in the owners' box and on the field during batting practice. The winners also will receive dinner in the Dugout Club.
Also up for bids are an original Jackie Robinson art piece by Paul Oester, a Sandy Koufax framed and autographed limited-edition photo series, a VIP experience at Yankee Stadium for four, items featuring Hall of Famers, other sports experiences and items from some of country music's biggest stars. A full list of silent-auction items can be found at www.dodgers.com/mattingly.
Tickets to the event cost $195 and include a cocktail reception, the silent auction, comedic performances, the Q&A with Mattingly and an autographed Mattingly photo. Visit www.dodgers.com/mattingly or call 323-224-1413 for complete details and to purchase tickets. VIP sponsor packages are also available.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.