Dodgers reveal favorite players on Zoom
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers held their second Zoom party on Monday night in what is becoming a weekly diversion from the pause, with National League MVP Award winner Cody Bellinger and staff ace Clayton Kershaw among the participants.
Bellinger and Kershaw were joined by teammates Enrique Hernández (in costume), Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Ross Stripling and former Dodgers Andre Ethier (in full uniform), Steve Garvey, Adrián González and broadcaster Orel Hershiser, with a cameo guest appearance by Cedric the Entertainer.
The Zoom party, which was attended by more than 11,000 fans, was hosted by Dodgers broadcasters Joe Davis and Alanna Rizzo and included Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the seventh-inning stretch. Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” ended the party, as it does after every Dodgers home victory.
A new feature in Monday's Zoom party was fielding several fans questions, which provoked interesting dialogue among the players.
A fan named Gail, who said her favorite player when she was young was Tim Wallach, asked the players who their favorite player was when they were growing up. Wallach turned out to be a popular choice.
Kershaw said Wallach was one of his favorite coaches to hang out with when he served on former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly’s coaching staff. Kershaw said that his favorite player growing up was Will Clark, when he played for the Rangers. Kershaw wears No. 22 as a tribute to Clark.
Turner told the story that running into Wallach at a Cal State Fullerton alumni game led to his signing by the Dodgers. Turner said he served as a CSF batboy when Mark Kotsay and Reed Johnson were Titans, then he played against them in the Majors.
Bellinger said that his favorite was Derek Jeter, “but I also grew to love Manny Ramirez. I loved the way he played and loved his baggy jersey.”
Garvey, whose father drove the Dodgers team bus during Spring Trainings in Vero Beach, Fla., reeled off a list of superstars he got to meet as kids. “[Pee Wee] Reese, [Gil] Hodges, [Mickey] Mantle, [Al] Kaline, [Stan] Musial. It was a different time,” Garvey said. “You collected baseball cards and they came to life when you met these guys.”
The players also were asked if they get pregame jitters and how they handle them.
“I still get nervous. When you stop, it’s time to hang them up,” Turner said. “Sometimes I get the fear, what if I forget how to hit? Then the first pitch, deep breath, everything’s fine. Especially in the offseason to the next season.”
Stripling said that he takes a picture of each pitch grip “because I might legitimately forget.” And there was the anticipated exchange with Kershaw, whose game face is legendary.
“You hear about how intense he is, yeah, whatever,” Stripling said of the warnings he received when he was called up. “Then you make eye contact with him before a game and you melt.”