LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers conducted a Zoom party on Monday night for 11,000 fans, featuring appearances by current and former players, entertainment celebrities and a very special message from Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, back home and recovering after being hospitalized for injuries suffered in a fall last
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers conducted a Zoom party on Monday night for 11,000 fans, featuring appearances by current and former players, entertainment celebrities and a very special message from Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, back home and recovering after being hospitalized for injuries suffered in a fall last week.
Scully’s message -- “Sooner or later, you’re going to hear it: it will be Time for Dodger baseball” -- was muffled a bit by technical glitches, but it was nonetheless a reassuring ending to an upbeat hour of baseball and personal conversation Dodgers figures provided for what initially was expected to be 1,000 fans, but demand exceeded 25,000 requests.
• Scully surprises fans during Dodgers Zoom party
The event was hosted by broadcasters Joe Davis and Alanna Rizzo. Guests included manager Dave Roberts (sipping his Red Stitch cabernet); current Dodgers Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Joe Kelly, Kenley Jansen and Will Smith; former Dodgers Eric Karros, Ron Cey and Steve Yeager; broadcasters Jaime Jarrin, Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Ned Colletti and Jerry Hairston Jr. Celebrities included Brad Paisley, George Lopez, Jaleel White and Miles Brown.
Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle kicked off the event with the traditional national anthem, setting the tone for a game-like hour that included a “Cap Shuffle” introduced by Dodger Stadium P.A. announcer Todd Leitz, Ruehle returning with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh-inning stretch.
Turner batted leadoff for a change and gave an update of the community work on behalf of his Foundation and the Los Angeles Dream Center, providing meals to students that are not in school. Joc Pederson shared his excitement over news that he and wife, Kelsey, are expecting a second child.
Roberts said he remains hopeful about a season, adding that he’s “been killing the Pelaton and spending a lot of family time.”
Kelly, sporting a Joe Exotic Zoom background, just welcomed twins, while Jansen confirmed he’s learning to play piano during the pause. “Helping my mindset and everything,” he said. Jansen also showed a video clip of an upcoming Dodgers Hometown Series segment shot over the winter at his Curacao home.
Paisley showed off his 2018 World Series hoodie (edited with a new winner) and talked about the free grocery store he and wife Kim opened in Nashville that serves individuals and families experiencing food insecurities and financial hardship. The country music star also grabbed his guitar and offered a few bars of his newest song, “No I in Beer.” The avid Dodgers fan said he misses those moments in concerts when the control room would update him on Dodger scores.
Karros said he actually misses four-hour rain delays, because he didn’t realize how essential baseball is to his life, especially this year.
“Having been at Spring Training for eight or nine days, I was fired up,” he said. “This season, probably in all my time as a Dodger fan since the early '70s, this is probably the most exciting preseason prelude into the season. Just keeping my fingers crossed we can get something going this year.”
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.