MLB, Dodgers, Dodgers Foundation unveil second of five All-Star Legacy Projects
By: Angela Redding
Photos: Diana Castro/Premier Photo Int’l.
Los Angeles, CA, (The Hollywood Times) 6/13/2021–“ Baseball is a great platform. The dodgers in this community, it means a lot. The dodgers mean a lot to a lot of different people, a lot of different families, and it gives us an opportunity to do something. We get a chance to help some kids play baseball.” Dodgers pitcher, Clayton Kershaw
The baseball field at Lincoln Park, one of L.A.’s oldest parks, has been transformed into an All-Star Dodgers Dreamfield.
On Saturday, June 12, 2021, as part of their ongoing efforts to improve the community, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Major League Baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers debuted two new Dreamfields, #55 and #56, at Lincoln Park Recreation Center in L.A.
Moments before the dedication of the two fields, Dodgers pitcher, Clayton Kershaw addressed the young RBI players seated in front of him.
“Hi. How you guys doing? I don’t have much to say but the only thing that comes to my mind is that this is for you guys. All these people here today, everybody around here, we are all here because we want you all to succeed. It’s not just about baseball.
Baseball is just a game. Baseball is a ton of fun. I love baseball. It’s about what baseball represents. It’s about being a part of a team.
It’s about getting the opportunity to do something with friends and being active. Thank you guys so much for letting me be here today. It’s always fun to see these (Dreamfields) completed. It’s a culmination of a lot of peoples’ hard work.
Thank you, parents. Thank you everybody for coming today. Let’s have a good time on these fields.”
Field makeovers, new lighting and windscreen fencing, new bullpens, new solar scoreboards, dugout roofs, and foul poles, and sprinkler/watering system renovations are all part of the renovation of the two existing ballfields.
The refurbished fields are designed to help youth baseball and softball players and will be used by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks as well as the Dodgers RBI programs of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.
Chinyere Stoneham, Principal Recreation Supervisor at Department of Recreation and Parks for the City of Los Angeles answered a couple of questions regarding the renovated baseball fields and their impact on the community.
Q: “Can you tell us a bit about what’s happening today?”
Stoneham: “Today we are here for the ribbon cutting dedication ceremony for the Lincoln Park Recreation Center Dodgers RBI Dreamfields. The Dodgers RBI Foundation has been so kind to install two Dreamfields here at Lincoln Park. We have the main field, which we are on at this time and we also have a softball field for girls that will be a part of this season our Dodgers’ RBI program that will start here at Lincoln Park on June 26, 2021.”
Q: “What does a park with Dodgers Dreamfields mean for the community?”
Stoneham: “This is a big deal for this community because as you know, most Angelenos are Dodgers fans and so the community is really looking forward to the new fields opening up on the 26th (of June). Most of our players will be able to wear the Dodgers RBI uniform. Each player will receive two jerseys, home and away jerseys, the royal blue and the gray. I found that all of our players love wearing the Dodgers RBI uniform. We are very excited to have these two new fields.”
Among the special guests and speakers at the unveiling ceremony and speaking on the importance of the Dodgers Dreamfield projects was Gil Cedillo, Los Angeles City Council member, 1st District.
“This is an incredible moment for us here in Lincoln Heights. It’s wonderful to be here. And for the young people here we are so excited because we built this field for you. This is for you because we believe that you are our future. We believe that you are going to learn to be teammates and you are going to learn to be successful and you are going to build your leadership skills and you are going to be the leaders of our community in the future.
Particularly to the young girls, sports are for you, that’s your domain. You have your own field here. I want to thank Major League Baseball for your own field. You are going to be in a league of your own.
I want to thank the foundation. I love the Dodgers and I want to thank Major League Baseball. You guys are really incredible.
As a grandfather of two incredible young girls, a foster parent… let me say that us creating opportunities for young girls to become young women and to become leaders in our communities is probably one of the most important things we can do in terms of social justice and equity and it makes sense that this would be what the Dodgers do and lead the way by example and by doing.”
Kershaw threw out the ceremonial first pitch after speakers spoke about the event and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Few young baseball players can claim to have caught a pitch from Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
However, as of June 12, 2021, one has bragging rights. After the ribbon-cutting portion of the Lincoln Park Recreation and Park field unveiling, we chatted with Seth Delatorre about the ceremonial first pitch and his time playing baseball.
He doesn’t have a favorite baseball player, but he enjoys playing the game. After the first pitch, Kershaw signed the baseball he pitched to Delatorre.
Q: “What was it like for you to receive that first pitch from Clayton Kershaw?”
Seth: “I was nervous. It was nerve-racking.”
Q: “How long have you been playing baseball?”
Seth: “How long have I been playing baseball, mom?”
Ms. Delatorre: “Since you were four.”
Seth: “So that means six years.”
Q: “Okay, that’s great. What do you think about the new All-Star Dodgers Dreamfield?”
Seth: “I think it’s really cool. I like it a lot.”
Q: “What position do you play?”
Seth: “I’m a back catcher.”
Q: ”How long have you played in that position and do you like it?”
Seth: “One year. I like it.”
Following our time with Seth, Councilmember Gil Cedillo took the opportunity to give young Delatorre some sound advice.
Highlighting the Dodgers Foundation’s objectives
Chaitali Gala Mehta, Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, highlighted the Dodgers Foundation’s objectives during the event.
“By providing a free program to the community, we are working together to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to gain the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in the classroom, on the field, and wherever their future may take them.”
About the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation:
ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is bigger than baseball with ambitions to be the city’s premier charity. We envision a city where everyone regardless of zip code has the opportunity to thrive. We are tackling the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness, and social justice for all Angelenos. Since 1995, we have invested more than $32 million in programs and grants to nonprofits, and fundraising has increased by 1,000% since 2012. That growth has enabled us to do more.