Ho, ho, ho! 'Tommy' Claus greets fans
Dodgers Holiday Caravan ends with party for season-ticket holders
LOS ANGELES -- Santa Claus resides at the North Pole, and apparently now "Tommy" Claus resides at Dodger Stadium.Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda dressed up as Santa Claus on Sunday, much to the delight of fans at the "Fabulous Fiftieth: A Season to Remember" celebration for season-ticket holders at Dodger Stadium on the last day of the Dodgers Holiday Caravan. But Tommy Claus, as he was called, was surprised by one participant who cut in line and sat right on his lap. That participant, though, was Dodgers outfielder Delwyn Young, who was just pulling a prank on Lasorda. "At first he didn't realize who it was, so he was upset a little bit," Young said. "But then he saw it was me and he had a good laugh." It was one of several memorable interactions for Lasorda, who took pictures with fans for more than an hour while dressed as Santa. "If you can put a smile on somebody's face, then that's the great thing about it," Lasorda said. "People are so wonderful and I love people. I just love our fans." But it was one of many ways the Dodgers celebrated the holidays as more than 2,000 fans attended the event and interacted with current Dodgers Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James McDonald, Clayton Kershaw and Young, and former Dodgers Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, Derrel Thomas, Kenny Landreaux, Tommy Davis, Jimmy Campanis, Chuck Essegian and Rudy Law. The event celebrated the Dodgers' 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles with festive activities such as hitting in a batting cage, face painting, a silent auction, carnival games, stadium tours, taking pictures with World Series trophies at home plate and getting autographs from the players. "It was excellent," said Dodgers fan Eddie Gonzalez. "I got to meet the players. It was awesome. They should have this more often because it's not very often you get to meet players, especially older veterans. You really get to interact with these guys." The players were easily accessible because many of them held "Chalk Talks," in which they taught lessons about baseball. Fans could ask baseball-related questions to any of the players while the players generally talked about their positions. One of the most popular talks was given by Kershaw, who demonstrated how to throw a fastball and a curveball. It was a fun lesson given by the 20-year-old left-hander, who is already known for having one of the best curveballs in the National League. "Anytime you can be a part of something like this, you do it because you're giving back to the people who watch you play," Kershaw said. "It's a great event." Other chalk talks included a discussion on catching from Campanis and Yeager, hitting from Essegian and sportsmanship from Law. "I just talked to young kids about attitude and discipline," said Law, who played with the Dodgers in 1978 and 1980. "I was telling them it's all right to have dreams and goals and to think when and not if." The spirit of the holidays was clearly present at the stadium as Christmas music played through the loud speakers and fans were in a holiday mood. "It was great," said Will Wright, who has been a season-ticket holder since 1977. "Everyone seems like they were in good spirits. It was a nice Christmas gift." It was the first event of its kind for the Dodgers but based on the positive feedback from both the players and the fans, it could become an annual event at Dodger Stadium. "I think it would be a good fit for all of our fans," Young said. "It's good because it shows we have their support when the season is not going on and that we appreciate them. It works well for both parties."
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.