Dodgers' Loney hosts charity bowling event
Slugger joined by teammates, celebrities for youth fundraiser
LOS ANGELES -- James Loney has been the host of the State Farm Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza for three years running, and he still isn't the best bowler in the family.
Loney's 18-year-old brother, Anthony, already has a perfect game to his name.
"I've been bowling for about five years now," Anthony said Monday night at Lucky Strike Lanes. "I've been in three leagues at once. Now I just bowl on occasion."
Though they're seven years apart, James Loney would watch his brother bowl or play soccer when he could. The two had a chance to hang out this spring when Anthony, soon to be off at college, worked at Camelback Ranch. As brothers always are, they're competitive.
"Oh yeah," Anthony said. "Bowling, everything."
The Loney brothers were joined by fans, celebrity bowlers and about half the Dodgers' roster Monday, all on hand to raise money for charitable initiatives dedicated to Greater Los Angeles youth. Loney got involved with the Bowling Extravaganza three seasons ago, co-hosting his first year with former Dodger Brad Penny. That year, Loney was the Dodgers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his commitment to the community. He also in 2008 launched his own initiative, "Loney's Lounge," which has supported UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital, White Memorial Hospital and RBI Los Angeles.
"It's good for everybody to come out here and support the event and get a turnout," Loney said. "Just have a nice social night. We don't like to do much on off-days, but this is a nice relaxing environment, nice way to spend the off-day."
The Loneys were raised in a home that valued giving. Loney's parents, Annie and Tony, knocked down pins on Monday too. A teacher as James grew up in Houston, Annie would bring home some of her fifth-grade students to keep them on the right path.
"I specialized in bilingual Spanish-speaking students, and I used to bring my kids home with me, my fifth graders, to get them out of the inner city," Annie said. "Maybe James saw that."
The Dodgers, on a three-game win streak, were off Monday before starting a three-game series with the visiting Brewers at 7:10 p.m. PT Tuesday.
Matt Kemp, taking pictures and signing autographs, said he slept in until 11 a.m. Monday and got to catch up on some TV. Lakers guard Jordan Farmar took time out from the NBA Western Conference semifinals.
John Ely, one start and barely two weeks into his Major League career, was just taking it all in.
"This is definitely something else," he said. "It's real cool to be here and get to experience something like this, especially for the first time. It's a little much all at once."
There was no particular standout bowler on the Dodgers. Ely said he was just trying to break 100. Clayton Kershaw joked he bowled with his right arm to protect his left.
Russell Martin and Blake DeWitt were there too, as was George Sherrill. The players weren't only contributing their time; they made financial contributions as well.
"It's always good to raise money," said Kemp, who bought circles on the raffle board. "The Dream Foundation is real special to James Loney and the Dodgers. They support the things I do so I come out and support the things they do."
Don Mattingly, who's been involved in countless charitable events, including golf events for Joe Torre's Safe at Home Foundation, said the feel at the lanes matched the feel of the Dodgers clubhouse: "young guys out having fun."
Actor Tom Arnold strung together a spare and strike, knocking down a golden front pin on the latter, which earned him box seats to a Dodgers game this season. He'll have a pretty good view on Tuesday: he's throwing out the first pitch. Arnold is currently hosting Fox Sports Net's "Kid Pitch," a baseball news program.
"The Dodgers are so great about their community outreach," Arnold said. "I don't know of a team anywhere that connects with its community like they do. Whether they're winning or losing, it doesn't matter."
Attendees bid on silent auction memorabilia, including game-used autographed equipment and jerseys. The centerpiece was the "Green Monster" live auction, held in between the two rounds of bowling. The package included two tickets on the Green Monster at Fenway Park for the Dodgers' June 20 game against the Red Sox, JetBlue airfare and a two-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston.
David Brennan, the Dodgers Dream Foundation fundraising manager and Monday night's administrator, said the event was sold-out and raised more than $120,000. The turnout, both he and players said, was the best in the event's six years.
"This is definitely the biggest one yet," said Brennan, who had been planning since last fall. "It's a great event."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.