Community Caravan starts in style
Kershaw makes surprise appearance after signing deal
LOS ANGELES -- A group of Dodgers past and present, joined by the unexpected appearance of National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, participated on Tuesday in the opening day of the two-day Dodgers Community Caravan, devoted to joining fans in giving back to the Los Angeles community.
Kershaw joined teammates Dee Gordon, Tony Gwynn, Kenley Jansen, Adam Kennedy, Josh Lindblom and Ramon Troncoso -- along with former players Tommy Davis, Shawn Green, Dennis Powell, Al Ferrara, and broadcaster Eric Collins -- on Day 1 of the Caravan.
The first day's itinerary started with a visit to Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, the Dodgers' ThinkCure partner, where players interacted with patients. The caravan then moved to Mayberry Elementary School in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers served lunch and interacted with the students.
The Caravan stopped for lunch at Mercado La Paloma, and was joined by Kershaw moments after the announcement that he had signed a two-year contract to avoid arbitration. Kershaw came directly from his physical exam.
After lunch, Kershaw and the Caravan headed to the LA Regional Food Bank in Los Angeles, where Joseph Wolfe, Emma Amaya and 48 other selected season-ticket holders joined the Dodgers in packing food bins for distribution to residents in need.
"[It was fun] standing elbow to elbow with the [Dodgers] greats ... past and present," said Wolfe, a season-ticket holder for nine years. "I work construction, and I've missed opportunities like this in the past. But today, I took a vacation day. I packed food with Tony Gwynn. I sit behind him in left field. And we got a surprise with Kershaw."
The final stop on the first day of the Caravan was in Altadena at Five Acres, The Boys' and Girls' Aid Society of Los Angeles County, an agency that works to prevent child abuse and care for, treat and educate emotionally-disturbed and neglected children and their families. The players ran a clinic for the children and Farmer John Dodger Dogs were handed out.
Wednesday's scheduled lineup has current players Javy Guerra, Jerry Hairston, James Loney and Lindblom; former players Fernando Valenzuela, Maury Wills, Lou Johnson, Bobby Castillo, Derrel Thomas and Ken Landreaux; and broadcaster Charley Steiner.
The day will open at Frances Blend School in Los Angeles, the only day school for the blind west of the Mississippi. The players will participate in music, sensory and living skills sessions with the students.
The caravan then heads to the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, where players will have a BBQ lunch with the Compton College baseball and softball teams and the UYA staff.
After lunch, the bus heads to the Habitat for Humanity in Lynwood, where the players will participate in the restoration of a home and meet the recipient family.
The final stop on the Caravan will be at Normandie Recreation Center in Los Angeles, for the dedication of the latest Dodgers Dream Field -- provided in partnership by the Dodgers Dream Foundation, LA84 Foundation and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
Dodgers senior vice president Howard Sunkin, LA84 Foundation president Anita DeFrantz, City Councilman Ed Reyes and executive officer of the LA Department of Recreation and Parks Regina Adams will participate in the dedication.
Players then will conduct a clinic for selected children.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.