Tagged: caravan

L.A. River Clean Up

A little late, but better late than never.

Today was the first day of the two day Dodger caravan. When I read that the first event was going to be cleaning up the LA River, my first thought was … I wonder if it’s anywhere near the section of the LA River were I live.
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Sure enough, it was only a few blocks down the river from my house …
On the other side!
I know there were a lot of people who were not happy with how this year’s caravan was set up. But I enjoyed it. I had a good time. Once the players arrived and were announced, we started cleaning. The only current players were James Loney and Andre Ethier (Ethier arrived separately as he was just arriving from the airport). The former players included Tommy Davis, Rudy Law, Kenny Landreaux, Bobby Castillo, Jimmy Campanis. This event included two managers… current manager Don Mattingly and former manager Tommy Lasorda.
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At first, they had us go into our groups. The players were divided up among the groups. After about ten or fifteen minutes, it became more of an amoeba than several different groups working. Cameras were rolling and snapping every where. It was kinda interesting to be picking up trash and then realizing there was a video camera on me.
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I liked it. The players were able to mingle and talk with fans as we all pitched in to pick up trash. As bags were filling up, fans started taking pictures with players and asking them for their autographs. It was very casual. I waited till towards the end. By then, I already filled up one bag and started a second. I found a binder (full of mud), a door mat, and a golf ball. Patrick O’Neal was there and he found two golf balls.
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At least no one found a stool!
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Though there were a few rusted shopping carts stuck here and there.
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I managed to get two of the three autographs I needed in my scrapbook. I got Loney and Mattingly, and a picture with the new Dodger skipper. He is a sweet, sweet man!
Again, overall, I really enjoyed this experience. Though I may have had an ulterior motive … maybe not ulterior. But at least I get a sense of satisfaction in helping out my community since I do live in the nearby vicinity… granted on the other side of the tracks. I definitely enjoyed this one better than I have in recent past. Though Canter’s is probably still my favorite.
Now that I’ve been up for about 28 hours… it’s time for a nap!
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Dodger Caravan – Day One

Let me just say … from the moment I got up, it was one string of bad luck after another. Quick story – accidentally deleted all my Dodger photos from 9/20 – 10/16 (five games, two autograph signings), went to get gas and ended up waiting over 15 minutes for my change, and by the end of the day, I kept hoping for things to get better.

Nina and I got to ESPN Zone a little before nine. There was no one there yet. A few people arrived right after we did. We started on one side of the ESPN Zone, but then found out the line was actually going to be on the other side. So they moved us over. There weren’t any signs anywhere, so we didn’t really know that it was supposed to start on that side.

Fast forward to right before the event began … they had two tables and two wristbands. But they weren’t telling us who was on what table. All they told us was, there was a cancellation and a surprise guest. We already knew who the surprise guest was. Thank you, Twitter. They weren’t even going to tell us anything except “It’s luck of the draw” on whose table you got. They handed everyone in my group (just the three of us) a red wristband. They were giving every other group. We went in and got seated. They assured us that when it was time for autographs that they would keep the same order. Guess what? Surprise, surprise. They didn’t. On the red table, they had Al Downing, Tommy Lasorda (the special surprise guest), and Tommy Davis. On the yellow table, they had Andre Ethier, Ken Landreaux, Bobby Castillo, and Rudy Law. After lots of cajoling, I manage to swap bracelets with David’s wife (he was in line behind us).

Before the players showed up, Josh Rawitch walked by. He stopped to say hi and chat with us. He asked us what time we got there and I told him nine. He said, wow. He had heard people were already there by 10, but he didn’t believe it. I told him, if Wolfie was still on the team and would be at the event, I would show up at three in the morning! He said I’d have to go to Milwaukee for that. I mentioned that the Dodgers will be in Milwaukee right after Randy’s birthday. He noticed my scrapbook and commented on it. I told him I should have him sign it, right next to the other Josh, since they were always competing with each other during the Think Cure auction.

When it was time to start the autograph session, they took the row of tables in the middle first. Apparently, showing up at 9 AM and being the first people there really didn’t give us much of an advantage. You’ll see why later on. When it was our row of booths turn to go, we found out that we got the table we didn’t want. Nina had photos with Bobby and Ken that she wanted signed. Afterward, we realized I should’ve gotten the photos from her since I switched lines. Nina and Cat actually got ahead of me, so I managed to get a picture of Tommy signing her baseball for her. He took a spoonful of soup, signed her ball, placed the ball on the table, and then rolled it to her!

It was my turn to get my things signed. Andre was up first. With the help of others, we selected the photo from the paper when Andre “reacts after his bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning brings home the decisive run” against the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLCS. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind adding the Silver Slugger on there. I had to think about it, cause I almost said “gold” but then I was like, no, wrong precious metal. So, he wrote “2009 Silver Slugger” and then he paused and added “+” and kept going. After he signed his name, he said “I added that.” “That” being, he added “MLB Clutch Performer of the Year”. How sweet was that! Since he wrote all that, I was holding up the line. .
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At first I felt bad about it. But afterward, I didn’t feel so bad
anymore. I noticed people were taking photos with him, so I asked him
if I could get a quick one. I apologized for holding up the line. I have 3 other photos with Andre, one in 2007, two in 2008. This one was definitely the BEST of the four I have. Sadly, I didn’t have one with him in 2009. So I missed a year. LOL I think the only person who I have a photo with EVERY year is Steve Lyons. Last year, the only opportunity I really had at getting a photo with him was either the Caravan or Photo Day. And you all know what happened at Photo Day. If you don’t, long story short, Andre didn’t stop to take a photo with anyone (at least not that I’ve heard or seen so far). At last year’s caravan, I suppose I could’ve tried, but I didn’t think about it. At least last year, I got a fist bump from him!

2010-02-02 011.JPGHere’s Andre signing my scrapbook. After Andre, it was Ken Landreaux, Bobby Castillo, and Rudy Law. I asked Bobby if he had any french fries yet? Last year at Canter’s, he came by our table and saw our food sitting there. He said he was so hungry because they hadn’t fed them yet. We offered him some of our fries. He took some … and kept coming back for more! When I came to Rudy, I pulled out a baseball card that I had found in my collection. He saw the inside cover when I pulled it out and he commented that he already signed the book. I told him, yeah, he signed it at least year’s event when it was only this (two fingers) big. He asked me how did the book get so big? I told him it does it by itself as I add more articles to it. He told me thanks for coming and I told him, anytime.

After I got my things signed, I went back to our table. We hung around and mingled. I told David and his wife thanks for swapping with me. After people paid for their checks and got their autographs, the screening room cleared out. About half an hour into the event, Tommy Lasorda left and they combined the two tables into one long table so it didn’t matter what color wristband you had! Man, too bad we weren’t further back in line. I already have Tommy’s autograph and so did Cat. We wanted to see our friends Bobby and Ken (and of course Andre). Like I said earlier, apparently being the first people to show up at 9 didn’t really give us much of an advantage. I got to talk to Jon SooHoo (the official photographer of the Dodgers –
and my fellow John Marshall High School alum) and Josh Rawitch again. I told him I was serious about having him in my book, since I have the other Josh. He made a comment about he’s not a player, so he doesn’t have a number to put by his name or even KABC like Josh did, so under his name, he wrote “PR Guy”. It’s great that Josh took his time to talk to us.

2010-02-02 016.JPG Thanks Josh! Hope we weren’t a thorn in your side.