By Dennis J. Freeman
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers have created more dreams with their latest baseball oasis in South Los Angeles.
The 50th Dodgers Dreamfield was officially unveiled Sept. 22 at Algin Sutton Recreation Center with more than 200 youths, former and current Dodgers, elected officials and local dignitaries who turned out to take part in a formal ceremony.
“We are so proud to have reached our goal of building 50 Dreamfields, but know that there is still much more work to be done,” said Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Executive Director Nichol Whiteman. “These fields have given our local youth a sense of pride and ownership every time they step onto the mound or slide across home base. The value of these dreamfields cannot be overstated and we are excited to have the chance to share everything that baseball and softball have to offer with even more communities over the next several years.”
Current Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig, along with former team stars Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Steve Yeager and Manny Mota took part in the program as well as Los Angeles City Council members Herb Wesson and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, state Sen. Holly Mitchell, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was not present for the ceremony, issued in a statement about the 50th Dodgers Dreamfield milestone through a video presentation. More than $10 million has been invested in these baseball fields since 2003.
“It’s baseball diamonds like these that create an inspiring platform for our young players to learn about teamwork,” Ridley-Thomas said.
Puig, through his Wildhorse Foundation, Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, the Tyler Development Corporation, the LA84 Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, City of Los Angeles, and the Bruce P. Rubenstein Family, were the chief donors to this $300,000 project at Algin Sutton Recreation Center.
“I am proud to partner with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation for their 50th Dreamfield,” said Puig. “I hope this field will ignite the children’s love of baseball and I hope the sport will bring as much joy to their lives as it has to mine. Giving back to the Los Angeles community with a gift that will impact future generations is truly an honor.”
The hourlong ceremony went a step further than just local luminaries exalting in the glow of 50 Dodgers Dreamfields. An unexpected announcement was made that the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation would do its part in making sure another 25 baseball diamonds are created. The foundation will drop an additional $10 million over the next 15 years to have 75 ballparks erected to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles in 2033.
“I’m proud of our whole organization for the work that they do through the community, and nothing represents that more than our dreamfields,” Kasten said. “We do, literally, thousands of touchpoints with our community over the course of a year, whether it’s a literacy program, reading to kids, visiting hospitals, speeches, clinics. … We do thousands of those, and all of our players are involved across the myriad of programs. But no program is as meaningful to as many people as the dreamfield program.”