The Los Angeles Dodgers held their first-ever Dodger Zoom party on Monday night for about 11,000 Dodger fans. The Zoom party was hosted by Alanna Rizzo and Joe Davis, and they were joined by past and present players, Coach Dave Roberts, Oral Hershiser, Jamie Jarrín, Ned Colletti, a few celebrities and a few other prominent Dodger figures. It was a great evening to bring fans together during such an interesting and confusing time in our lives. Being quarantined and without baseball has been difficult for many, but this one hour Zoom party brought smiles to several thousand faces, including mine.
People all around the world have made Zoom their new normal for talking and staying connected with loved ones. It has also become a way for me to stay connected with my favorite baseball team. When I heard this was happening, I couldn’t have been any more excited. I had no idea what it was going to entail but I didn’t care. It had been almost six weeks since I had seen anything Dodger related (besides all the old games they have been showing on TV, which have also been pretty awesome).
“It’s not just baseball. It’s not just a sport. It’s about something to look forward to,” Alanna Rizzo said. “It means a lot more than just hitting a ball and just catching a ball, but this matters to people. It is like a part of your life, or a part of your soul has been taken away.”
Organist for the Dodgers, Dieter Ruehle, kicked off the Zoom party with the national anthem. Hearing the national anthem gave me goosebumps. When I closed my eyes, I could feel the slight breeze in the air, I could smell the Dodger dogs, I could taste the saltiness of the roasted peanuts and I could feel all the excitement that comes along with being inside of Dodger Stadium.
Joe Davis went on to say, “It’s a perfect night for baseball, so let’s pretend that is what we are doing.”
It was an hour of chatting about what everyone has been up to, how some are helping out during the pandemic, how players are staying in shape and several jokes cracked by the one and only, George Lopez.
The following are a few of my favorite moments from the Dodger Zoom party.
1. Justin Turner working with the LA Dream Center.
During the pandemic, Turner has been helping the LA community by working with the Dream Center to donate meals to families in need. They recently just hit 400,000 meals that were passed out to families and people who have been struggling during this difficult time. This just proved to me how dedicated and caring these players are for the city they represent. Their fans and the community come first.
2. George Lopez made some references to the Houston Astros and the cheating scandal.
Alanna Rizzo tried to mute George Lopez’s mic as much as she could, knowing he might say something about the Astros that was not PG rated. Sure enough, he got a few comments in throughout the Zoom. At one point, Nomar Garciaparra’s mic was not working. Lopez went on to say, “I think Nomar should hit up Altuve for some recording equipment because his microphone wasn’t working so well.” Brad Paisley even altered his 2017 Dodgers World Series sweatshirt by painting “Champs” onto the sweatshirt.
3. We heard from the man himself, Vin Scully.
The Zoom party ended with a little surprise at the end. It was a special message from the legend, Vin Scully. He reassured Dodger fans that he was out of the hospital and recovering in the comfort of his home after taking a fall. Scully said, “I also would like to thank all of you for your good wishes and prayers after I had my head first sliding accident. In case you care, I was called out.”
He went onto thank all the first responders who are helping during these unusual times.
He ended with, “Remember, sooner or later you are going to hear it. It’ll be time for Dodger baseball!”
There was no better way to end a Dodger Zoom party than hearing those words. And I believe it to be true. Soon, this will all be over, and we will get back to doing what we love, which includes watching our favorite teams hit the field.