Dodgers Host Charity Golf Invitational

Oh, sure, a bunch of millionaire ballplayers on an off-day socializing during a golf tournament in California. What's the big deal? Well, it is a big deal because the tournament, the sixth annual Dodger Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational, raises money to create educational, athletic and recreational opportunities for the youth of the Greater Los Angeles area.

    Starting pitcher Derek Lowe, who was in attendance Thursday, is one of the Dodgers who has really opened up to the Dodgers' community by hosting the Bowling Extravaganza and the Mattel Children's Hospital's Lowe's Heroes.

Sponsors got the opportunity to golf with their favorite current Dodgers, former Dodgers and coaches. The event, which was sold out, included different contests, a live and silent auction and free giveaways for all the participants.

The DDF was founded in 1998, and its main initiative is the Dodgers' Dream Fields program, which is a partnership between the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. The program has fielded seven Dream Fields in the city and an eighth is currently in progress at Playa Vista Little League Field.

The foundation hosts several fundraising events each year, including the DDF Message Board, Community Wall of Fame and silent auctions. In addition, the program also sponsors Lowe's Bowling Extravaganza and the Charity Golf Invitational.

The event featured a legendary roster of former Dodgers including Jimmy Campanis, Rudy Law, Tommy Davis, Lou Johnson, Bobby Castillo, Joe Moeller, Kenny Landreaux, Wes Parker, Jay Johnstone, Don Newcombe, Erik Karros, Al Downing, Ron Cey, Rick Monday and Fernando Valenzuela.

Manager Grady Little made the trek from his home in Pasadena on his new motorcycle that center fielder Juan Pierre bought for him in exchange for the No. 9 jersey.

Former Dodger and 1992 Rookie of the Year award winner Karros took the time to greet fans and friends as he joined the golfers for a little putting practice before the tournament.

"Something I learned coming up in the Dodgers organization is that the Dodgers are a family rich in tradition," Karros said. "Some of the things that I've molded my life around I learned from Tommy Lasorda and the O'Malleys."

This year featured the highest turnout of current players and former legends. One of the main reasons the Dodgers continue to lead the National League in highest annual attendance is because of the involvement in the community.

Dodgers first base coach Mariano Duncan summed up the feeling and the appreciation that the fans, players and coaches have for the Dodgers. "Once you wear that blue, it doesn't matter if you retire or if you coach, you're always a part of the family," Duncan said. "In your heart you'll always believe you're a Dodger."

OK, OK, I understand. Then I want to know why I wasn't invited?

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