The Los Angeles Dodgers are known for their community outreach in and around the L.A. area, but little know that during their six-week stay in Glendale, Arizona each year, that outreach continues.
For the third consecutive year, the Dodgers sent over 80 local students from a nearby Arizona charter school to attend a Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training game at Camelback Ranch.
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This year, the team picked up the tab and sent luxury buses to Heritage Elementary School, located just five miles away from the Dodgers Spring Training facility.
Each student received a Dodgers t-shirt, food, and the thrill of seeing a Major League baseball game. For many, that might not seem like much, but most of the students come from low-income households, so to arrive at Spring Training like a superstar is a memory they will never forget.
The kids arrived in style for the Dodgers March 1st game against the Cleveland Indians, a battle of two teams with the best records in the American and National League last season.
The students got to see a home run from Jake Peter in the seventh inning that put the Dodgers up 7-1, followed by a thrilling comeback by the Indians who scored six runs in the eight inning to tie the game, and one in the ninth to win it, 8-7.
Admittedly, the Dodgers were shorthanded at the time, as 26 different players were sent home the day before with flulike symptoms.
"I haven't seen anything like this," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told reporters. "It's a minor setback, I don't think it's much of an issue."
The outbreak that swept through the clubhouse turned out to be the norovirus, and it affected nearly half the team over a three-day span.
The team is still unsure of the origin of the contamination, but believe it might have been the hot tub located in the facility.
A hazardous materials team scrubbed the hot tub, clubhouse, and weight room at the facility last Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will continue to send local students in L.A. to various games throughout the season as part of their annual outreach.