Manager Don Mattingly, two-time Cy Young Award-winner Clayton Kershaw, outfielder Andre Ethier and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez were among the featured speakers. Leading off the program was Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, followed by Dodgers team president Stan Kasten, GM Ned Colletti and Major League Baseball chief operating officer Rob Manfred, with former Dodgers Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser serving as master of ceremonies.
In his remarks, Kasten delighted the audience when he offered some breaking news on the Dodgers' ongoing cable TV dispute, a development from six Congress members asking the disputing parties to submit to binding arbitration.
"I've heard within the past hour that Time Warner has accepted the binding arbitration," Kasten said. "If DirecTV and the other cable providers agree to accept it, we don't have wait until there's an outcome -- we can put the games on TV right away, as early as tomorrow night."
Fans who paid $550 apiece, or $5,000 for a table for 10 -- with all proceeds going to two nonprofits, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation -- had a chance for some up-close and personal moments with some of the men who wrote much of the Dodgers' history in L.A.
In the dining area on the infield dirt near third base, two-time NL batting champion Tommy Davis, 75, and former catcher Steve Yeager, 65, shared World Series stories. Davis recounted the Dodgers' 1963 sweep of the Yankees; Yeager, the 1981 World Series tri-MVP, who still instructs Dodgers catchers, came back with: "We won four in a row, too ... but we lost the first two," also against the Yankees. Standing just behind them, third baseman Ron Cey -- also an '81 World Series tri-MVP -- was signing autographs and posing for photos in the exact spot he played defense for the Dodgers for 12 seasons.
Fan participation was a prominent feature. In the Dodgers' bullpen, fans young and old had their pitches clocked on the radar gun held by legendary scout Mike Brito, who signed Fernando Valenzuela. Alas, no one had exceeded 61 mph about an hour into the program. In the visitors bullpen, 1981 NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner Valenzuela offered pitching tips. They must've helped, as the night's top speed ended up being 78 mph.
Hitting instruction was handled, not on the field, but in the batting cages under the stands, adjacent to the dugouts. On the Dodgers' side, 1962 NL MVP Maury Wills, 81, gave tips to fans hitting off a tee; on the other side, seven-time All-Star Reggie Smith, 69, worked with prospective hitters taking their hacks off a pitching machine.