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What The Dodgers Mean To Me    

What The Dodgers Mean To Me

Strike One Baseball Academy photographed by Atiba Jefferson.

By Justin Tejada

Being a sports fan is about being part of a community, part of a tribe. It is an experience that runs deep, stretching across generations and bridging social, cultural, and economic boundaries. Being a true fan is about more than watching a team play games. It is about a shared identity and the shared belief, however crazy it may seem, that the support of fans matters. Fans may not account for anything that shows up in a box score, but any fan who has screamed at the top of their lungs to pick up their team when it was down and then seen the team’s fortunes turnaround knows in their heart of hearts that their cheering made a difference.

In baseball, few teams inspire that passion greater than the Los Angeles Dodgers. And that passion has been rewarded with the team advancing to three of the past four World Series and entering the 2021 season as the defending champs.

For Madhappy for the Los Angeles Dodgers, we wanted to celebrate the fans as much as we did the team. So we gathered a group of true blue Dodgers’ diehards for a photo shoot and asked them to share their favorite memories of the team and their message for the squad heading into the new season. 

Harry Schwartz, 22, Westwood

“My favorite Dodgers memory is eating ice cream out of the little hats during the seventh inning stretch while singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” If I could send a message to the team right now, I’d say thank you for bringing it home during coronavirus when I really really needed something to be happy about.”

Jackson Prince, 24, Beverly Hills

“When I was a kid, I would go to probably 27 or 30 home games a year. I wanted to stay till the ninth inning of every game, so my dad would pack PJs for the car ride home because it was a long drive. I just remember that after every Dodgers victory or every Dodgers loss, I would get into my PJs. Then we would listen to Dodgers radio, and I would just fall asleep. That drive home was so satisfying. If I could send a message to the team, I would just say, ‘Thank you.’ I feel so connected to this team. My childhood is this team. My adulthood is this team. I’m just so grateful to be a Dodger fan.”

Jonathan Prince (Jackson’s Dad), 62, Beverly Hills

“I was born in Beverly Hills and went to Beverly Hills high school, where my mother went. She was a Dodger fan. My son also went there, and he is also a Dodger fan. We sit in the same Dodgers seats that my grandfather bought in 1961. They’ve been in this family forever. My favorite Dodger memory would be going to my first game as a five-year-old watching Sandy Koufax pitch. My second favorite would be bringing my son to his first Dodger game in 1997. If I can send a message to the team right now, I would say nothing but thank you. Thank you for the losses, thank you for the wins, thank you for driving me crazy, thank you for making me happy, thank you for bringing me joy.”

Holden Thomas photographed by Atiba Jefferson.

Holden Thomas, 23, Pacific Palisades

“My favorite Dodgers memory was catching my first foul ball when I was nine, it was the third inning, and it was pretty epic. My message to the team is to thank them for all the hard work during the last few years, finally getting over the hump and giving us all something special during such a crazy year.”

Scott Bennett with his son, Chuhk Bennett, photographed by Atiba Jefferson.

Scott Bennett, 63, Cheviot Hills

“My favorite Dodgers memory was when I was there with my son, he was about eight years old. The Dodgers were down ten runs in the eighth inning. It was a boy’s night out, so we were staying till the end of the game no matter what, even if they were losing horribly. Then they started hitting home runs and knocking in runs, and they ended up winning that game. My son and his friend were on the railing swinging their shirts around, screaming at the top of their lungs. It was just one of the most amazing comebacks I have ever seen.”

Bentley Deason, Strike One catcher, photographed by Atiba Jefferson.

Bentley Deason, 10

“My favorite Dodger memory is when Mookie Betts hit a grand slam.” 

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.