Dodger fans watching today’s game saw the team enter the bottom of the ninth, down 5-0, only to score seven runs, capped off by a walk-off three-run shot by A.J. Ellis.
But it’s what happened afterward that prompted this post.
Sitting inside my office at Camelback Ranch, I have a view of Maury’s Pit, the mini field here where the players work on their bunting with Dodger legend, Maury Wills. In the afternoons, it turns into a playground for all the Dodgers’ players kids as they wait for their fathers to get done “at work.” In fact, yesterday a five-year-old Rafael Furcal Jr. was absolutely crushing baseballs using a Major League-sized bat.
Then today, right after watching the ninth inning unfold on TV, I looked outside my window and saw A.J. Ellis’ kids playing around in Maury’s Pit. As he walked up in street clothes, just a few minutes after hitting a game-winning homer in a Major League game (albeit a Spring Training one), there were no congratulatory high fives or adulation…he simply picked up his son and immediately turned back into “Dad.”
Quite often, we forget that these players are actually people just like the rest of us but served as a fantastic reminder, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person. A.J. is truly one of the most genuine people I’ve ever encountered in the game of baseball and his family is equally as awesome.
Congrats to all of them on their family’s game-winning hit and on having an All-Star dad.
Quite a debut for Mr. Barajas last night…I know that we expected him to provide a boost to the offense from the behind the plate, but hard to imagine he would have done what he did yesterday that helped lead to a win. And the fact that he grew up loving Vin Scully makes it even more cool for him to have a debut like that.
And, it’s actually nice that A.J. Ellis got to make the trip to Milwaukee, where he makes his offseason home, and spend a few days there with his wife and kids before reporting back to Triple-A. For those who hadn’t read about it when it happened, he actually watched the birth of his son via webcam earlier this year because he is that dedicated to this organization. Now, he’s getting a little time with the little guy and you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer person in baseball than A.J.
Also, congrats are in order to Eric Collins, who was named one of the Big 10 Network’s lead football broadcasters today.
And finally, for those still interested in the Inside the Dodgers Tour, please see below for more details. Right now, I believe we only have about nine people, which I think makes it clear that this doesn’t really need to be an annual event. But, I’m happy to host those nine people and anyone else interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org