Fernando Valenzuela became a household name in Los Angeles many years before he became a United States citizen. When he did take a test and an oath and join about 8,000 others at a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center last summer, Valenzuela did something he never could at Dodger Stadium: He blended in.
Now, Valenzuela is in the spotlight again. The retired pitcher and current Dodgers broadcaster joined Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and León Rodríguez, Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, on a conference call Thursday to stress the importance of citizenship. Valenzuela is officially a “Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization,” the public face of a nationwide movement to encourage legal permanent residents, especially from Mexico, to apply for U.S. citizenship.
“I get to vote in my first presidential election,” Valenzuela said. “If anybody has a chance, an opportunity to be a citizen, why not? They can do it. It’s very important.”
The message is simple, but it may be powerful. Few names and faces are more recognizable in the local Mexican-American community than Valenzuela’s. On Friday, leaders from the civic and private sectors will convene in Los Angeles to further the goal of encouraging citizenship. Valenzuela’s involvement from this point forward isn’t clear, but for a day his message was.
New manager Dave Roberts said he’ll continue the tradition of using Dodger alumni as spring training instructors. Don Newcome (left), Tommy Lasorda (second from right) and Maury Wills (far right) have all coached or spoken to players in recent years. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)
PASADENA — Dave Roberts
is less than two months into his job as the Dodgers’ manager. Speaking at John Muir High School on Tuesday afternoon, part of the team’s annual community caravan tour, Roberts said he has touched base with most of his players, “quite often actually.”
After his engagement at the high school, Roberts said he planned to pop into Dodger Stadium, where the club’s Player Development staff is holding a leadership camp with select minor leaguers.
There’s still plenty on his docket between now and the time pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training — Feb. 19, a mere 24 days away. To that end, Roberts touched on a few aspects of what lies ahead in his first camp:
Dodger Stadium will host the fourth annual FanFest on January 30. (Staff photo)
The fourth annual FanFest at Dodger Stadium is scheduled for Saturday, January 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking gates open at 9:30 a.m. Parking and admission are both free of charge.
For the first time, fans will require a ticket to obtain the event. Anyone planning to attend will need to go online and download the free ticket from www.dodgers.com/fanfest.
Here’s more about the event, per a team press release:
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (holding the Stella Artois can) and comedian George Lopez play ping pong at Dodger Stadium in 2014. (David Crane/Staff photographer)
Jimmy Kimmel will again host Clayton Kershaw’s annual PingPong4Purpose tournament July 30 at Dodger Stadium. More details, and a tentative list of celebrity participants, were announced in a press release Monday.
Tickets for the public are available; see below in the full release: