GLENDALE, Ariz. — A linked chain of metal fences line the dirt paths at Camelback Ranch, separating fans from the players and coaches who walk from field to field. Most of the players probably don’t need the protection. Demand for autographs is high but the fervor is usually calm. Remember, there are 61 players in camp. Most won’t start the season in the majors, and none of them are Matt Kemp. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gets his share of autograph requests too, but he’s not exactly fending off the pens and baseballs and hats.
The man who needs the metal fences the most is a slender 79-year-old who lives in rural Pennsylvania. Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-“special advisor,” is here all week — advising, watching, chatting. Sometimes he signs autographs.
Koufax is not expected to arrive today until later in the morning, maybe noon local time. That — and intermittent rain throughout the morning — did not stop Koufax fans from lining up behind the fence at 5 a.m.
Here’s what the line looked like by 9:30:
We think this story ends with Koufax signing autographs for some of those people, and not signing for others.
That’s how it usually ends at least. If not … updates throughout the day.
Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias posted this photo to his Instagram account Thursday, along with the caption:
“Que personaje de los mejores zurdos en el negocio Mr. Sandy koufax.. bendecido por mi dios #teamwey”. Roughly translated: “The VIP from the best left-hander in the business Mr. Sandy Koufax … blessed by my God #teamway”
Clayton Kershaw’s bobblehead graciously posed for this picture posted to the Dodgers’ official Twitter account.
The Dodgers filled out their 2015 bobblehead lineup Friday with four heavy hitters: Sandy Koufax on August 13 (vs. Reds, 7:10 p.m.), Justin Turner on September 1 (vs. Giants, 7:10 p.m.), Fernando Valenzuela on September 16 (vs. Rockies, 7:10 p.m.) and Vin Scully on September 23 (vs. Diamondbacks, 7:10 p.m.).
The Dodgers will offer 10 total bobblehead giveaways this year. The other six:
· May 12 (7:10 pm) vs. Miami Marlins; Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead
· May 23 (7:10 pm) vs. Colorado Rockies; Adrian Gonzalez Bobblehead
· June 4 (7:10 pm) vs. St. Louis Cardinals; Kenley Jansen Bobblehead
· July 6 (7:10 pm) vs. Philadelphia Phillies; Maury Wills Bobblehead
· July 11 (7:10 pm) vs. Milwaukee Brewers; Juan Uribe Bobblehead
· July 29 (7:10 pm) vs. Oakland Athletics; Yasiel Puig Bobblehead
The Dodgers also added two postgame movie nights to the 2015 calendar: The Lego Movie on June 20 (4:15 p.m. vs. San Francisco) and Back to the Future on August 15 (6:10 p.m. vs. Cincinnati).
Screenings are free with a game-day ticket. Fans sitting in the right field pavilion and left field pavilion will be invited down to the field postgame for a better viewing experience.