Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Players React to Owner’s $50M Pledge: ‘If These Guys Make It, It’s Going to be Really Good for the Community’

Speaking at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s annual charity gala Thursday, team owner Mark Walter announced a $50 million donation to help LADF continue its mission to improve education, healthcare, homelessness, and social justice. 

Then, Walter laid out an even bigger surprise: an additional $50 million donation to the foundation if the Dodgers reach the World Series in 2024.

The announcement caught the Dodgers’ players by surprise.

“That’s a lot of money, man,” pitcher James Paxton told Dodgers Nation. “It’s such a huge thing. Amazing generosity, and a great cause.”

“That was crazy,” catcher Will Smith said. “I thought just a $50 million donation itself is crazy. To double it if we go to the World Series is pretty awesome.”

“I didn’t really understand the scope of that when they said they had just passed $100 million since relaunching the foundation in 2013,” added pitcher Michael Grove. “So in comparison to that, $50 million is an incredible donation. Super generous, and goes to show the kind of people we have in charge here.”

In 11 years since the foundation’s re-launch, it’s raised more than $154 million and invested more than $60 million in its programs and grants, which benefit local organizations involving education, healthcare, homelessness, and social justice in addition to youth sports.

The idea that another $50 million would be riding on the Dodgers’ performance this year is novel. While no one would expect it to serve as motivation for the players to reach their goal, such a large donation is a lot to hang on the team’s performance. Is it something they will be aware of going forward?

“No,” Smith said. “It’s still our goal this year to win a World Series. This would just be a bonus on top, I guess.”

“If you think about that stuff, it’s not going to help you get where you want to,” Paxton said. “If you’re focused on the end goal, you’re not going to be focused on today. We have to take it one day at a time, put our best foot forward every day to win a ballgame, and keep on doing that day in and day out, see where it leads us at the end of the year.”

Grove agreed with his teammates, but he realizes the impact the pledge can have on the team’s fan base.

“From a community standpoint, that’s definitlely another thing to pay attention to for them: like, if these guys make it, it’s going to be really good for the community as well,” Grove said. “That’s an added bonus for us making it but it’s not going to change, I think, our mindset.”

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at

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