Dodgers Spring Training: Ping Pong Match Takes Center Stage

Clayton Kershaw

  • I got to the ballpark at about 9 a.m. , hoping to get some interviews. However, there was a problem. It was the day of the ping pong championship
  • Every spring, Clayton Kershaw conducts a ping pong tournament, which takes place in the Dodgers’ clubhouse in Glendale, Ariz. All players are invited to join, for a nominal fee, and teams of two are formed at random
  • Now, not only is Kershaw the best baseball player on the team, he’s also probably the best ping pong player on the team. In a total coincidence, Kershaw has won the tournament every year he’s hosted it. This year, he was paired with top prospect Corey Seager, who is also an excellent ping-ponger
  • So, after years of training, months of planning and weeks of competition, today was the final match. The championship saw Kershaw and Seager pitted against everyone’s favorite ginger, Justin Turner, and mini southpaw Daniel Coulombe. While playing the roles of underdogs, they also quickly became fan favorites
  • Even though the match had been planned ahead of time, it began almost spontaneously, with Seager, Turner and Coulombe hitting the ball back and forth before Kershaw entered the room and the festivities commenced. Spectators began gathering around the table before it was completely surrounded with players
  • The most bizarre aspect of the match was the fact that Kershaw and Seager were the heels. Kershaw, one of the most beloved people in professional sports, was suddenly facing raucous laughter at every misstep, or mis-hit, if you will. And poor Seager was being hounded by the crowd, specifically Adrian Gonzalez, who taunted him mercilessly. Of course, it was all in good fun, but this weighed heavily on the duo in their quest for the crown
  • As the match began, it quickly became apparent that Kershaw and Seager were simply too good to be beaten. There were moments when Turner and Coulombe came close, even tying the score in the second set. The crowd desperately tried to influence the match, with Darwin Barney hoisting a cutout of Turner’s head on a stick. The mouth was cut out, so naturally, Barney stuck his tongue through it. This drew laughs from the crowd, but did not affect the outcome of the match
  • Kershaw reacted to the crowd in his own way. Whenever he or Seager committed an unforced error, the crowd berated them. So, whenever Kershaw or Seager made a good play, the Dodgers ace would contort his face and yell, mocking the people around him. Seager stayed stoic, focusing on the task at hand, trying not to let the outside world affect him
  • In the end, the inevitable happened. There was no miracle on ice, no inexplicable walk-off, no buzzer beater. When Kershaw and Seager scored the winning point, the crowd shrugged and went back to what they were doing. The winning duo threw their hands in the air, high-fived, and celebrated by collecting their “entrance fees”
  • Honestly, I’ve never seen the clubhouse have so much fun. Almost everyone was engaged, in one way or another, with people laughing and yelling the whole time. Whatever problems were purportedly in the clubhouse last year seem to be a distant memory to those who are still here and legend to the newly arrived
  • Oh, and there was a game today. Joc Pederson fell a triple shy of the cycle. Brandon McCarthy summed up his thoughts on his performance succinctly. And plenty of players got optioned or re-assigned, including Scott Schebler, Seager and Darnell Sweeney
  • I didn’t see the game. I was on the backfields getting as much video as I could of the two, simultaneous intrasquad games taking place. Keep an eye out for video from those games next week

Clayton Kershaw Unhappy With ‘Misfires’

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