Dodgers: Your Los Angeles Dodgers Run-In’s and Fan Stories, Part Two

As part of our next series, we will be featuring ‘Dodger run-in’s’ at Dodgers Nation. These are fan stories submitted of when they ran into a member of the Dodgers organization somewhere random around town. If you would like to be part of our next column of run-in’s, you can submit your story here. Enjoy the second installment of this fun series. We will keep running these as long as the fan stories keep coming in!

Mike (Meeting Tim Wallach)

In 1995 I attended a baseball camp at CSUN. These youth camps always got some player to “sponsor” the camp. “Sponsor” meant drop by on the last day, take pics with the kids, and leave. At the last day of the camp, a car pulls up, and Tim Wallach gets out. I remember him talking on one of those big mid-90s cell phones. I was the first to get to meet him and take a picture out of the group. I was young, and awkward, and didn’t know how to begin the interaction. So I hugged him – for much longer than was comfortable. He stood there tense and weird. 20 years later when he joined the Dodgers coaching staff, I was on a stadium tour before a game. We went down the elevator to the same hallway players go to to get to the club house. As we get off the elevator, there stood Wallach. He gave me this look… like he kind of recognized me but wasn’t sure from where… I didn’t have the audacity to tell him that “I was the fat kid at that CSUN camp that hugged you 20 years ago”… because chances are he would have just said “What?” … but what if he said “Holy shit, that was you?”

Anonymous (Yasiel Puig At Dodgers Fanfest)

One of my best top moments as a Dodgers Fan came at Dodgers Fanfest 2014. Yasiel Puig had just finished coming off a great 2013 Rookie season in which he made his first All Star team. Me and my attended Fanfest to get our custom made split blue/white colored jersey to get autographed by Puig. Thinking it was 2 separate jerseys, he attempted to pull them apart to sign both. Realizing it was one jersey, he thought it was a cool Jersey and decided to keep my jersey and give me the home white jersey he was wearing. Fast forward to February 2017, Yasiel Puig surprised my son and his friends for his 15th birthday at his bowling party in the city of El Monte. For those wondering if Yasiel is for the kids, I’ll be the first to say “He is”. He spent about 3 hours bowling and had a score of over 200. A day my son and his friends will never forget.

Max (Clayton Kershaw Encounter)

So this was about 6-7 years ago, and my friends and I (who were all on the high school baseball team) are at a gym going through a pretty intense private training session. Trainer is pushing us a bit harder today for some reason, and there’s nobody else in the gym. That is, until Clayton Kershaw comes in. All of us are huge Dodger fans, and our trainer happened to be friends with Kersh, we just happened to catch the day Clayton decided to work out here. And there’s nobody else in the gym but us. The rest of our workout is half trying to look impressive and half checking to see if Kershaw sees us looking impressive. He’s locked in. At the end of the session, my trainer introduces us to Kersh, and we’re all incredibly nervous. My most nervous friend eventually blurts our early in the conversation, “Have you seen the movie Harold and Kumar?” Kershaw has not. The next 3 minutes are us each taking turns roughly describing the plot while wishing we were on a better subject. Clayton is polite, tells us he may check it out someday, and then gets back to his routine. Starstruck, we leave the gym. Two years later, I’m at Kershaw’s no hitter with my girlfriend. We watched Harold and Kumar later that night.

Bree (Matt Kemp At The County Fair)

I ran into Matt Kemp at the LA County Fair in 2014. My friend and I were in line for a ride. As they were letting two riders off to load my friend and I on, Matt and a woman got off the ride right in front of us. I asked my friend, “is that Matt Kemp?” loud enough for Matt to hear, but he just kept walking so I wasn’t really sure If it was him. When we were high up on the ride, my friend yelled as loud as he could “MATT!!!” And Kemp turned his head. We got off the ride and I was able to catch up with him and get a picture!

Anonymous (Grandma Meets Mickey Hatcher)

We were at LAX picking my brother up from college and ran into Mickey Hatcher. My grandma, who was a die hard fan and was wearing her silky blue dodger jacket yelled “Mickey” across the airport.  He was so kind, came over and gave grandma a hug and chatted with her.  She never stopped telling that story over and over to anyone who would listen.  It was definitely a highlight of her life and I’ve always been grateful to Mr Hatcher for engaging with grandma. I hope he knows how much that meant to her.

C. Hendrickson (Meeting Willie Crawford)

This really can’t be considered random, as it happened at Dodger Stadium. In 1973, the father of my brother’s best friend (Gary) was the personal driver of Frank Bonelli, a L.A County Supervisor at the time. Supervisors all had four box seats behind the Dodgers dugout, but Bonelli wasn’t a baseball fan and rarely used them. When Bonelli gave the seats to Gary’s dad, we got to see a game! We were also driven there and back in Bonelli’s limo. One night after the game we were waiting by the player’s entrance (back before it was fenced off) waiting to be picked up and hoping to talk with the players (stupidly, we didn’t collect autographs ). So, Willie Crawford came out and I remember us talking to him ( about what, I don’t remember) when Gary’s dad drove up in  the limo honking the horn for us. I remember thanking Willie as we were climbing into the back if the limo when Willie yelled at us, ” Hey, who ARE you kids?” We just looked at each other and  Willie Looked through the window and asked Gary’s dad who we were. Gary’s dad just put his finger to his lip (to shhhh him) and shook his head. Then we went home. We never did get to see Willie Crawford to explain.

N. Jones (Run-in With Mike Kinkade)

My run in with a player was with Mike Kinkade in 2003. I was 8 years old and I saw the Dodgers leaving Great American Ballpark. I began to run to meet a few players, however, I was shoved to the ground by an older man looking to get memorabilia signed (to sell online no doubt). I started to tear up when two guys picked me up and asked what I was trying to do. I told them I was trying to get some autographs. They then called a player over for me to meet, Mike Kinkade. Unbeknownst to me, the guys that helped me up happened to be Mike Kinkade’s cousins. Mike apologized for that mean guy and made sure I was okay. Also, he gave me an autograph and simply talked to me for several minutes before he had to leave. Even though Mike Kinkade was never a superstar, his kindness made that run in my favorite interaction with an athlete I’ve ever had.

Alex B. (Meeting Eric Karros)

I was born and raised a Dodger fan and when I was 9 years old (20 years ago), a friend and I spotted Eric Karros in the crowd at a youth basketball game at our local high school. We were certain it was him and it took us all the courage we had as little kids to approach him. So we went up to him and said, “Are you Eric Karros?” Mind you, again, we’re 9. We don’t really know the proper manners of approaching a celebrity in public. He replies, “No” and gives us a “get lost” look. We were devastated and so embarrassed that we ran off (and maybe cried, but I can’t remember).

We later found out it was in fact Eric Karros as he came regularly to watch his niece play. And he didn’t like being bothered. If we were in our 20s or older, I think he would have been totally justified in his response. But we were little kids and meeting our first famous athlete in-person. Needless to say it was a regrettable moment that I’ll never forget.

The Fief (Chris Taylor Gets Some Buffalo Wild Wings)

I am the General Manager of Buffalo Wild Wings in Pasadena, CA  and it was a night after the Dodgers played a home game. I was closing that night and it was around midnight when I noticed a guy sitting at the far end of the bar top chatting with another guy. I walked by a couple times thought to myself “that guy looks a lot like Chris Taylor” but there’s not way that’s him. Our location is known for getting Dodgers fans to come before during and home games to eat and drink so at this time we had a bar full of fans in Dodgers gear that just came from the game. Chris Taylor had been playing for a month since his call up and was tearing it up! Of all the people inside the bar I was the only one to recognize him. I finally found the courage to go up and ask him if he was Chris Taylor and he replied that he was. I shook his hand and introduced myself. I tried not to make a seen since he was out for a post game meal with a friend but I did get the chance to talk baseball with him for a few minutes. He was a quiet and humble guy. After his meal he ended up asking for the check and at this point I took it upon myself to let him know that I was going to be taking care of his and his friend’s tab for them. At first he insisted on paying but I told him how huge of a fan of his I was already and it was my pleasure to do so. Him and his friend thanked me and I took a picture with him, he left the bartender a generous tip regardless.

After that encounter I thought nothing more until the next day they had a Day game and I was watching the game from Home listening to Orel and Joe’s commentary when Taylor came up to bat. Joe was talking about Chris Taylor having a lot firsts (home runs, every day opportunity to play, etc) and then he mentioned there was an article in the LA times this morning where Taylor got interviewed for and he mentioned that he recently went to a Buffalo Wild Wings for a post game meal and that he got recognized and that someone took care of his meal and said it was no problem. He went on to say that he had never experienced anything like that before. I was shocked listening to joe and Orel talk about all this during a live game and couldn’t believe it!

I got to take a picture with him, heard my story on tv, and have the newspaper with the article of the story!
I’ll never forgot that experience.

Final Note From The Editor:

Dodger fans, these are so enjoyable to read! Please continue to submit your Dodgers encounters, fan stories, and run-in’s with us here. We will continue to run this series periodically as long as the stories keep rolling in! And keep your head on a swivel: you may just run into a Dodger around town. 
Predicting The Dodgers’ 2019 Starting Rotation

Staff Writer

Staff Writer features content written by our site editors along with our staff of contributing writers. Thank you for your readership.

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