It’s no longer baseball season, but the Dodgers held batting practice on Monday.
On Veterans Day the Dodgers hosted about 100 active and former U.S. military servicemen and women at Dodger Stadium for the batting practice.
Former Dodgers Al Ferrara, Lou Johnson and Roy Gleason (an Army veteran and purple heart recipient) came out to give some batting and pitching pointers to veterans and their families. Veterans brought their kids to enjoy the day out on the Dodgers’ infield, playing catch and meeting famous Dodgers like Manager Tommy Lasorda.
Lieutenant Colonel Steven Cole, a righty, was one of those veterans. Cole has been in the Army for 8 years, and was deployed to Afghanistan.
He told KPCC's Nick Roman Sunday that the annual event come out of the team's close relationship with veterans.
“The Dodgers have a great relationship with the military here in Southern California," he said. "In the middle of the third inning at every game they honor a veteran of the game. I’ve been fortunate enough to help the Dodgers find some Army soldiers for those opportunities.”
“Being in the Army has been the only job I every wanted to do as a kid… The support that we get as service members on the streets here in Los Angeles is really overwhelming.”
One particular Dodger has a special place with Cole and his son:
“I’m not originally from here in Southern California but we moved here in 2012. During one of the games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Henley Ramirez hit a home run ball – if he had thrown it to me it wouldn’t have been more perfect. It went right into my hands, and then from my hands to my son’s. Ever since that game we’ve been Henley Ramierez fans and certainly Dodgers fans ever since. It was a real special moment for our family.”
You can hear the full audio of Cole's interview at right.