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7 things you missed from Clayton Kershaw’s Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity tournament

Diplo, Joc Pederson, Howie Kendrick and Austin Rivers attend Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw's Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity tournament.
(Dodger Vision)

From inside Dodger Stadium on Thursday, Will Ferrell addressed the crowd at Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw’s Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity tournament.

As the evening’s host, Ferrell said he would be checking all players for their certified ping-pong credentials (not true); that no dogs were allowed (did he mean in the tournament?); and that 200 coyotes would be released into the stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s called our danger round,” Ferrell deadpanned. “You will be coated in bacon grease and you’re just going to have to fight off your opponent.”

While none of the 500 guests encountered coyotes during the night’s festivities, here are seven things you missed if you weren’t there.

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1. As co-founder of the Spin ping-pong social clubs, honorary chair Susan Sarandon said she was so impressed by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s hands-on approach to their foundation, the Kershaw Challenge, that she jumped at the opportunity to participate in their ping-pong tournament.

Susan Sarandon speaks to an audience at Dodger Stadium on Thursday about Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s hands-on approach to their foundation, the Kershaw Challenge.
Susan Sarandon speaks to an audience at Dodger Stadium on Thursday about Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s hands-on approach to their foundation, the Kershaw Challenge.
(Jon SooHoo )

In remarks to the crowd, she also spoke about the sport of ping-pong, before concluding, in a tone equally serious to Ferrell’s: “I’m just so happy that there are now going to be coyotes involved and things we’ve never had before.”

2. For his part, Clayton Kershaw thanked supporters, most notably the Southern California Acura Dealers, the night’s presenting sponsor, and his teammates.

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“We don’t get many home off nights,” he said. “So guys, thanks for coming out. It means a lot to me.”

Samantha Walter, Eric Stonestreet, Clayton Kershaw, Ellen Kershaw and Kim Walter attend the celebrity ping-pong tournament at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.
Samantha Walter, Eric Stonestreet, Clayton Kershaw, Ellen Kershaw and Kim Walter attend the celebrity ping-pong tournament at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.
(Jon SooHoo )

3. Among players and other celebrities coming out were Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family”; Derek Hough of “Dancing With the Stars”; Troy Garity of “Ballers”; Mario Lopez of “Extra” and his wife, Courtney Mazza; attorney Robert Shapiro; musicians Diplo and Tank; and the L.A. Kings’ Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar.

And from the Dodgers were owner Mark Walter; manager Dave Roberts; coaches Rick Honeycutt and Turner Ward; legendary pitcher Orel Hershiser; and players including Joc Pederson, A.J. Ellis, Justin Turner, Howie Kendrick, Enrique Hernandez, Scott Kazmir, Adrian Gonzalez, Rob Segedin, Kenta Maeda, Grant Dayton and Chase Utley.

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Host Will Ferrell appears onstage with Clayton and Ellen Kershaw at Dodger Stadium.
Host Will Ferrell appears onstage with Clayton and Ellen Kershaw at Dodger Stadium.
(Jon SooHoo )

4. Clayton Kershaw also paid tribute to honoree Dennis Gilbert, a former top sports agent, founder of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation and philanthropist, who each year buys and donates 1,000 Dodgers tickets to underprivileged youth from South Los Angeles.

5. During her turn at the podium, Ellen Kershaw spoke of the night’s beneficiaries, the Dream Center of Los Angeles, which helps homeless families and others in need to rebuild their lives, and CURE International’s hospital in the Dominican Republic, which provides free surgeries for underprivileged children.

“You are all making a dramatic difference in the lives of these kids,” she told the crowd. “We could not do it without you.”

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6. As guests checked out the sports memorabilia in a silent auction and dined on three different kinds of sliders, two kinds of hot dogs, pizza and other foods, Half the Animal — consisting of Chase Johnson, Nick Gross, Evan Smith and Alex Asch — provided a high-spirited backdrop of live music featuring the group’s new single, “Babylon.”

7. Not long into the tournament, Ferrell confessed that he was eliminated in the first round, 11 to 1. His greater concern? The coyotes. “Uh-oh,” he said. “They’re supposed to come out at 7:30. It’s 7:40 now.”

Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.

image@latimes.com

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