The event: Earvin “Magic” Johnson kicked off Thursday’s Inaugural Blue Diamond Gala by thanking the Los Angeles Dodgers for turning up at Dodger Stadium on their day off. “There are not that many days off, so we really want to give them a round of applause for coming out tonight,” Johnson said, addressing guests at the VIP cocktail reception.
More than just making an appearance, the players, their wives and girlfriends got drafted into service as models in the night’s highlight: a fashion show of Ted Baker London’s spring-summer collection. The event benefited the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, which supports education, literacy, sports, recreation, health and wellness programs for children and families in need.
The scene: “There are enough Dodger players and alumni here with us tonight that we could honestly play a game if you guys wanted to,” said co-host Alanna Rizzo as guests settled down to dinner at tables on the field. A silent auction offered sports memorabilia, and recording star Aloe Blacc performed.
The crowd: Baseball legends Tommy Lasorda and Don Newcombe, and beloved broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín, joined other prominent sports figures, including Johnson and fellow Dodgers co-owners Mark Walter and Stan Kasten; former owner Peter O’Malley; coaches Rick Honeycutt, Lorenzo Bundy, Tim Wallach and Manager Don Mattingly.
Among player-models were Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Beachy, Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal, A.J. Ellis, Scott Van Slyke, Jimmy Rollins, Yasiel Puig, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Juan Uribe, Alex Guerrero, Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner.
The fashion show: All the players took to their roles with ease, stepping atop platforms to pose, waving to guests at nearby tables and occasionally stopping to snap a selfie.
The ceremonies: Stephan James of “Selma” introduced Chadwick Boseman of “42,” who in turn presented an award to Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow and founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Honors also went to Anita DeFrantz, president of the LA84 Foundation, which funds youth sports, and Megan Chernin, chief executive of the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education.
The numbers: An estimated 700 guests attended the gala, with tickets beginning at $1,000 each. Proceeds were being tallied at press time.
Ellen Olivier is founder of Society News LA.