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Column: Anthony Rendon feels Dodgers are part of ‘Hollywood’ lifestyle? He really isn’t from here

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon answers questions during his introductory news conference at Angel Stadium on Saturday.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon answers questions during his introductory news conference at Angel Stadium on Saturday.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

Anthony Rendon wanted nothing to do with Los Angeles. That’s the biggest reason why he chose to play for the Angels and not the Dodgers.

That might seem confusing to anyone out of state who thinks the Dodgers and Angels reside in the same city, but it actually makes perfect sense to anyone in Southern California.

Rendon lumped together not only the teams but the entire state as he tried to decide who he would sign with in free agency.

“I think when people think about California, they think of the straight Hollywood, that glamour lifestyle, whole bunch of flashes and so much paparazzi,” Rendon said. “But everyone just said it’s the complete opposite [with the Angels].”

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Despite signing a seven-year, $245-million contract with the Angels, it’s safe to say Rendon doesn’t have to worry about the paparazzi trailing him if he wanted to walk around L.A. Sure, the 29-year-old third baseman just led the Washington Nationals to a World Series championship and was chosen an All-Star for the first time, but he’s not someone who has to worry about TMZ.

The Dodgers came away from their meeting with Rendon in his hometown of Houston convinced that he had no interest in playing in L.A. But that didn’t rule out the team that plays a little more than 30 miles south in Anaheim.

Angels owner Arte Moreno is a baseball aficionado who had long been aware of Anthony Rendon’s talent. Striking a quick free-agent deal made sense.

The Dodgers, Rendon said, “didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family. Nothing against them as an organization. We still loved meeting with them and having those conversations, but in the end it was what we thought was best for our family.”

There’s nothing wrong with Rendon’s decision, but it’s ridiculous to think the team would dictate your lifestyle. Yes, the Dodgers play in L.A., which is close to Hollywood. Sure, celebrities often come to games and occasionally throw out the first pitch. But none of that defines the players in the clubhouse or has any effect on their lifestyle.

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No Dodgers player resides in Hollywood. Many live in the San Fernando Valley; others reside in the South Bay, Westside, beach cities or other parts of L.A. County.

The beautiful thing about L.A. is that it’s a region big and diverse enough for anyone to create whatever lifestyle they want. No matter your nationality, religion, political affiliation or sexual orientation, there’s something for you here.

If Rendon meant that he wanted to stay under the radar and avoid the spotlight, then maybe he made a smart decision.

Would anyone argue that Mike Trout wouldn’t be a bigger celebrity if he played for the Dodgers rather than the Angels? Not a chance.

Newly signed Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon poses for a photo with fan Jesse Olivan.
Newly signed Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon poses for a photo with fan Jesse Olivan while signing autographs after his introductory news conference at Angel Stadium on Saturday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Some players don’t want the fame and attention that come with being a professional athlete, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you don’t have to live a “Hollywood lifestyle” to feel the benefits of Hollywood.

Clayton Kershaw, who, like Rendon, was born and raised in Texas, is about the furthest thing from Hollywood as anyone in the Dodgers clubhouse. He and his wife, Ellen, and their children, Cali and Charley, live in a beautiful home in the San Fernando Valley. It’s far enough from the flashbulbs to live a normal life but close enough where they can use those flashbulbs for a good cause.

In 2012, Kershaw started “Kershaw’s Challenge,” a nonprofit organization that seeks to serve vulnerable and at-risk children living in L.A., Dallas, Zambia and the Dominican Republic. Their biggest fundraising event is an annual pingpong tournament called “Ping Pong 4 Purpose.” It’s perhaps the most “Hollywood” thing the Dodgers do each year with a paparazzi-lined blue carpet set up outside of Dodger Stadium and celebrities playing pingpong on the field while guests sip drinks from open bars set up along the first and third base lines.

It’s not necessarily Kershaw’s scene, but the event has helped “Kershaw’s Challenge” donate more than $7.5 million to benefiting communities.

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You don’t have to live a “Hollywood lifestyle” to get Hollywood to help improve the lifestyle of others.

It’s normal for someone who just moved here to think of Hollywood when they think of L.A., but Rendon will soon find out this region is big enough to create and enjoy any lifestyle you want — for yourself and your family.

Sports agent Scott Boras reveals why pitcher Gerrit Cole chose the New York Yankees over the Angels.


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