With Padres in town, Dodgers urge calm among fans
The Dodgers have asked fans to treat the San Diego Padres with respect when the two teams meet at Dodger Stadium on Monday, four days after Padres slugger Carlos Quentin threw Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke to the ground and broke his collarbone.
“Dodgers fans: What’s done is done,” catcher A.J. Ellis tweeted late Sunday night. “Please respect the Padre fans at Dodger Stadium tomorrow and do what you do best! Cheer US on!”
Quentin himself lowered the temperature considerably on Sunday, when he agreed to serve his eight-game suspension immediately rather than continue the appeal process. As the Dodgers honor Jackie Robinson on Monday -- with his widow, Rachel, flying in from New York for the occasion -- the last thing they want is an unruly crowd on a night dedicated to dignity and history.
“Let’s always honor Jackie’s legacy by maintaining a safe, comfortable and family friendly experience at Dodger Stadium,” read a tweet from the team’s official Twitter account Sunday night.
Greinke, the grand prize among free-agent pitchers last winter, signed with the Dodgers for $147 million. He underwent surgery Saturday and is expected to miss about two months.
The Dodgers are unlikely to pursue any retaliation Monday, and not only because of the potential to detract from the Robinson festivities. Umpires are expected to issue pre-game warnings -- meaning even an inside pitch that does not hit a batter could be cause for ejection -- and Quentin will not be in the Padres’ lineup.
“Our problem is with one guy, not with their team,” Ellis said in Arizona on Sunday, where the Dodgers played the Diamondbacks.
The Robinson ceremonies are set to start at 6:50 p.m., with the Dodgers opening the stadium to fans at 4:40 p.m.
The ceremonial first pitch is to be thrown by Harrison Ford, who stars in the film “42" as Branch Rickey, the Dodgers general manager who signed Robinson to become the first African American player in the major leagues. Rickey’s great-granddaughter, Kelley Jakle, will sing “God Bless America” at the game.
Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson is to host a VIP pregame reception and meet with fans as well.
“If it wasn’t for Jackie, then I wouldn’t be able to own the Dodgers,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he would “love to be a part” of a task force appointed last week by Commissioner Bud Selig, toward the goal of increasing African American involvement in baseball. Selig would be delighted to meet with Johnson and get his input, a spokesman for the commissioner said.
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