Dodgers Dugout: Will Sisters controversy help end Clayton Kershaw’s Dodger career?

Clayton Kershaw
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. I try very hard to focus on only on-field issues for the team and not write about political/religious issues, but recent events have made it necessary to write about a topic related to politics/religion today. If you don’t want to read about it, I highly recommend you skip to the next section, titled “The Yanks are coming.”

The Dodgers created a gigantic public relations mess for themselves recently. For their annual Pride Night, they invited and announced they would honor a group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Who are they? Well, taken from their website: “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty.... [We] have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”

Some people found some of the skits they have performed distasteful or sacrilegious. There was an organized campaign to get the Dodgers to rescind their invitation to the Sisters. So they did. This caused further outcry from others in the community. So the Dodgers reversed course and reinvited the Sisters. This angered the anti-Sisters group again.

Then the date for this year’s Christian Faith and Family Day at Dodger Stadium was announced. It’s an event they have held since 2015 (interrupted by COVID). It seemed they weren’t holding the event in response to the Sisters controversy, but the timing seemed odd.


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Turns out, Clayton Kershaw asked the Dodgers to push up the announcement of Christian Faith and Family Day because he was against the Sisters being invited and honored at Pride Night.

“I think we were always going to do Christian Faith Day this year, but I think the timing of our announcement was sped up,” Kershaw told Los Angeles Times Dodgers reporter Jack Harris. “Picking a date and doing those different things was part of it as well. Yes, it was in response to the highlighting of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence [by the Dodgers].”

“I don’t agree with making fun of other people’s religions,” he said. “It has nothing to do with anything other than that. I just don’t think that, no matter what religion you are, you should make fun of somebody else’s religion. So that’s something that I definitely don’t agree with.”

And this is where the controversy could impact the Dodgers on the field in the future. Kershaw is a pretty private, unassuming guy. You don’t see a bunch of media pronouncements from him. He quietly goes about his business. I mean, you compare Kershaw to LeBron James, and Kershaw seems like a recluse, which is not a knock on either athlete. The only other time I can remember him speaking up was when he sided with his teammates at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

So for Kershaw to speak out about this, you know it is something he feels strongly about. And, we know each offseason Kershaw decides whether to come back to the Dodgers, or wind down his career by playing closer to home, probably with the Texas Rangers. All things being equal, he has always chosen the Dodgers. But could something like this push him the other way this offseason? Could it be among the factors that move him toward the Rangers? Not the only factor or even one of the main factors in his decision, but just the one thing that barely tips the scale to Texas? It’s certainly possible.

I have received a lot of emails from readers on this controversy. Certainly more than any other off-field issue. Some fully support the Sisters. Some hate the group and consider it an affront to their religion. All of them ask me for my opinion. With the caveat that if you are seeking moral clarity from me, you are going about it all wrong, here you go:


I had never heard of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence when this first started. The first thing I was sent about them was a skit they performed with an actor portraying Jesus on the cross, with men doing what appeared to be pole dances on the cross. And my reaction was “Gee, that seems to be over the top.” I did not consider it an affront to my Christianity any more than I did the “Saturday Night Live” skit where Jesus visited the Denver Broncos locker room to tell Tim Tebow to dial down the Christ talk a notch.

Then I did a little more research about the Sisters and found out some interesting things: They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for people who are HIV positive or who have AIDS. They have raised money for homeless people. Some of the members have taken homeless people, of all faiths, into their homes to help them get restarted in life. They have raised money and helped the disenfranchised. They have helped young people who are struggling with their sexual identity. They have done much more to help people than most, myself included, and more than most religious people who are denouncing them as evil.

We should judge groups on the entirety of what they do, not on just one or two videos designed to show them in the worst possible light. If I want to make a person who has never seen baseball before hate the Dodgers, all I would have to do is show them Al Campanis saying racist things on “Nightline.” They could then label the Dodgers a racist hate group. Would that be fair? Or would you say, “They need to look at the entire history of what the Dodgers have done.”

As I have gotten older, the realization has strengthened that America is designed for me. I’m a middle-aged, Christian white guy. Most of the people who are responding to the Sisters with hate are like me. If America was Disneyland, we have an automatic FastPass to the front of the line. Doesn’t mean I didn’t work hard to get where I am. But I certainly had built-in advantages that helped me. I was born on third base and just have to work to get that extra 90 feet. Sometimes it’s easy to take that for granted and overlook the fact that many, many others, just because of who they are and/or where they were born, have to start at the plate, face the tough pitching and pray they can just reach base safely. The Sisters help those disadvantaged. They should be applauded for that.

If you find some of the Sisters’ skits distasteful, that’s a perfectly legitimate response. If you then label them as a hate group based on those skits, then you haven’t learned the basic tenet of Christianity: tolerance. Jesus didn’t say “Come unto Me, except all you people who disagree with Me. You people stay away.” He made a beeline for those people to talk to them. To reach an understanding. I suggest those of you who have labeled the Sisters a hate group to research their history. See what they have done.

I submit that Kershaw’s best response wasn’t to denounce the Sisters, but to invite the leaders of the group to Christian Faith and Family Day and talk to them. Put them on the Dodgers dugout after the game alongside himself, Dave Roberts and whichever other players wish to take part, and discuss the differences you have, why you find some things they do in poor taste and try to reach common ground. Hear them out. That’s the Christian thing to do. Tolerance. Discussion. React with love, not anger and blindness.

A separate argument people have is “The Dodgers need to stop throwing politics in my face.” Realize that that’s what people said when they signed Jackie Robinson. If your argument is the same racists made 76 years ago, you probably have a bad argument.


And now, back to baseball.

The Yanks are coming

The New York Yankees come to town for three games starting tonight. When I see Yankees, I think of Reggie Jackson and his hip (oh yeah, his three-homer game). Also, I think Graig Nettles making unbelievable plays at third base. Seriously, the baseball gods couldn’t let the Dodgers win one of those two World Series? I also think Ken Landreaux catching the final out in 1981, but that World Series seemed far removed from 1977-78.

The two teams have almost identical records this year, so let’s see how they stack up against each other.

Dodgers, 34-23
Yankees, 34-24

Runs per game
Dodgers, 5.60
Yankees, 4.71

Batting average
Dodgers, .242
Yankees, .239

Dodgers, .330
Yankees, .309

Dodgers, .460
Yankees, .422

Stolen bases
Yankees, 41
Dodgers, 36

Yankees, 3.67
Dodgers, 4.46

In a reverse of their usual roles, the Dodgers have the better offense and the Yankees the better pitching. Of course, the Yankees do have Aaron Judge, who is hitting only .298/.410/.670 and leads the American League with 18 homers despite missing 11 games.

It promises to be a fun series.

Random thoughts

—Another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad game for Noah Syndergaard on Wednesday, losing to the lowly Washington Nationals. At this point, the Dodgers seem to have more pitchers who shouldn’t be starting than pitchers who do. No one feels worse about it than Syndergaard: “I just feel like I’m the only weakest link on this team. I want to go out there and compete and be successful for the other guys in this clubhouse, but it’s just not working out.” With all the injuries, there aren’t a lot of options to replace him, considering they already need to replace Gavin Stone, who was sent to the minors. Helene Elliott takes a look at the situation here.

Dave Roberts, who’s biggest weakness has always been bullpen management, has done a pretty good job this year, what with all the injuries and short starter outings. Evan Phillips is basically the closer, but Roberts will smartly use him in key non-closer situations. In Monday’s game, the Dodgers had a 4-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh. Alex Vesia came in and gave up a home run, then got two out before giving up a double, single and walk for another run, cutting the Dodger lead to 4-3 and putting runners at first and second. Traditionally the setup man is used there. But Roberts went with Phillips, who escaped the jam. Too bad he couldn’t earn the save for that. Phillips pitched the eighth, and Justin Bruihl pitched the ninth of a 9-3 victory.

Freddie Freeman is a hitting machine.

—All-Star voting is underway. If Will Smith doesn’t make the team, something is wrong. You can vote here. I remember the olden days when you could only vote at the stadium, and some Dodger ushers would hand you a ballot with all the Dodger players already selected. You just handed it right back to them as your ballot.

—May is over. The Dodgers went 18-10. Let’s look at the May batting average/on-base%/slugging% numbers:


Freddie Freeman, .400/.462/.722, 17 doubles, one triple, six homers, 26 RBIs
Michael Busch, .333/.500/.333, nine at-bats
Will Smith, .318/.434/.529, three doubles, five homers, 17 RBIs
J.D. Martinez, .311/.338/.703, five doubles, eight homers, 24 RBIs
David Peralta, .295/.343/.443, four doubles, one triple, one homer, eight RBIs
Mookie Betts, .269/.365/.593, six doubles, one triple, nine homers, 22 RBIs
Chris Taylor, .258/.343/.565, five doubles, one triple, four homers, 10 RBIs
Miguel Rojas, .250/.274/.300, four doubles, four RBIs
Miguel Vargas, .223/.289/.457, eight doubles, one triple, four homers, 16 RBIs
Jason Heyward, .216/.344/.471, four doubles, three homers, six RBIs
Max Muncy, .186/.273/.402, three doubles, six homers, 18 RBIs
James Outman, .165/.261/.291, four doubles, two homers, nine RBIs
Trayce Thompson, .154/.333/.269, one homer, three RBIs
Austin Barnes, .100/.182/.133, one double, one RBI
Team, .259/.340/.487, 64 doubles, five triples, 49 homers, 6.18 runs per game

Now the pitchers:

Tyler Cyr, 0.00 ERA, 1 2/3 IP, one hits no walks, two K’s
Evan Phillips, 1-0, 0.77 ERA, 4 saves, 11 2/3 IP, four hits, three walks, 14 K’s
Caleb Ferguson, 2-0, 1.00 ERA, two saves, nine IP, nine hits, four walks, 14 K’s
Dustin May, 1-0, 1.32 ERA, 13 2/3 IP, nine hits, two walks, nine K’s
Brusdar Graterol, 2-1, 1.59 ERA, one save, 11 1/3 IP, 12 hits, two walks, nine K’s
Bobby Miller, 2-0, 1.64 ERA, 11 IP, eight hits, two walks, nine K’s
Tony Gonsolin, 3-1, 1.95 ERA, 32 1/3 IP, 17 hits, 10 walks, 24 K’s
Victor González, 1-2, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP, seven hits, three walks, 11 K’s
Shelby Miller, 3.46 ERA, 13 IP, five hits, nine walks, 13 K’s
Julio Urías, 2-1, 4.37 ERA, 22 2/3 IP, 18 hits, four walks, 18 K’s
Dylan Covey, 4.50 ERA, 4 IP, five hits, one walk, three K’s
Clayton Kershaw, 1-3, 5.55 ERA, 24 1/3 IP, 31 hits, 11 walks, 34 K’s
Justin Bruihl, 1-0, 5.56 ERA, 11 1/3 IP, 14 hits, two walks, nine K’s
Yency Almonte, 1-0, 5.56 ERA, 11 1/3 IP seven hits, four walks, 13 K’s
Alex Vesia, 6.75 ERA, 2 2/3 IP, five hits, three walks, four K’s
Noah Syndergaard, 0-1, 6.86 ERA, 21 IP, 24 hits, five walks, 14 K’s
Andre Jackson, 8.10 ERA, 3 1/3 IP, two hits, one walk, three K’s
Wander Suero, 8.10 ERA, 6 2/3 IP, four hits, four walks, seven K’s
Phil Bickford, 1-1, 9.20 ERA, 14 2/3 IP, 18 hits, eight walks, 19 K’s
Gavin Stone, 14.40 ERA, 10 IP, 23 hits, seven walks, five K’s
Team, 18-10, 4.49 ERA, seven saves, 248 2/3 IP, 223 hits, 85 walks, 236 K’s

Best records in May

Top five, bottom five, and the NL West teams

1. Texas, 18-9
2. NY Yankees, 19-10
3. Dodgers, 18-10
4. Arizona, 17-10
4. Houston, 17-10
8. San Francisco, 17-12
11. Colorado, 15-13
25. San Diego, 10-16
25. Philadelphia, 10-16
27. Kansas City, 10-17
28. Chicago Cubs, 10-18
29. Pittsburgh, 8-18
30. Oakland, 6-23

Injury report

15-day IL

RHP Michael Grove (groin). He will be back Saturday to start against the Yankees.

LHP Julio Urías (left hamstring strain): His next step is a bullpen session on Saturday. If all goes well, a simulated game Tuesday or Wednesday, and if all goes well, back on the team.

60-day IL

RHP Walker Buehler (Tommy John surgery). It’s possible he returns at the end of this season but 2024 is more likely.

RHP Daniel Hudson (right knee). He threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and could be back later this month.

RHP Tyler Cyr (shoulder). He’ll be out for a few weeks after making two appearances for the Dodgers.

RHP Dustin May (right elbow). He was transferred to the 60-day IL to make room on the roster for Bobby Miller. The soonest May can return in July 17, but August seems more likely.

RHP Ryan Pepiot (left oblique strain). Pepiot has finally started to throw, but is not ready for a rehab assignment yet.


RHP Blake Treinen (right shoulder). Treinen had surgery in the offseason and if he returns this year, it probably won’t be until September.

What Vin Scully meant to me

Last season after Vin Scully died, I asked readers to send in what he meant to them. I ran them the rest of the season and wanted to circle back and run the rest, which will take a few weeks at least. If you wish to contribute (if you sent it to me last season, I still have it, so no need to send again), please email it to and put “Vin Scully” in the subject line.

From Tom Gardner of Oaxaca, Mexico: My Vin Scully story took place in the late 70s at the Mission Viejo Country Club. I was the supervisor of tennis and pool facilities but happened to be in the locker room when Mr. Scully entered asking if I could clean his golf shoes before he played. It wasn’t my job but, hey, it’s Vin Scully. When he finished 18 he came in and exclaimed “That was the best round I’ve ever played. It must be the shoes!”

He handed me $10, thanked me and left for lunch in our restaurant. What a great guy to give me credit. I learned from him that you can be successful and kind.

From Brian Garabedian: On Sept. 9, 1965, I had just turned 6 years old. I had spent the night sitting on my dad’s lap listening to the Dodgers game and went to bed at 8 p.m. because I had school the next day. About 9 p.m. my dad woke me up and turned on my radio so we could hear Vin call the bottom of the ninth. After Sandy struck out Kuenn, he kissed me on my cheek and said, “You’ll never forget tonight”.

I never did.

From Larry Ford of La Puente: My best memory is the night of Sandy’s perfect game. I was 12 at the time but I was on the phone that night with my best friend as we listened to that incredible ninth inning. We each had the phone in one hand and transistor radio in the other. I called him or he called me in about the seventh. We hardly said a word to each other the entire time except to say we knew Sandy was going to do it. Needless to say when we heard “swung on and missed” we went nuts. The first thing the next morning we met at the park as usual and talked about it all day as we played various forms of baseball. That was yesterday, right?


Up next

Friday: New York Yankees (Luis Severino, 0-0, 1.59 ERA) at Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 6-4, 3.32 ERA), 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Saturday: New York Yankees (Gerrit Cole, 6-0, 2.93 ERA) at Dodgers (Michael Grove, 0-1, 8.44 ERA), 4:15 p.m., Fox, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Sunday: New York Yankees (Domingo Germán, 3-3, 3.98 ERA) at Dodgers (Bobby Miller, 2-0, 1.64 ERA), 4:10 p.m., ESPN, AM 570, KTNQ 1020


In case you missed it

More than batting average: How the Dodgers’ new-look offense formed a juggernaut identity

Elliott: The Noah Syndergaard experiment isn’t working. It’s time Dodgers put an end to it

Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson ready for ‘next step’ after throwing session


Clayton Kershaw disagreed with Sisters’ award, sought return of Dodgers’ Christian day

Mike Pence says baseball should apologize for ‘welcoming anti-Catholic bigots’

And finally

Tommy Lasorda is interviewed in March 2009. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.