Can Kings' mojo rub off on Dodgers?
June, 17, 2014
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsThe Kings and Dodgers share a moment with the Stanley Cup before Tuesday's game.
LOS ANGELES --The Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings before their game with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. Some of the Kings took batting practice and shagged fly balls on the Dodger Stadium field. They also brought along their cup.
The Dodgers showed a tribute video of the Kings' improbable playoff run after Holly Robinson Peete sang the national anthem. The crowd roared its approval throughout.
Then, Kings defenseman Matt Greene hoisted the Cup over his head and carried it behind home plate. The Kings and Dodgers posed for a photo together, with Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw jogging in late. Ten of the Kings also threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Greene addressed the crowd, saying, "You make this a great place to play hockey, a great sports town. ... Fans, we can't say, 'Thank you,' enough. This has been a great run." Then, in unison, the Kings announced, "It's time for Dodgers baseball."
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsMatt Greene of the Kings hoists the Stanley Cup in front of the crowd at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, the 1984 American League batting champion and a former hitting coach, said before the game there were some things to like about the Kings' swings.
"Not bad. Low-ball hitters. They like that ball low and away," Mattingly said. "You've got to pitch them up and in. Cutters."
Tuesday also was a reunion. Kings center Jeff Carter and Dodgers utility man Jamie Romak were close childhood friends in London, Ontario, playing both hockey and baseball together until they were 15. Romak said they hadn't spoken in 10 years until catching up around the batting cage Tuesday.
"He and I used to hit three, four in the same lineup," Romak said. "That was a long time ago. It's just funny what a small world it is and how it all works out."
Needless to say, Romak's hometown, about two hours west of Toronto, has produced more hockey players -- including Eric Lindros, Drew Doughty, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton -- than it has baseball players. Romak gave up hockey when he was 15, the age when Canadian hockey players begin to join junior leagues and start angling toward NHL careers.
"I was always a lot more serious about baseball than I was about hockey," Romak said. "For me, hockey was a lot of fun, but it didn't matter to me as much how I did at the end of the day."