Dodgers Team-Building Event Ends In Fisticuffs


There are no off days on the Dodgers schedule when it comes to confrontations.  On Thursday, with no game scheduled ahead of their flight to Pittsburgh for a weekend series against the Pirates, a team-building trip to a local mini golf course resulted in yet another confrontation on the field of play.

The day started off pleasant enough at Sherman Oaks Castle Park.  Many Dodger players were just happy for the rare opportunity to put a ball in play that would not result in a lazy pop up or routine double play.  The foursome of Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley approached the 11th hole of one of the establishment’s three courses.  Of course, they started moving along rather quickly when two of the pitchers were shut down due to injury in the first nine holes.  They promptly caught up to the group ahead of them and grew increasingly frustrated by their slow play.  Greinke picked up his ball and instinctively threw it at one of their players, striking 9-year-old Charlie Jacobsen square in the back.  Charlie’s 6-year-old sister responded by kicking Greinke in the shin, not only ending the pitcher’s round of mini golf, but likely taking him out of his next start as well.  This brought manager Don Mattingly sprinting away from the Deal or No Deal game in the arcade to defend his players by getting in the young girl’s face.  Since absolutely no one fears the Dodgers, neither of the children backed down.

The dispute began to escalate as more of the team’s players and coaches gathered around.  The kids’ parents stepped in to hold back their youngsters and keep them adding to the already lengthy Los Angeles disabled list.  Punches were thrown (maybe “lightly tossed” would be a more appropriate description), but things largely quieted down from there, though an agitated Josh Beckett did throw yet another ball at Charlie as the team was being led away.  The 3rd grader swatted the ball into the parking lot using his putter.  The Dodgers were asked by management to leave….not just the entertainment center, but Los Angeles.

There were some Dodgers who avoided the ugliness on the mini golf course, however.  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jerry Hairston, Nick Punto & 5 others spent much of their time at the batting cages.  The automated pitching machines amassed 16 strikeouts while holding the Dodgers to 5 hits.  They were immediately signed by the Angels.

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