While the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 8-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies in their Saturday evening game at Dodger Stadium, Santa Clarita Dodger Day, according to city officials, was a success.
The 43rd City of Santa Clarita Dodger Day on Saturday marked the return of the event for the first time since 2019. Carrie Lujan, spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita, said it was great to see so much of the Santa Clarita Valley community come out.
“Everybody was wearing their Santa Clarita Dodger Day shirts,” Lujan told The Signal. “So, just to be able to walk around Dodger Stadium and — even if you didn’t know the community member — if you saw somebody wearing a Santa Clarita shirt, it gave a sense of community pride.”
Lujan said 715 SCV residents bought tickets for Dodger Day. They sat in four separate sections of the stadium. She added that 57 of those who participated in Dodger Day took shuttle buses that the city offered to and from the ballpark.
Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Jason Gibbs threw out the first pitch, which was caught by James A. O’Rourke, owner of Survival of the Fittest gym in Newhall.
According to Gibbs, it was a dream come true.
“I’ve been a Dodger fan since I was a little kid,” he told The Signal. “Everyone’s got a dream of walking out on the Dodger field and throwing a pitch. I just didn’t realize this was a path that I could get there on.”
Gibbs, who passed up some smaller baseball scholarships after high school to pursue mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and later a career in aerospace, said that while he’s played ball and loves it, he believes he actually got the opportunity to throw out the first pitch because Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste had a prior obligation with the city to take part in the presentation of the Silver Spur community service award in the SCV at the same time.
“So, the mayor had already committed to going to Silver Spur,” Gibbs said, “and the mayor pro tem was on deck.”
Gibbs took his 5-year-old son, Aiden, onto the field with him. In answer to everyone’s question, yes, he said his pitch did reach home plate. Was it a strike? He told The Signal he thinks it was — his imaginary batter probably crowding the plate a little bit.
“So, we had to brush it back slightly,” Gibbs said with a laugh. “But the ball made it there, my buddy caught it, and life was good.”
And while the Dodgers weren’t victorious on Saturday for Santa Clarita Dodger Day, the team did manage to pick up a few W’s in the three games that followed, including one against the Phillies. Maybe next year, though, residents will finish the day with Randy Newman belting out “I Love L.A.”