Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The grand finale of the 2024 Los Angeles Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour was one that seemed to come directly out of a Hollywood script, which maybe it was considering nearly half the 40-man roster took the trip to Universal Studios Hollywood for the day.
Joining the Dodgers group on the visit to Universal Studios were Tyler Glasnow, Evan Phillips, James Outman, Joe Kelly, Kyle Hurt, Landon Knack, Nick Frasso, Emmet Sheehan, Gavin Stone, Hunter Feduccia, Ryan Yarbrough, JP Feyereisen, Michael Grove, Tony Gonsolin, Alex Vesia, Gus Varland, Brusdar Graterol, and Miguel Rojas.
They were also joined by 30 students from Belmont High School who are experiencing homelessness and had never been to the theme park previously. The day started with the entire group together, but they were later broken up into smaller groups so a few students got to spend time with some of the players in a more personal way.
After entering the park, the group walked to Springfield, The Simpsons-themed area of Universal Studios, which was a gathering point for talking, photos and even participating in the three-point challenge carnival game. Started by Vesia, a few other players joined in to shoot hoops, including Hurt, Sheehan and Varland.
They picked the right sport pic.twitter.com/4oSBNaEHtZ
— Blake (@ByBlakeWilliams) February 2, 2024
None of them made their shots, except for Vesia making a two-pointer earlier, but as the group began to leave, Feyereisen sunk a three-pointer with cheers from the group.
The next stop was Jurassic World, where the group met and interacted with Blue the velociraptor. Many of the players took photos with the animatronic dinosaur, and the velociraptor handler taught them how to train Blue to “speak” with their hand motions and commands.
“The kids are freaking out a little bit, it’s kind of cool,” Glasnow said of the velociraptor encounter. “It’s a good production value too. For a little bit there, I thought it was a real dinosaur. But maybe it is, who knows? But that was also a fun experience.
In that same location, some of the players also broke off to ride Revenge of the Mummy, an indoor rollercoaster with limited lighting that is of course based on the popular movie franchise it’s named after.
From there, the groups traveled to Super Nintendo World, which is where the rest of the day was spent. Unfortunately for Phillips, the visit did not include a stop to his favorite part of the park.
“I grew up a huge Harry Potter fan, I’m a nerd about it,” Phillips told DodgerBlue.com. “So I’ll have to come back and make a trip to Harry Potter World.”
Still, it was the first time many of the players have seen Super Nintendo World, and all of them and the kids were given the power up bands to make the experience better.
Some of the players used their bands to complete the challenges around the park, including hitting the question blocks to collect coins. Those coins allowed Graterol to find a Mario on one of the walls by placing his band near it to reveal the hidden character.
They also played an interactive game inside a dark cave-like area that allowed the players to hit the question blocks on the screen to collect coins.
All the groups also spent time taking photos inside the Mushroom Kingdom.
Following all that, it was time for the main highlight of the day as the entire Dodgers group went on the Mario Kart ride. As part of it, all players wore the needed Mario visor and VR glasses needed for the ride.
It was a much different look for the group now wearing a red cap with an “M” rather than their signature Dodgers cap in blue with the interlocking L.A. logo.
Despite all the players going on the Mario Kart ride, it isn’t the Dodgers’ first connection to the game as Dodger Stadium is featured in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch.
Following the ride, the final stop was for lunch at the Toadstool Cafe. There was an area reserved for all the players and kids as they enjoyed their meal.
“It was excellent,” Phillips said of the day. “We got to tour Super Nintendo World, and I’ve been very curious about it. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so that’s next on my list. But the Mario Kart ride was excellent, all the restaurants, shops.
“It’s been a lot of fun, so it’s been a great time with the kids and just getting to experience the park.”
That was the end of the day for the Dodgers in attendance, but the children were able to stay the rest of the day with their chaperones.
It also marked the official end of the annual community tour, but next on the agenda is DodgerFest and then Spring Training is right around the corner as pitchers and catchers are set to report in less than a week.
Tyler Glasnow and Joe Kelly have Dodgers jersey mishaps at Universal Studios
Although the day went well for nearly everyone, there were some jersey mishaps with Tyler Glasnow and Joe Kelly.
Glasnow was wearing a jersey with No. 28 on it, which is the number being worn by Bobby Miller this season after he changed it from No. 70 during the offseason.
However, Glasnow confirmed to DodgerBlue.com that he is still going to wear No. 31 this season, and it was just the jersey given to him by the team to wear for the day. It was his first time wearing a Dodgers uniform since he was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays.
As for Kelly, he did not have his jersey with him, but thankfully there’s a Dodgers Clubhouse store on Universal CityWalk. Kelly ended up wearing his new No. 99 jersey, but it was a replica edition without the red numbers on the front.