The day I attended Dodgers spring training to interview Clayton Kershaw back in 2011, he was just coming onto the scene and hadn’t risen to the level of fame he holds today. That day was also skipper Don Mattingly’s first day on the job. I gathered with a handful of other reporters for the first casual diamond-side “presser” of spring training. And realizing the enormity of that moment, I decided to have the guts to ask this crusty fellow his very first question as manager. I honestly didn’t care about making a fool of myself.
I remember reading that early scouts had compared Kershaw to Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax (my dad’s favorite pitcher!). So I blurted out, “Coach, Kershaw is looking to be a solid pitcher on the roster this season. He’s being compared to a few pitchers from the past. Is there someone from your playing days that he reminds you of?” He looked at me and said, “Shoot, hell if I know. Hadn’t thought about it.” I tried not to laugh. I think he was expecting, “How’s your first day on the job going?!” Sorry to see Mattingly leaving L.A., and couldn’t help but recall that unforgettable moment. Now all future pitchers are praying they get compared to Kershaw! Very proud of all he and his wife, Ellen, do off the field to minister to their community and other countries like Zambia. www.kershawschallenge.com