Dodgers meet survivors, responders in San Bernardino

Ethier, Lasorda and Garvey lead delegation on 'Love LA' tour

Dodgers meet survivors, responders in San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Andre Ethier has participated in countless community events supporting the military and law enforcement, but his appearance at one of Wednesday's Dodgers "Love L.A." tour stops was like no other.

Ethier, Tommy Lasorda and Steve Garvey headed a delegation that had lunch with victims and first responders from the Dec. 2 San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 and seriously injured 22.

As Ethier saw and heard, the region is still reeling from the shocking tragedy. But the outfielder was moved by the long line of autograph seekers -- some in uniform, some still nursing wounds -- most with big smiles.

Dodgers making a difference in the community

"It's amazing to see," Ethier said. "Being in Arizona, you know what happened, but you can't realize the impact and the magnitude like when you come here and see it first hand, even two months after. You ask them how they're doing and everyone says, 'One day at a time.' You hope you can brighten their day, even though you know they have a long, tough road to recovery."

The first victim Ethier met was Jon Reid. Reid is considered as much of a miracle survivor of the attack as anyone, having been shot seven times -- three in the chest, two in the back, one each in his hip and leg -- but he left his wheelchair at home and walked into the event with his family.

"We've been having somber meetings together, so having the Dodgers here takes away the negative and puts you in a positive mood," Reid said.

Capt. Raymond King of the San Bernardino Police Department estimated that the event drew roughly 400 victims, first responders and family members. He said the Dodgers reached out to include the stricken area on the tour, with 13 law enforcement, fire and paramedic agencies represented.

"This helps us decompress from what happened," King said. "Obviously, such a very sad incident impacted so many lives. This is an opportunity to find some good in such a tragedy. The Dodgers have given our community a chance to see each other in a different environment."

In addition to Ethier, Lasorda and Garvey, the Dodgers were represented by alumni Tommy Davis, Derrel Thomas and Dennis Powell.

Ethier, assuming he's still with the club, will earn trade-veto power on April 21 as a 10-year veteran with the last five years on the same team. Other than expressing concern about Zack Greinke's departure, Ethier was not downbeat about the club's relatively quiet offseason.

"It hurts big losing Zack," Ethier said. "Personally, he is one of the better friends I had on the team. It hurts a lot to lose a guy like him, but that happens in any sport and especially baseball. But it happens and we've got to move on and figure a way to get better, and we'll see in a couple weeks.

"What I've learned is you can't form too much positive or too much negative until you go out and play. I've had times where I've been optimistic and think it's the best pickup ever, and it doesn't pan out, and other times I think it's a guy that could never help and turns out to be a key piece.

"[The front office] made moves they think put us in the best situation. I don't feel any less confident going into the spring than I did last year or the year before that. We've got guys I'm confident can compete and win games and the NL West. We might not be as flashy of names on paper as in the past, but sometimes good teams aren't always the ones you think are expected to win."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.