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Dodgers Rally Monday a big success

Dodgers Rally Monday a big success

LOS ANGELES -- They came wearing jerseys of today's fan favorites.

Yet, they also came bearing images of past heroes who will never be forgotten.

From Nomar Garciaparra to Fernando Valenzuela. From Jeff Kent to Steve Garvey. Even rookie catcher Russell Martin was shown some love.

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Those names and others could be spotted on the backs of the more than 2,500 Dodgers fans that partook in Rally Monday at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood.

They came to show their support for the National League Wild Card winners. They came to try and win some tickets to the NLDS. They came for what else? Classic Dodger Dogs.

"We're here for the spirit, baby," said Manny Baltazar of Sun Valley. "Dodger Blue is all around."

As Adam Carolla of 97.1 Free FM led the crowd in chants of "Beat the Mets!", other fans were busying gathering free Dodgers rally towels. Even though those Mets won nine more games than the Dodgers in the regular season, pessimism was nowhere to be found.

"I love it that we're facing the Mets," said Adrian Lucero of the San Fernando Valley. "Everyone said they wanted the Cardinals because they were playing so bad, but I think we're going all the way anyway."

As Lucero noted, the Dodgers may have history on their side. Before Kirk Gibson lit up all of Los Angeles with arguably the greatest fist pump in the world of sports, the Dodgers took down the Mets in the 1988 NLCS.

That fact wasn't lost on Baltazar, either.

"It's time," he said. "This is 18 years in the making."

A key component of the Dodgers' other World Series championship team of the '80s let the fans know the role that they must play later this week.

"You've always been the wind beneath the wings of your Dodgers," said Steve Garvey, who played first base for the 1981 Dodgers.

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"Sweet Lou" Johnson and Ron Cey joined Garvey and Carolla and handed out multiple prizes to raffle winners. They ranged from Dodgers sweatshirts and hats, signed baseballs by Johnson and Garvey, a Rafael Furcal jersey and baseball DVDs.

The most sought-after prizes were two pairs of tickets for Game 3 of the NLDS, set for Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Visitors to the free event were treated to musical acts from The Donnas and Whiskey Falls. The latter was decked out in Dodgers gear and seemed as if its members would have fit right in with the crowd below them.

While the jerseys bore the names of "Valenzuela," "Kent" or "Garvey" -- and the late, great Jackie Robinson -- one player in particular seemed to get much of the adoration.

"Nomar, he's been the man," Baltazar said. "He's come through when we needed him."

And Dodgers fans showed in mass on Monday evening that they'll be ready to come through when their team needs them to do so.

Greg Wagner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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