Loney, Dodgers bowl for a good cause

Loney, Dodgers bowl for a good cause

Loney, Dodgers bowl for a good cause
LOS ANGELES -- Even on their off-day, many of the Dodgers couldn't avoid an evening of balls and strikes.

However, these weren't the kind that will have any sort of impact on the chase for a division title.

Instead, this variety of balls and strikes also came in the form of spares, splits and turkeys, as many of the current players and coaches participated in the annual Natural Balance Pet Foods Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza hosted by James Loney on Thursday night.

Joined by a few celebrities, the Dodgers enjoyed a night of fun and bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles to raise money for the organization's charity that supports a number of non-profit groups in the area. It was the eighth year of the event, and fifth hosted by Loney, as the players traded in their uniforms and cleats for bowling shirts and shoes.

"This is real special to get the kids out of the hospital and give them a chance to make some memories," said Loney, who has seen the event grow a lot over the years. "It's a fun time."

Several members of the Dodgers' organization came out to support Loney and the cause. Manager Don Mattingly came with his family, and he was joined by Hanley Ramirez, A.J. Ellis and Clayton Kershaw, along with a number of others.

Actors Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family and Terry Crews from the newly released Expendables 2 were among the celebrities who came out to bowl. Both Stonestreet and Crews threw out the ceremonial first pitch this season, and they were excited to partake in their first Dodgers Dream Foundation event.

Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar even showed up for the evening, and he and Stonestreet traded strikes in side-by-side lanes.

"James asked me to come out and support the organization and I'm happy to do it to raise some money and awareness for kids and people who need some help," said Stonestreet, who added his character Cam on Modern Family would be a fantastic bowler with style and grace.

"The Dodger organization is so great. At my son's first baseball game, I got to throw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium," said Crews, who chalked up his poor bowling to being too strong for the sport. "These guys are so great with the community. Any event they invite me to, I'm coming."

A silent auction with prizes like autographed baseballs, jerseys and bats from current and former Dodgers, along with a number of vacation packages, took place throughout the night to raise money.

Earlier this season, pitcher Chad Billingsley hosted a Charity Golf Invitational at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes to raise money for the Dodgers Dream Foundation.

For all the Dodgers in attendance Thursday night, including Mattingly, there was no hesitation in giving up their off-day to help with the cause.

"This is a fun event and it's a great night for a great reason," Ellis said. "It's something I look forward to, and something we always ask James about in Spring Training."

Following a disappointing series against the rival Giants, the players used the night of bowling to clear their heads and prepare for the stretch run.

"As soon as that game ended last night, it took about an hour to adjust and realize it was a tough series," added Ellis, who threw a number of strikes despite saying he isn't very good at bowling. "But you have an off-day and an event like this to look forward to to lift your spirits up and get ready for the home stretch."

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