Bellinger delights crowd at fifth annual Hot Stove Dinner


The CSU Bakersfield baseball team applauds during the 5th Annual Hot Stove DInner.

Vincent Perez

Sports Editor

A night of generous donations for the CSU Bakersfield Baseball program and a visit from three Major League Baseball players set the tone for the night at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Cody Bellinger, first baseman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was the main attraction of the guests in attendance at the fifth Annual Hot Stove Dinner to benefit CSUB baseball.

Bellinger, 22, played minor league baseball in 2015 with the Bakersfield Blaze, is familiar with Bakersfield. He relaxed before the fundraiser.

He said, “We golfed today, and the course was nice. This is a great event and I’m glad to be here.”

In his rookie season with the Dodgers, Bellinger reached game seven World Series, yet, did not win. Donations went far and wide.

One donor gave $10,000, two donors gave $5,000, including baseball head coach Jeremy Beard and 15 donors offered $1,000 to the baseball program. All three guests, Bellinger, Yankee Aaron Hicks, outfielder, and Travis d’Arnaud, catcher of the Mets, all donated $1,000 as well. Totals have not yet been released, but will come in the next week.

Bellinger had a quick meeting with the 2018 CSUB baseball team. “I met them really quickly, 10 to 15 minutes. I didn’t give them advice but they have a smaller program but it really doesn’t matter. You can get your job done.”

Bellinger delighted Dodger fans at the event, as he received the biggest applause of the night.

Alec Daily, a redshirt-senior left-hand pitcher said about previous Hot Stove Dinners, “It’s really cool for the players to see all the big names who come. They get to learn from Tommy Lasorda, Tommy John.”

Daily said about this year’s guest, “Now, Cody Bellinger is really cool because we have a few guys who are older than him. He’s in the big leagues, so we can relate to him.”

The 2018 season is close for CSUB. They open with non-conference play Feb. 16 at home versus UC Davis at 6 p.m.

“We had a really long and good fall. The golden rule in baseball is the harder the fall, the easier the spring. We’re ready for spring.”

The CSUB baseball program has tremendous local support.

Daily said, “We have such a good community here that there’s never pressure to fill the seats.”

2017 National League Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers addresses the crowd at the fifth annual Hot Stove Dinner.

Photos by Peter Castillo/ The Runner