The fourth annual Blue Diamond Gala helped benefit Dodgers Dreamfields and RBI programs.
John Legend hit it out the park Monday night (June 11) at Dodger Stadium as part the Major League Baseball team's annual Blue Diamond Gala to benefit programs for inner-city kids and more.
Hosted by Arsenio Hall and George Lopez — both self-pressed diehard Los Angeles Dodgers fans — the event helped raise more than $100,000 from a live-action auction alone to help support communities in Southern California.
For more than an hour, Legend rocked a special stage set up in the middle center field with rousing performances “All Me,” “I Know Better,” “Penthouse Floor,” “A Good Night” and covers Curtis Mayfield's “Superfly,” Elton John's “Don't Let the Sun Go Down Me” and a jaw-dropping acoustic version Billy Idol's “Dancing in the Dark.”
The evening opened with fun banter from Hall and Lopez, with the latter joking that since he and former Dodger ace Fernando Valenzuela were both in the same place at the same time, it's now clear that they're “not the same person.” Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation executive director Nichol Whiteman noted that with support from the team and its fans, the organization was able to grow the number Dreamfields from four in 2003 to 50 this year.
“This is our chance to look around and celebrate what brings us together instead what divides us,” she said before introducing Dodgers RBI (Revising Baseball in Inner Cities) participant Bella Ramirez.
An eloquent and poised Ramirez gave an emotional speech about the program's power, noting that the field she played on before RBI got involved was an embarrassment. “Nobody cared. The field was our trash can. I wanted to quit,” Ramirez recalled. However, after the community park became a Dodgers Dreamfield, interest in baseball — and the newly launched stball program there — skyrocketed to the point where there's now a wait list to play as she learned how to be a leader both on the field and f.
The annual gala, which supports the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, brought out team favorites past and present, including Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Kenley Jansen, Chase Utley, Walker Bueler, Joc Pedersen, Chris Taylor, Orel Hershiser, Rick Monday and more.
Since its launch, the LADF has invested more than $21 million into the local community through direct programs and grants, impacting millions children. The 2018 Blue Diamond Gala was presented by the Los Angeles Dodgers Ownership Group, which includes Mark Walter, Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Todd Boehly, Bobby Patton and Peter Guber.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.