Friends, of course, asked repeatedly if Piazza went out with her, which he says never happened.
The Dodgers catcher did get some major gratitude from the King of Baywatch Beach: David Hasselhoff. The Hoff wasn't there on set that day, but he called Piazza and thanked him for doing the show -- saying he was a big fan of the All-Star. They'd also meet up and chat about the appearance at award shows in L.A. What did teammates think of the appearance?
"Eric Karros definitely hammered me on it," Piazza recalls. "If you don't get criticized on a team, then they probably don't like you. [The Dodgers] definitely had their fun with me."
Piazza would star on the big and small screens in future years -- you may recall his Pert Plus commercials or his cameo (along with Tsuyoshi Shinjo!) in Sandra Bullock's movie "Two Weeks Notice." But the "Baywatch" role has to be the most memorable. It's very close to his heart: Piazza's wife, Alicia, is a former actress on the show -- she made appearances in the early 2000s. And his performance is one friends continue to remind him about nearly every day.
"I mean, look at the way people still respond to it, it's pretty funny," Piazza says. "I've really enjoyed interacting with people on social media about it. It's cool." Gavin Lux and Walker Buehler are two rare talents whose 2020 seasons are lessons in high expectations.
The Dodgers are the best team in baseball, even though neither Lux nor Buehler will be winning those awards after slow starts. On Tuesday night at Chase Field, though, Lux reminded us just what he's capable of, blasting a pair of home runs to help the Dodgers overcome a short start by Buehler in a wild 10-9 comeback win over the D-backs, in which the Dodgers had 12 walks and stranded 15.
Lux drove in five runs, and every bit of his three-run homer in a four-run 10th inning was needed, as the D-backs scored three times against closer Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the inning to fall just short.
With the win, the Dodgers avoided their first three-game losing streak in more than a year. And while there is ongoing concern over Buehler and the stubborn right index finger blister, at least Lux is finally showing some signs of why MLB Pipeline has him rated as the game's No. 2 prospect.
The Dodgers seem to be striking a tricky balance with Lux, who arrived late to Summer Camp with a swing that wasn't ready and wild throws that brought back memories of his spring 2019 yips. He has been given a runway to win the starting second-base job for the postseason, as he was last September. Despite the slow start since his callup late last month, Lux continues to get opportunities. A 10-pitch walk in the ninth inning Sunday earned praise from manager Dave Roberts. Lux's next at-bat was an opposite-field home run in the second inning on Tuesday.
“I was looking to grind it out, get it to the next guy and pass the torch,” Lux said of Sunday's walk, when he battled back from an 0-2 count to bring up hot-hitting Corey Seager. “Any time you can work a 10-pitch walk in that situation, it always helps your confidence a little bit.”
Roberts said Lux is playing “much more like himself, much more free and easy.” Three hits and a walk helped blunt Lux's throwing error that led to Arizona's five-run third inning and Buehler's exit after 2 2/3 innings. The error made three of Buehler's five runs unearned, although Buehler downplayed the effects of the blister that put him on the injured list last month, instead blaming the pitches.
Buehler retired the first seven batters he faced, firing triple-digit fastballs repeatedly, then lost location while rarely throwing breaking pitches and served up home runs to Daulton Varsho and Kole Calhoun. Buehler wasn't late to Summer Camp, but he also wasn't built up as much as other starters and he still hasn't caught up. He has failed to finish the fifth inning in three of his seven starts.
“We made a decision for me to go out and pitch,” said Buehler. “It just didn't go our way in the third. Obviously, a couple home runs. Other than those two swings, I made some decent pitches and just didn't get out of it and that's on me.
“I feel good physically and that's about it. I'm trying to learn how to deal with it and execute, and I assume my goal is to be better next year. I've said it a million times, I've had a few tough ones this year and I haven't sunk the ship. We have a really good team. Happy to get out of here with a win. I'm not overly concerned, I just want to pitch better. I don't think today was a result of that [blister]. It's something -- no offense -- that you [media] guys will talk about and whatnot. To me, I just didn't make pitches. The ball is coming out of my hand about as well as it ever has.” Justin Turner was named the Dodgers' 2020 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which didn't come as a tremendous shock to his manager.
“He and [his wife] Kourtney do just amazing things in the community and are always serving,” said Dave Roberts. “It's just remarkable how he can balance a Major League Baseball season and still serve the community. He just does a fantastic job.”
The Roberto Clemente Award is baseball's most prestigious individual honor for Major Leaguers, as it recognizes a player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
That would be Turner, the epitome of a Dodger -- a Southern California native who still lives there, an All-Star on the field, leader in the clubhouse and the community. In his seventh season as a Dodger, Justin and Kourtney run the Justin Turner Foundation, whose mission is to support homeless veterans, children (and their families) battling life-altering illnesses and diseases, as well as running various youth baseball organizations.
“When you start out you want to hold events and you don't always have the courage to do it,” said Turner. “But once you do it and see the impact it has on the lives of the kids or families or the homeless veterans -- whoever it may be that day you see how special it is for those individuals and it drives you to want to do more. It's been awesome to see it grow. It's become addictive to us.
“To [be nominated for] the Clemente Award, it's something that means a lot to Kourt and I. We take a lot of pride in giving back to the community and finding ways to serve and help people and lift people up in times of need. To be nominated on a team full of guys who are really excellent in helping out this community is pretty special to us.” When the pandemic hit, the Turners spent the quarantine at home working to support small businesses, while at the same time providing hot meals to the Los Angeles Dream Center, which fed over 12,000 individuals per day. Teammates joined the effort, helping to keep restaurants in business and feed those experiencing food insecurity as Los Angeles' unemployment rate rose. The Turners served at the drive-through food distribution, which operated 11 hours a day, seven days a week, donating an estimated 900,000 meals during the 82-day effort, culminating with the Dream Center naming its food bank The Justin & Kourtney Turner Food Bank.
“There's always a need,” said Turner. “If you're willing to do it and to reach out to them, the Dream Center will find a way for you to serve the community. Kourtney takes the reins on everything; she's unbelievable. She always comes up in the clutch and gets it done. There would be no Justin Turner Foundation if it wasn't for her.”
In addition to his efforts at the Dream Center, Justin donated meals to doctors, nurses and staff at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where Justin, Kourtney and the Justin Turner Foundation have been added to the “Spotlight Wall” in recognition of their philanthropy. They served as Honorary Hosts for their Walk and Play LA event the past two years, helping raise critical funds for the hospital. They hosted CHLA's Winter Wonderland during the holidays for hundreds of patients. The Turners also visit patients at Cedars Sinai Hospital and UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and serve on the board of UCLA Health's Operation Mend, which provides healthcare and social support for wounded warriors and their families.
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