On a typical summer evening between home games at Dodger Stadium, Chavez Ravine is quiet while players spend their off day someplace else. But since 2014, the empty stadium has been converted for one night every August into a March Madness–style table tennis venue. The occasion is Clayton Kershaw’s Ping-Pong 4 Purpose, a competitive Ping-Pong tournament that raises money for the ace pitcher’s charity foundation, which focuses on at-risk youth in Los Angeles, Africa and the Dominican Republic.
This year’s 32-team tournament attracted a handful of Kershaw’s teammates — including Joc Pederson, Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick — as well as a lineup that featured Will Ferrell, Susan Sarandon, Diplo, Nomar Garciaparra, Orel Hershiser and Mario Lopez.
Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, kicked off the event with a speech detailing the work done by their charity, which they founded together in 2011, after Ellen visited an underfunded orphanage in Zambia. The next year, Kershaw took home the Roberto Clemente Award — given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to the team.”
The Players’ Tribune was on hand to cover the event.
Visit the Kershaw’s Challenge website to learn more about Clayton and Ellen’s vision — and to find info about signing up for next year’s tournament.