Bernie Sanders tugged at his Brooklyn Dodgers cap. He had already met with manager Dave Roberts, posed for pictures with outfielder Yasiel Puig and watched closer Kenley Jansen throw a bullpen session. Now the senator from Vermont and former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination explained why he paid a visit to Camelback Ranch on Sunday.
“My memories of the Dodgers go back a little bit before L.A.,” Sanders said. “We were in Brooklyn. The Dodgers were more than a team. They were a way of life. The team meant the world to the kids of Brooklyn. I’m sure that’s the case now.”
The arrival of Sanders, in town for a rally in Phoenix, broke the tedium of an otherwise sleepy morning. Sanders signed autographs for Dodgers fans as members of the team streamed past. He traipsed behind the batting cages to introduce himself to players like outfielder Andrew Toles and utility man Enrique Hernandez.
Sanders waxed poetic about his affinity for the Dodgers of his childhood. He said he learned how to do math by calculating “the batting averages of Gil Hodges and Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, and the pitching records of Don Newcombe.” He attended high school about 20 minutes from Ebbets Field. Sanders described that group as “a sociological phenomenon” and “just an intrinsic part of my life.”
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