Punto & Leary Entertain Dodger Fans at Valencia Town Center Mall

Dodgers utility infielder Nick Punto may be quick to first base with his trademark (and insanely risky) head-first slides, but even the speedy veteran infielder couldn’t outrun heavy holiday traffic on Saturday morning getting to one of Southern California’s busiest shopping malls, the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall in Santa Clarita, California.

Although Nick Punto arrived a little late, absolutely no one complained, much to the pleasure of a smiling Jon Chapper - the Dodgers Public Relations Coordinator. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

Although Nick Punto arrived a little late, absolutely no one complained, much to the pleasure of a smiling Jon Chapper – the Dodgers Public Relations Coordinator.

Punto, a 35-year-old native of San Diego, was warmly welcomed by the crowd of over 200 to the familiar chant “Let’s-Go-Dod-gers!” and wasted no time getting to work greeting Dodger fans and signing autographs on everything including baseballs, photographs, T-shirts, bats, baseball cards, jerseys, hats and even a beautiful (and huge) painting of Dodger Stadium.

Nick signs a T-shirt for a lady Dodger fan. (Photo Credit - Ron Cervenka)

Nick signs a T-shirt for a lady Dodger fan (and yes, that’s our good friend and long-time Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo in the background).

Former Dodger pitcher Tim Leary arrived for the second shift to relieve Punto at Saturday’s meet and greet. Leary is best remembered for relieving another famous Dodger – starting pitcher Tim Belcher in game-1 of the 1988 World Series after Belcher gave up a second inning grand slam to Oakland slugger Jose Canseco. Leary pitched 3 scoreless innings holding the score at 4-2 in the game that was eventually won on Kirk Gibson’s historic walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th, thus setting the stage for the last World Championship enjoyed by the Dodgers in 24 (very long) years.

Even though Punto and Leary may not be the biggest names among current and former Dodgers, they have one very big thing in common – they both have World Series rings; Leary with the 1988 Dodgers and Punto with the incredible 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. Ironically, they each played in a World Series game that are considered by many to be the two greatest World Series games of all time – Leary in the Gibson home run game in 1988 against the Oakland Athletics and Punto in game-6 of the 2011 World Series in which the Cardinals were one strike away from losing the series to the Texas Rangers – twice.

More than 200 Dodger fans were on hand to greet Nick Punto and Tim Leary on an absolutely beautiful day in Southern California.

More than 200 Dodger fans were on hand to greet Nick Punto and Tim Leary on an absolutely glorious Southern California day.

When all was said and done, everyone left happy – especially the many kids in attendance who enjoyed carnival games and arts and crafts activities.

Youngsters enjoyed carnival games and arts & crafts activities. (Photo credit Ron Cervenka)

Nothing makes kids happier than a box of crayons, well… except maybe Christmas.

The final stop on the Dodgers 2013 Holiday Tour will be next Saturday, December 22 at the Del Amo Fashion Center located at 3525 W. Carson Street in Torrance.

(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

UPDATE:

December 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM – Scott Andes from Lasorda’s Lair was also at the Punto/Leary event at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall this past Saturday. Check out his great post.

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10 Responses to “Punto & Leary Entertain Dodger Fans at Valencia Town Center Mall”

  1. Truebluewill says:

    Looks like a great time was had by all. That was nice that Tim Leary was there. A failed Met who became one of my favorite Dodgers in that great season of 1988. 53, where’s the picture of you getting your autographs? Why isn’t anyone wearing a winter coat? Oh, right – it’s California!

    BTW, do you know if the Dodgers have plans to honor the 25th anniversary of 1988 World Championship team this coming season?

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      My question is, “Why are they wearing jackets in sunny California?”

      Nick Punto is one of those glue guys. That is, mortar that holds the bricks together. Like Jamey Carroll, Jerry Hairston, the kind that give it all they have that helps win games when the sluggers are not slugging.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      “Do you know if the Dodgers have plans to honor the 25th anniversary of 1988 World Championship team this coming season?”

      That’s a good question, Will. I haven’t heard anything yet, but my guess would be yes. They have done something for their other WS anniversaries (which, of course, is why you asked the question in the first place); usually a special patch or a special logo around the stadium – something like that. I’m hoping that they celebrate it by winning their seventh one. :)

      If I hear anything, I’ll let y’all know.

      I’ll post the photo you are inquiring about on the forum. Although you can’t see my ball, he’s signing it in the top photo of the article. You can see my BIC pen, however (which I had to wrestle away from him when he was finished – :lol: ).


      Photobucket

  2. echavez2 says:

    One of my wifes favorite malls to visit. When we make it out west we stay in Santa Clarita, because we know the area well. We used to own a company that did a lot of business in that area, so now that’s the only area my wife wants to stay when we go west. You know the saying Happy wife happy life. Great mall and community. Also heard this week three baseball players Shields, Baurer, and one other were all traded this past week. What do they have in common? They all attended Hart High School. Go Dodgers!

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