It won’t be long before the Los Angeles Lakers are back in action with training camp, the preseason and the 2023-24 regular season just a couple weeks away. But until then, Lakers players can continue enjoying the final moments of the offseason, including some fun public appearances like the one made by Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaxson Hayes.
Vanderbilt and Hayes made an appearance at Wednesday night’s L.A. Dodgers game against the Detroit Tigers, an eventual 4-2 loss in the series finale. The recently-extended forward and first-year Lakers center threw out ceremonial first pitches.
The Dodgers did not make any announcement prior to the first pitch and the Lakers posted a photo of the two players together in the minutes just before they took the field for the pre-game ceremony. This made it a surprise treat for the Dodgers and Lakers fans in attendance on Wednesday.
Both players took the mound to make their first pitch, with Hayes getting the first wind-up. He tossed a low arching strike that fell right in the lap of the ceremonial catcher. Vanderbilt’s pitch — a left-hander — stayed high and caused the catcher to have to stand up out of the catcher’s crouch.
Regardless of the quality of their pitches, it’s exciting to see two Lakers — especially two newer players — make appearances like this and endear themselves to the Lakers faithful. Vanderbilt joined the team at the trade deadline last season and just landed a four-year, $48 million extension. Yet, he is still eager to make public appearances like this one.
Hayes is a brand new Laker, joining the team in the offseason to play a major role as the primary backup for star center Anthony Davis. He has not yet taken the court as a member of the team, but he has made several public appearances this offseason.
Vanderbilt praises Lakers fanbase
Vanderbilt recently was a guest on the Run Your Race podcast via Tidal League and discussed his first impressions of joining the Lakers. And one of the things that stood out most to him was the fanbase and the bright lights that come with being in L.A.
“Their fan base is like no other fan base. Everywhere you go, it’s just like a movie. Like it really is, there’s just no other way to put it. Obviously the lights are brighter and you’re on TV every game. Like in Utah, we maybe had only a couple TV games, and now you’re playing every night on the biggest stage.”
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