The Cal State Bakersfield Hot Stove Dinner has always attracted big names for its keynote speaker.
In recent years, the Roadrunners athletic department has brought in special guests such as Tommy John, Angels manager Mike Scioscia, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, and former Giants manager Dusty Baker.
And this year's special guest brings a ton of star power to the table as well, as reigning National League Rookie of the Year and Los Angeles Dodgers standout first baseman Cody Bellinger will address the crowd.
The dinner, which is put on by the CSUB baseball program, will be held at the Kern County Fair and Event Center on Jan. 20. Last year the event sold out with Baker as a main attraction. This year the program is expecting another terrific turnout with an active, big-name player as the featured speaker.
Also expected to be in attendance is current big leaguers Aaron Hicks (center fielder, New York Yankees) and Travis d'Arnaud (catcher, New York Mets).
“This is a huge, huge thing for us,” CSUB Athletics Director Kenneth "Ziggy" Siegfried. “We’ve been selling it out (annually) anyway. But this should go pretty quick.”
The event acts as a fundraiser and team introductory event for the Roadrunners baseball program. Individual tickets are $125 and there are limited sponsorship opportunities still available, according to Siegfried.
Dinner is catered by Luigi's, and there will also be an auction for items such as vacation getaways and autographed sports memorabilia.
Bellinger had a monster year last year for the Dodgers, hitting .267 with 39 home runs and 97 RBI. The Dodgers finished with a 104-58 record and reached Game 7 of the World Series before falling to the Houston Astros.
"We are super grateful to have an All-Star lineup show up in Bakersfield for our Hot Stove Dinner," Jeremy Beard, CSUB baseball coach, said in a press release. "We have three of the most promising players in the big leagues right now helping our cause. We look forward to an exciting event that supports our vision to take our program to another level. We are being very aggressive with facility improvements and hosting this event is a big step in the right direction."
The athletics department typically sells about 500 tickets for the event, which will be emceed by CSUB basketball alumni and current play-by-play announcer Vance Palm. Those seeking more information or would like to purchase tickets can call 661-654-2893.