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Dodgers going organic this season

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Scott Van Slyke misses his junky, cheesy snacks. He can’t get them at the Dodgers spring training facility, so he has to buy them in a 50-pack at Costco.

“I mean, who doesn’t like Cheetos? Who’s going to go, ‘A Cheeto? No, I’m good,’ “ Van Slyke said.

Howie Kendrick has a plan to smuggle in a little maple syrup in the morning. Brett Anderson brings in Starbucks every morning because he’s not a big fan of the organic coffee on tap. Even the front office has to spread out to find something that’s bad for the body. Team president Stan Kasten stopped by the press work room -- an area he’d normally just as soon avoid -- in order to track down a soda the other day.

The Dodgers are making a major effort to encourage their players to eat healthily. New team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and farm director Gabe Kapler -- who has a blog in which he extols the virtues of healthy living -- have had clubbies pull the usual assortment of junk food out of the clubhouse and brought in a healthy catering company to make the meals.

“We are the healthiest team in pro sports,” was written across the top of the menu at Camelback Ranch Thursday. That day’s lunch was organic seared pork chops, free-range herb seared chicken, organic baked potatoes and organic sautéed asparagus. Not exactly low-calorie, but fortifying and low on toxins.

“If it gives us more energy and helps us go longer, I’m all for it,” Crawford said, while then admitting he prefers starchy fried southern food when he’s on his own.

“All things considered, it’s probably not what I’d eat if I wasn’t a baseball player, but I get it,” Anderson said.

It’s probably fair to say baseball has been slow to get on the good-nutrition bandwagon. The Dodgers have been moving in that direction for a while. They hired a chef to prepare meals for players in the clubhouse last season. This season, they plan on buying organic. The program will extend from Los Angeles to every step on the minor-league chain. Good luck finding organic in Midland, Mich.

“Gabe is ferocious with everything he does, so he will make it work,” Kasten said. “I brought a packet of white sugar from Starbucks the other day. If you say, ‘White sugar,’ he goes off the rails.”

What the players eat when they leave the facilities, of course, is another matter.

“Call me old school. I like choosing what I eat,” Van Slyke said.