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Dodgers notes: Stephen Nelson, Uganda academy, Pride Night

MLB: APR 29 Cardinals at Dodgers Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dodgers broadcaster Stephen Nelson is in his first year with the team, hired in January to call over 50 games this season for SportsNet LA. Nelson is the only Asian American announcer working for a major league team, and he was featured on The Today Show this week on NBC:

“This is going to sound so Asian — I just don’t want to disappoint my parents. It never leaves you, no matter how old you get,” Nelson told Emile Ikeda of NBC. “My only goal is to make them proud. I want to make it about proving people right, the people who have been there for us, who have sacrificed for us, who have helped us, and mentored us and taught us. I want to prove them right.

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times visited the Dodgers baseball academy in Uganda — the only MLB-team-run academy in Europe or Africa — and the growth of baseball over the last two decades in the country. The Dodgers won’t comment on the academy, preferring to stay secretive about their investment in one of the poorest countries in the world:

And though the team’s logo has become ubiquitous on caps and shirts at baseball fields around Kampala, many Ugandans say the Dodgers, unlike Stanley, have acted like the colonizers of centuries past, mining the country for its natural resources — in this case, athletes — but refusing to give back.

“What the Dodgers are doing is picking the best, the cream of the crop,” said Bice, a former Dodgers scout in Uganda. “And if you’re not the best they are going to drop you.”

The Dodgers’ 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night will be held on Friday, June 16, when the Dodgers hosting the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers scout Tom Kunis was a guest Kyle Glaser at Baseball America on the Behind the Plate podcast, and talked about a few of the players he’s signed, including Tony Gonsolin, a two-way player in college who became an All-Star pitcher.

“That guy deserves every penny he gets. Every penny,” Kunis said of Gonsolin, who signed for $2,500 after getting drafted in the ninth round in 2016. “For all he’s done for our organization, and the way he did it, the work he put in, I’m elated for him. It’s like Christmas, opening a new package, for the kid to make his way and do it with class. Nothing more enjoyable.”

Cody Bellinger is off to a great start with the Cubs, prompting Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs to analyze what the former Dodgers outfielder is doing well, including hitting high fastballs after some mechanical changes.

You can head into your weekend enjoying this soothing graphic of Friday night’s Dodgers starting pitcher.