Deion Sanders did it. Brian Jordan did it too. Most famously, Bo Jackson did it.
They were all two-sport stars.
However, that was football and baseball. To the best of my knowledge, no modern pro athlete has ever gone from the playing field to a sheet of ice in the NHL.
Could the Dodgers’ James Loney be the first?
Prior to last night’s Dodger game, I spoke with the first baseman to talk a little hockey. After all, it was ‘Kings Night’ at the ballpark.
“I haven’t made it out to a game yet,” Loney admitted. “I know at Spring Training in Arizona, they have hockey playing right next door too. I want to get out to one. So, hopefully it happens pretty soon.”
He’s not a complete hockey novice though. “I’ve been to a minor league game, the Houston Aeros (AHL),” Loney shared. “I remember a fight breaking out right after the National Anthem. It was pretty insane.”
Unlike Andre Either, he doesn’t want to just visit Staples Center to drop a ceremonial first-puck before the game. “I want to come and shoot some goals,” Loney exclaimed with a huge smile and eyes wide open. “I want to come early. I want to put some gear on.”
He even confirmed it wouldn’t be the first time he’s seen the ice – “I’ve been on skates, yeah!”
Then, Loney must have had a moment of clarity. “Maybe I can just be a goalie or something, just kind of move around back there. But, I want to get down and dirty with those guys.”
As for the Dodgers and their weekend series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Loney said, “I’m feeling pretty good. We’ve been playing pretty well over the last few weeks. Maybe not getting as many wins as we’d like, obviously. But, we’re coming off a pretty hot streak this last week. So, we’re hoping to keep that rolling.”
And they certainly did, beating the D-backs 9-5.
After the game, Loney mentioned to me again how serious he was about coming to a Kings game this winter.
Somebody order this guy a jersey and get him some skates. We’ll just need to see if Rob Scuderi is willing to give up his #7 for the night.
up later – comments from Don Mattingly and Tony Gwynn Jr