We’re still reeling over the sudden and tragic loss of our longtime senior writer and friend Kenny Shulsen. I wanted to let everyone know what kind of great guy Kenny was. He was a kind and decent man. I wanted to paint a broader picture of Kenny. There was so much more to Kenny than just what he wrote over here on Lasorda’s Lair.
Kenny Billings Shulsen- 1969-2014
Kenny was a family man with a wife Tami, and son Luke. He spoke of them often. I remember him calling me and telling me about his meetings with Dodger’s GM Ned Colletti. I can still remember him calling me and telling me how excited he was to meet Ned, and how thrilled he was that Luke got to meet Ned as well. He was extremely gracious towards Kenny, and we appreciate Ned’s generosity, and kindness.
Kenny was a man with many talents, interests and hobbies. He was part of a fraternity in college, and made a large number of lifelong friends there. Kenny played online fantasy Baseball with a number of his old college buddies and childhood friends every year. Their league was called ALWAN, which stands for A League without a Name. Apparently the guys couldn’t decide on a name at the time.
So when Kenny’s childhood best friend Bret emailed me to ask if they could rename the league Lasorda’s Lair, I was touched. You’ll all be happy to know that Kenny’s league is now called “Lasorda’s Lair”. I’m hoping that one day next season that Bret will let me play with the rest of the guys.
Kenny was also a big basketball fan too. He rooted for the Utah Jazz, and wrote articles over at the site Purple and Blues, the Fansided Utah Jazz site. Here was Kenny’s final article on the Jazz, that was published over at Purple and Blues.
I remember all of the times we instant messaged, or emailed during games. He was always willing to calm me down when I was frustrated with the Dodgers, or offer words of encouragement. A lot of our emails were of me asking why the bullpen sucked so much, or pointing out a great play. I would say “Did you see that catch Puig just made?” A lot of the time I would email him frustrated about the Dodger’s play. He was always there to tell me to have patience and that things would get better.
I remember last year being up in the press box during the Tampa Bay game, and then coming home all excited and pumped. Who was the first person to call me? It was Kenny, and he was just as excited as I was. I still remember him saying “and you were there!”.
He loved to joke around too, like many of us do. You know how much I like to make a funny. We kid around a lot over here. We never take ourselves too seriously. Kenny didn’t either. He loved a good laugh every now and then too. I remember one day Kenny emailed me to tell me he had been hired as Ned Colletti’s personal assistant. Of course he was kidding around, and what a laugh we both had. I almost believed it for a second.
Kenny was able to go down to spring training earlier this year with Luke, and was able to talk with and interview Ned Colletti again. I remember Kenny calling me and telling me about his meet with Colletti. Apparently him and Colletti rode around in his Ned’s golf cart together and talked for over an hour. Kenny was so excited Luke was able to meet him.
I remember Kenny telling me about some of his family responsibilities with Luke’s little league team. He was helping out with Luke’s team up until he passed away, as a coach.
He also was telling me about some of his health issues, and how hard it was on his family. Kenny had an immune system disorder, and was fighting for a long time. Earlier in the year he had been in the hospital again. I remember being really worried because I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of weeks. So I called him, and he told me about having to go back into the hospital for a short while, and some of his struggles with his health.
I never thought this would happen. He seemed ok. He was talking to me and online every game up until the time of his passing. We had finally made plans to meet up on the next Dodger home stand, which was around his birthday on the 25. I remember him asking me which series he should come out for. We had many discussions about the trip, and where he would stay. I had offered my couch to him. He was so excited to be coming out here.
The Lair was an important part of Kenny’s life, and he worked hard to help build it up into what it is today. Kenny was a pleasure to work with. He was a great writer, and friend. He was always willing to do whatever was best for the site.
Dodger games won’t be the same anymore. But we’ll go on over here. Kenny’s memory and writing will live on forever at the Lair. His memory will never fade. A person is never gone if you talk about them often. And we’ll be talking about Kenny all the time.
I miss you Kenny.
We’ll have more on the life and times of Kenny Shulsen later throughout the week.