Okay, first things first. The completed grid is as follows:
As signified by the yellow boxes, the four Dodgers are Broxton, Eischen, Ardoin, and Sutton. Many people submitted the fact that they all end in the letter "n", but that wasn't relevant. Rather, their bond is signalled by the five blue squares, which acronym (reading left-to-right) as NKOTB, also known as New Kids On The Block.
Looking further, our four Dodgers have first names that match four of the five members of the 90's boy band: Jonathan (Broxton) Knight, Joey (Eischen) McIntyre, Danny (Ardoin) Wood, and Donnie (Sutton) Wahlberg. This would only leave out Jordan Knight. There are no Dodgers on the all-time roster with a first name of "Jordan," but as clued by "albeit differently from the other four," there are four former Dodgers with "Jordan" for a last name. Only one of these was an outfielder, the answer to the puzzle, Brian Jordan.
There were a number of clues in the flavortext which signaled NKOTB, including "step by step" and "hang in there" (the latter of which is a bit of a stretch but refers to their album, "Hangin' Tough"). Also, the five Dodgers were supposed to perform in front of a crowd of high-school girls, a typical crowd for NKOTB.
And finally, in hint #2, it was mentioned that "It is also not relevant to examine the last letters of their first names; you're getting confused with something else." That was a veiled reference to N*SYNC, another boy band, which allegedly determined the band's name by taking the last letters of the quintet's first names (or initials, in JC's case).
As I mentioned in the original post, I'm not very experienced in creating crosswords. So I apologize for mistakenly placing Kiev in Russia rather than the Ukraine--call me a chicken, I suppose. However, to the one person who objected to defining "ply" as "to carry on," I blame dictionary.com, or more specifically, Random House.
Congratulations to the winners with the correct answer, all of whom will be entered into this puzzle's Participation Prize Lottery; as of 7p PT on 9/22, they include (in order of finish) quadsevens, MSTI, fanerman, daniel, jose, gil gamesh, neeebs, steve, mr. customer, berkowit28, and erin (just back in town; as berk correctly mentioned, "first time we've had a submission *from* a clue"!). Quadsevens gets additional golf clap credit for such an early, succinct, complete, and correct answer, which was truly astonishing. Karina and cigarcow also are entered in the lottery but as of this writing, their answers were not correct.
Thanks to all for participating, stay tuned for a post on the lottery methodology, and look for the final off-day puzzle of the season, Sept 29 at 7am sharp!