Monday, July 31, 2006

My Time at the National

As you may know, the National Sports Collectors Conventions concluded this past Sunday in Anaheim. It was quite an event with athletes and celebrities of all stripes signing for adoring fans. There where several hundred tables featuring modern shiny Baseball cards and vintage rarities. Unfortunately, the crowds where underwhelming, but met expectations. I think 30,000+ collectors showed up over the 5 day event. My discussions with a handful of vintage dealers suggested that they did quite well. One dealer who specializes in vintage non-sports cards said he had a buyer walk up and spend $28,000 at one time. That is a monster sale for such items.

I will post some pics of my purchases soon, so please stay tuned. Also, I added a handful of pics in my photoalbum. For some strange reason many of my pics turned out blurry- I think I need some photographic instructions. Nevertheless, I had a fun time. On top of that, I finally completed, after 5 years of trying, my 1972 Topps Baseball set. I also got a early 20th century Jack Johnson boxing card- a caramel 27 scrappers. This was my find of the week.

more pics can be found on the Vintage Baseball Card Forum:

Ned "The Busy Bee"

This has proven to be an exciting day for Dodger Baseball. We add a new 2nd baseman in Julio Lugo and future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux to anchor our starting rotation. In return we ship Caesar Izturis to the Cubs and send rookie prospects Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedrosa to Tampa Bay. Sergio went to my alma mater, Cal State Fullerton.

Lugo immediately starts at 2nd base until Jeff Kent returns. Who knows what happens when Kent is ready to play. I think Maddux will add poise and experience to a rotation that could use some leadership. His knowledge, skills and abilities will more than make up for any age related declines we may see in his performance this year.

Caesar, Pedrosa and Guzman where out of options with this new Dodger team. I am sad to see Caesar go. He remains my favorite defensive infielder. Pedrosa was not highly touted and may find some major league playing time in Tampa Bay. The promise of Guzman was overshadowed by the success of Ethier, Repko, Kemp and Loney. How many rookie prospect outfielders do we need?

Overall, I like the trades. We get some quality players for a title run without losing any of our top prospects. The future still remains bright. Ethier, Kemp, LaRoche, Loney, Billingsley, Hanrahan, Miller, Young, DeWitt, Abreau and Hu all stay. Good job Ned.

Wow! We Swept!

Considering the past 2+ weeks, I was not sure if the Dodgers would complete a series sweep again this season. Everything was looking dire, and disaster was around the corner. To come out of the gate in the 2nd half with a 1-13 record oftentimes means golf outings in October. Fortunately, the National League West is as weak as the coffee from my local donut shop.

We are still in it. A playoff berth is possible. The question, though, is should the Dodgers make some trades now to get us closer to an October series? Should we trade kids like Joel Guzman, James Loney or (god forbid) Matt Kemp?

Well, as you all know by now, the Dodgers traded Willy Aybar, Danny Baez and cash to Atlanta for Wilson Betemit. This is a lopsided trade that essentially acknowledges that the Baez trade was terrible. So terrible, in fact, that they chose to give away Baez and will pay the remainder of his salary this season. On the otherhand, Betemit for Aybar is an interesting move. I believe that Betemit is more proven at this time, but Aybar may have a higher potential ceiling. Nevertheless, I remember following Betemit when he was one of Atlanta's top prospects and I think he will do just fine.

Are more trades coming down the pike? Is Joel Guzman going next since he appears to be an odd man out in the outfield. How about Andy LaRoche? His slightly torn shoulder must have increased questions in the front office staff. He has huge upside and would probably command a high price. How about Loney? If Nomar signs a long term contract wouldn't that make Loney a valuable commodity? Today at 1:00 PM Pacific is the trading deadline. I guess we will find out soon if a blockbuster hit LA.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The National: Day 2

Welcome to the National. Today is the end of Day 2 in Anaheim. So far the crowds have been light to moderate. Below are some pictures I took while I was walking around. Above is the famous Gretzky/McNall 1909 T206 Honus Wagner in PSA 8 Mint Condition. It is displayed at the PSA submission area. It last sold in 2000 for $1,265,000.00.
This is a great painting of Eric Gagne. It brought back such wonderful memories.
Chad Billingsley made a surprise appearance for TriStar. He was signing free autographs. I was lucky to stumble upon this as he would only be appearing for 1 hour. His agent, Dave Stewart, was also there. I had just snapped this photo, turned around and overheard him speaking to a boy of probably 16. The kids father was in awe as Dave explained how important it was for him not to start throwing a curve ball at such a young age. He explained that you should work on a fastball and change up. Throwing a curve when your not physically developed can screw up your arm. He said something about how many kids who throw a curve too young oftentimes can't pitch faster than 85 mph when older. I was very impressed that Dave Stewart would take so much time with this kid. He's truly a class act.

Feel free to check out my photoalbum. I have more pics from the convention; including pictures of Bill Russell and Ron Cey signing autographs.

Update: So far I've purchase a bunch of oddball Dodger items like team issued photos, press photos, pins and vintage mini pennants. I'm also down to 2 cards left to complete my 1972 set and 6 cards on my Callahan set. Yhea.

Here are some other pictures from VintageCardPrices.com:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bye Bye Odalis

As I'm sure you all know, the Dodgers just completed a trade with the Kansas City Royals. Odalis Perez, Julio Pimental, Blake Johnson and cash for Elmer Dessens. It seems a little lopsided, especially if those rookies turn out to be better than serviceable relievers, but any deal that rids us of the albatross we call Odalis Perez is a good thing. Furthermore, I like Elmer. He's not going to make or break the season, but he'll give us some good games without all of the negative drama.

19th Century BB Photos from A. G. Spalding Collection

I just added a new link under "Collectibles" along the right side. It is for the New York Public Library online digital gallery featuring the A. G. Spalding Collection of Early Baseball Photographs. This is some great stuff. Rarely will you see such a large collection of vintage pics in one place. Notable players include Harry & Sam Wright and Henry Chadwick.

Gallery Link:

Hat Tip: VBC Forum 54

27th National Sports Collectors Convention

Tomorrow is day one of the 27th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention in Anaheim, California. I can't wait. The last time it was here was in 1996. I'll be heading over to the convention center on Wednesday afternoon for the VIP Club reception and Sneek Peek. I'll be sure to take plenty of photos. Former Dodgers Jay Johnstone, Bill Russell and Ron Cey will be in attendance signing autographs. Also, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Los Angeles Rams Roman Gabriel will be signing as well.

My biggest disappointment is bound to be the lack of Dodger representation. The Angels will have their own booth at the event (they even have a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim day where they will have special events and activities), but the Dodgers will not be there. What's up with that? The largest sports collectibles convention in the country and the Dodgers couldn't muster up a display to welcome the legions of Dodger fans who might attend. It's in your backyard. I shouldn't complain too much though. I'll be too distracted with the hundreds of tables and dealers showing off their stuff.

National Link:

Give Me Rain!

It is very difficult to write about the Dodgers right now. I don't know what to say. The Dodgers aren't hitting well, they aren't pitching well and we can barely play our positions. As a result, we lost another tough one yesterday evening. Andre "The Giant" Ethier hit 2 homers, Russell Martin is solidifying his stature as one of the leagues best young catchers with two hits and 2 RBI's, and the unbelievable 36 year old rookie Takashi Saito pitched 2 scoreless innings. Unfortunately, none of these factors would help us win this evening. We came close, but not close enough. This 2nd half slump has me wishing for rain. Lots of rain. We need a string of rainouts to save us from the heat of the sun and chill from the Dodgers play.

Update:

Below is a video of the rain in St. Louis at Busch Stadium this weekend. It was so strong that it pushed a trash can over several yards and knocked a women off her feet.
This was captured by a cell phone... These storms caused a lot of damage at this game and around St. Louis, even knocked out the windows of the broadcasting booth.
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YouTube Link:

Hat Tip: Crooks and Liars

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Baseball Reliquary

It was a warm and muggy afternoon so a day at the library sounded like a great idea. Afterall, possibly witnessing the Dodgers extending their recent losing streak did not sound appealing. I walked into the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at the Pasadena Central Library to enjoy this afternoons Induction Day ceremony of The Shrine of the Eternals.

It started with the serenading of Ellie Choate on the harp as she played the National Anthem to start the festivities. On this day, Bill Murray, of comedy fame, was awarded the Hilda Chester Award and Kerry Yo Nakagawa was awarded the Tony Salin Memorial Award. As you probably know, Hilda Chester is the famous, and sometime infamous, Brooklyn Dodger faithful fan. She is probably the best known baseball fan in baseball history. She is remembered for going to games with a cow bell and banging away at any time with delight.

Inducted on this day was Negro League great and Baseball Hall of Famer Josh Gibson, Los Angeles Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela and California Nisei League player, coach and trailblazer Kenichi Zenimura. It was quite a multi-cultural event featuring the triumphs of minorities in America and their determination to succeed in the face of so many obstacles. Baseball was their common denominator. The grandson of Josh Gibson, Sean L. Gibson, accepted the award for his family, former Dodger Bobby Castillo accepted the honor for Fernando Valenzuela and the son of Kenichi Zenimura, Kenso Howard Zenimura accepted his award. Check out The Shrine of the Eternal Induction Day link for biographical information about them.

I took some photos of the event. So please feel free to check out my photoalbum. There are also pics of various paintings and Shrine of the Eternals Plaques from other years in display throughout the library. There is nothing like walking around a library staring at the walls as folks are roaming the halls with books in their arms and laptops open to MicrosoftWord.

Shrine of the Eternal Link

Update: At the ceremony I received a postcard advertising The Negro Baseball League exhibit at the California African American Museum at Exposition Park. I had no idea this was in town. This is a must see for any Baseball fan interested in finding out about this league. It's in town til August 16, 2006.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Oddball Dodger Memorabilia



I just downloaded a handful of new pics in my photo album of some unusual and oddball Dodger items in my collection. The history of these items are foreign to me so if you happen to know anything about the year made, etc. please let me know. The item on the top is a vintage, probably c. 1949-1950, Brooklyn Dodgers vanity traveling case. It is a commemorative piece celebrating the 1949 National League Division Championship and belonged, at one time, to a person with the initials of A. D. It comes almost complete with a comb, 3 carrying cases, mirror, comb and nail file.
The red book probably dates from the 1960's - 1970's and is a Los Angeles Dodgers address book. It is unused and unmarked. The burgundy colored case is a vintage and unused gin rummy card case with the Long Island Boosters stamped on the cover.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Shrine of the Eternals

I've been wondering what this weekend will hold. We have a 3 game set with the mighty Cardinals. A hot sunny weekend opens up the option for a beach excursion. More likely to happen, though, is that the heat will cause me to sit under the shade of a well air conditioned home. On the otherhand, The Baseball Reliquary is hosting the 2006 Induction Ceremony to the Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday at the Pasadena Central Library.

This year inductees are Negro League Great Josh Gibson, our own Fernando Valenzuela, and Kenichi Zenimura. Mr. Zenimura is an interesting story.
Born in Hiroshima, Zenimura acquired a passion for the game in his youth and, after moving to Fresno, California in 1920, he founded the Fresno Athletic Club, a Japanese-American baseball team that lasted more than fifty years and attained national recognition. Despite being only five feet tall and weighing 100 pounds, Zenimura was an intense competitor as a shortstop and catcher, and he organized goodwill tours of Japanese-American teams to Japan in the 1920s and 1930s. During World War II, the Zenimura family was sent to internment camps in Fresno and Gila River, Arizona, where under Kenichi's guidance, baseball fields were constructed and teams and leagues were formed behind barbed wire. Huge crowds flocked to the games and baseball was credited with bonding wartime internees, giving them a sense of normalcy and community pride. The late actor Pat Morita, a former Gila River internee, said Zenimura left an indelible mark on that fraternal community in the desert by showing "that with effort and persistence, you can overcome the harshness of adversity." Zenimura returned to Fresno after the war, where he continued playing (he caught his last game at age fifty-five) and coaching until his death in 1968.
I have never been to one of their events nor am I a member, but I do plan on showing up on this Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Not In This World

So far the game has a sense of being out of control with Hendrickson already giving up 2 doubles on 5 hits for 3 runs. He's not fooling anyone. We should be down by more, but, for some reason, we aren't. Meanwhile, we score one on a doubleplay that really just killed the inning. They gave up a run to end a threat. Now, it's the bottom of the 3rd inning with Arizona's Chad Tracy up to bat against the Dodgers. There are 2 outs. Hendrickson was able to strike out Johnson and got Estrada to hit into a grounder. Chad Tracy was the potential 3rd out- a 1 2 3 inning. Then, Hendrickson reached back and throws strike three. Dodgers up to bat. I bring up this moment not because of Hendrickson, but because of a foul ball during Chad Tracy's at bat.

He hit a ball foul towards the 3rd base side that lands in the crowd along a railing separating a section of seats. Three folks in the crowd are chasing the ball as it bounces from section to section. A young boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, is in wild pursuit. He almost had it in his grasp, but it fell down a small wall onto a lower area. It's just a few steps below closer to the ground. So the kid jumps down with all his might. An older kid, in his teen years, chases the offering from the other side. He runs down a short set of stairs and heads for the ball. A middle aged man, in his 40's, now has a lead on both of them. He was sitting in the lower section and gets to the corner just in time to snag the prize right in front of the young kid. The child had jumped from the ledge and landed just as the old man took the leather.

This happens all the time at ballgames. It's like survival of the fittest out there. Folks will jump over seats and people to get the ball. But this moment was different. As the old man grabbed the ball the young boy stared in disbelief. He thought he had it and some grown up had taken it away. The look on his eyes was something to behold. He just continued to stare. Then, his expression changed from disbelief to hope. Would the old man do the neighborly thing? Give it to the kid. Would he provide endless moment of happiness for a child just learning the world? The old man stood up, turned around and walked back to his seat.

Then, Vin Scully made a comment that was both biting and true. He said, "not in this world young man." (or something to that effect)

The sage had spoken.

Welcome Dodger Thoughts!

I'm standing in the bathroom staring at myself in the mirror. My eyebrows are straining to reach my forehead. My eyes are wide open as my mouth is locked in a look of shock and suprise. I want to thank Jon of Dodger Thoughts for adding me to his blogroll and posting my site on his blog. Again, that was more than I could have asked. Thank you again. Welcome Dodger fans! I hope I can keep your interest and hope you choose to come back. Now, let's hope we get a good game from Hendrickson and another Dodger victory so we can go back home with smile on our faces.

eBay: Vintage Boxing Cards

I know. I know. Where are the Baseball cards? Why are you showing us boxing stuff. Well, the long answer is that vintage boxing cards have been a side interest of mine for awhile now, and watching boxing matches with my family is one of my strongest memories as a child. The short answer is that I like the cards.

These gems arrived in this afternoons mail. An eBay find I think I lucked out on. These come from the same set as the James Jeffries highlighted below. They where produced in 1910 by American Caramel Company, and are designated as E76 by the collecting community. They are not considered especially rare for early 20th Century boxing cards, but boxing cards in general are much harder to find than Baseball cards from the same time period. As you may know, they where distributed in packages of candy, much like how baseball cards where distributed with gum from the 1950's to 1980's.

The cards shown feature Marvin Hart, Jack Munroe, Gus Ruhlin and Kid McCoy. Marvin Hart was a former Heavyweight Champion and is famous for defeating a young up'n-coming fighter named Jack Johnson in 1905. Jack Munroe, the Butte Miner, was a heavyweight who lost to Champion James Jeffries in 2 rounds in 1904 after whooping Jeffries in 1902. Gus Ruhlin was a heavyweight who was known as the "Akron Giant." Kid McCoy is famous for his corkscrew punch and is included in Ring Magazines list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

McCoy is also famous for the phrase "the Real McCoy." At least, that's the tale.
It is thought that the expression The Real McCoy originally referred to him. With regard to this, once again, stories abound. One scenario involves a local tough who bumped into McCoy in a bar. McCoy, who was slight of build and a dapper dresser, did not look like a fighter. The bar room bully reputedly laughed when told the slender fellow he was annoying was Kid McCoy. He then challenged McCoy to fight, and upon reviving from being knocked out allegedly remarked "Oh my God, that was the real McCoy".
Update: I am still in the process of scanning, taking photos and uploading the remainder of my collection online in my photoalbum; including Dodger collectibles. Unfortunately, it has proven to be more time consuming than I ever imagined. Nevertheless, I know I'll be posting a bunch of pics next week. The National Sports Collectors Convention, "The National," is headed for Anaheim and I plan on spending alot of time at the Anaheim Convention Center. This will be the biggest card show in Southern California in several years.


Welcome 6-4-2 Readers

I just wanted to briefly write to thank Rob McMillin for adding me to his blogroll and his post on his blog, 6-4-2. That was more than I could have hoped or ever expected. Also, Welcome to all who are traveling here for the first time. I hope I can entertain and, maybe, give some insight into the mind of a fanatical Dodger fan who is helplessly addicted to Baseball and collecting anything about Baseball and the Dodgers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Win For the Kid

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What a great way to get your first major league win. Chad Billingsley went 7 strong innings while allowing no runs. He now has a 3.66 ERA for the year. This kid is getting better from game to game. Unfortunately, he continues to allow the lead batter on. Nevertheless, he was able to get out of some jams in the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th innings. Chad did a great job of keeping his composure in the 5th inning when he got DaVanon, Byrnes and Gonzales to end a late game threat with men on 1st and 2nd base. He pitched strong, and he pitched with confidence. I really like the stuff he brings to the table, and I expect that he may be our biggest surprise of the 2nd half. Billingsley is a keeper and could very well blossom into a front line pitcher. I'm crossing my fingers in hope that maybe, just maybe, Chad Billingsley will become the pitcher we are looking for in this seasons playoff push trade market.

Owl Generator Link:

Trade Rumors

Apparently Colletti is feeling some heat. There is a rumor flying around about 3rd baseman Aaron Boone. "The Indians, in town to play the Twins, are talking about trading Aaron Boone to the Los Angeles Dodgers." What is this all about? Izturis is clearly better defensively and shall I dare say has better offensive potential. Maybe he's meant to be a back-up? I will add, though, that if he trades any of our prospects for Boone I'll go crazy. I mean total batshit crazy!

Let There Be Baseball

I park my car on the curb right in front of where I live. This is a rare occurrence on this street. The block is filled with small apartments and homes that sometimes overflows with people and cars. On this Monday afternoon after work the street was surprisingly empty.

Did I miss something? Is there something going on that I should know about?

nay!... It's just stupid luck. Within the hour the street was packed with cars and parking spots where scarce.

Anyway, I walk up to my place and find that my roommate put today's' mail on the dining room table. I shuffle through the advertisements and coupons, toss the Pennysaver aside for later reading and come across a postcard from my friend, Michael. Cool! He always finds a way to make me laugh about the world. Usually Mike sends politically themed postcards that he would make from scratch, but, from time to time, I get something that is unrelated to the "real world". On this day I get to celebrate Baseball.

Above is a scan of the postcard I just received. On the back he writes:
"And on the 8th day God spoke and he doth said, "Let there be Baseball," and there was. And he saw it was good. So he cracked open a beer and feasted on many a hot dog. And God was happy. For humans had realized their ultimate purpose- entertainment for the Lord."
Mike- You So Funny.

Monday, July 17, 2006

ESPN Funnies: Bartman

This is a great behind-the-scenes story about the day ESPN got an exclusive interview with Steven Bartman. If his name doesn't ring a bell then don't worry. I didn't recognize his name at first too. Besides, I'm not a die-hard Cubs fan, otherwise his name might be permanently seared into my brain. He was the fan sitting along the left field line at Wrigley Field on October 14, 2003 during game 6 of the National League Championship Series. As I'm sure we all will recall, he contributed to the games greatest living curse. He interfered on a foul ball pop-up that probably would have been caught by Chicago Cubs Left Fielder Moises Alou. As it happens, the Marlins went to score 8 unanswered runs and become the eventual World Series Winner. Again, the Cubbies fail to advance.

Now, for the reason of this post. Over at Bad Idea Blue Jeans resides a couple of former ESPN employees. They have decided, in all their wisdom and good nature, to share stories about their time there. This story is about a so-called exclusive interview with said Steven Bartman. er... They think it's Steven Bartman.

Story Link:

Hat Tip: The Mercury News: via The Huffington Post

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cool Vintage eBay Item


Here is an item you don't see everyday. It's an item of exonumia. A rare vintage token featuring one of the earliest recorded Baseball images.

eBay Link:

It dates from 1861 and celebrates the 3rd anniversary of the Pioneer BaseBall Club of Springfield, Massachusetts. On the front is a batter preparing for a pitch. Written along the frame is"Pioneer Base Ball Club." On the back says "Organized April 30, 1858 Play Ground On Hampden Park Springfield Mass". It measures 1 1/4 inches across. Only 125 pieces where ever made. The token was struck by famous American die sinker J. A. Bolen.

As of this writing there is 1 hour and 20 minutes left in the auction. The current price is $344.99 and could end up higher. I'd love to add this to my collection, but, alas, it shall not be.

But here is an item that I will be adding to my collection. This is a E76 1910 American Caramel Company card of James Jeffries graded by SGC. I won this recently on eBay. Lately, I have been searching out old vintage boxing cards. I'm especially interested in vintage caramel and strip cards. As you can see here and in my photoalbum. Compared to Baseball, boxing is very difficult to come by and is quite a challenge. For more information about vintage boxing cards check out Adam Warshaw's site. He wrote a recent guide about boxing cards and provides a good round up of the different sets out there.

Dodger Video Classics I

I'm gonna try to do this on a more consistent basis. Welcome to Dodger Video Classics! For those die hard Dodger fans thirsting for anything Dodgers. Come on in! I hope I can temporarily assuage your hunger by showcasing old time Dodger videos from the internet. If you find anything cool let me know.

Below is an old advertising spot for Gillette Razor featuring Pee Wee Reese in a spotlight speaking role and Roy Campanella and Don Zimmer in shaving roles.



GoogleVideo Link:

Update: Dodger Modern Video Classic

Below is Brad Penny's first inning performance during the 2006 All Star Game. He struck out the first 3 batters to start the game for the National League.



YouTube Link:

An Ugly Start to the Second Half

Everything was looking bright. Penny was named the starting pitcher for the All Star game in Pittsburgh. Nomar had been elected by the fans as this years "Last Man" for the midseason classic. The Dodgers had won 5 of their last 7 games just prior to the 3 day break. We had much more to look forward to as the season headed towards the second half.

Then comes a steaming train we call the Cardinals. The big giant behemoths wearing bright red and sporting a billy club in one hand and a Budweiser in the other. They are one of the most intimidating teams in Baseball. Rolen, Edmonds and Pujols. Rolen and Edmonds are some of the best defensemen in their respective positions, and they can hit to boot. Pujols, well what can I say? "Pujols, Pujols, Pujols!" That guy can win games on his own. No, he does win games o his own. In our first game back, we lose a 14 inning killer on a homerun by Pujols. Then, Carpenter blanks us with a 2 hit complete game. Yesterday, Rolen knocks in the winning run in a 10 inning nailbiter. Lastly, we get knocked around for 15 hits and 11 runs- a laugher. My head hurts!?!

Getting swept during the first series of the second half does not give me much confidence. The only saving grace is knowing we got beat by a good, no great, team. But frankly, that doesn't provide much solace.

Now, I see the problems that lay before us. Our hitting is not our biggest problem. I think we will continue to hit pretty well the remainder of the season. Although, we may see a slight negative regression to a more reasonable mean, but I believe our group of experienced players will continue to shine. Our real deficiency lays with our arms. It's all about pitching, pitching, pitching.

To start with an extra starter would be nice. Penny and Lowe have solidified a starting core. Sele has been excellent and appears to have turned the corner. Unfortunately, our last 2 spots are more problematic. Tomko is ailing. Hendrickson may provide some good games, but his stuff is hardly earthshattering. Billingsley is young and still in a learning stage. Odalis is just terrible.

Our relief pitching has been as volatile as the stock market. One day it's up big, but the next day it takes a 100 point dump. This kind of movement keeps me on edge and reminds me of an old investment adage. "There are only two emotions on Wall Street: Fear and Greed." The constant bouncing ball nature of todays market fosters fear; therefore, threats of a oncoming Bear market loom. Fortunately, the Dodgers do not give me the type of fear I sense in todays stock market. Not yet, at least. Our relief corps have been up and down this year as Baez, Broxton, Carter, Osoria, Hamulack and Kuo can attest. Saito has been a godsend. Where can we find more like him? Carrara has been a great surprise so far. This is a man who has had a rollercoaster type of career in Baseball and has always been one of my favorite underdogs. Still, another solid verteran reliever could do wonders.

In this game there are no quick solutions. We have very little available in the minors to turn to. The pitchers available on the trading block are sparse; therefore, very expensive. Do you really want to trade a frontline prospect or two (like Loney, Guzman or Aybar) for a half season rental? Furthermore, what is the long term impact of a trade for a high priced (or overpriced) veteran?

At this point it looks like we will be eating Perez's contract. It will cost the team $10,000,000.00 in 2007 including a deferred signing bonus and a $1,500,000.00 buyout in 2008. This impacts the team significantly next year. Can we trade him in a budget saving move? Maybe the anticipated spot start spoken about in todays broadcast is a showcase outing for potential trade suitors. Afterall, I'm sure the Dodgers will be paying much of his salary, and there are plenty of teams out there who will risk another teams albatross in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough, i.e. Sele.

Who knows what's going to happen? I'm inclined to see nothing happen at all- besides throwing Perez to the curb. Furthermore, free agency next Winter could be interesting as we will have alot of cap room to work with. On the other hand, I do know who I would like to see wearing Blue this year. I like Maddux in Blue. Zito would fit in very nicely. Can you imagine Kerry Wood in our rotation, or even in the bullpen? I just don't know if I like the idea of trading our minor league gems. Nevertheless, we might be a trade or two short of being a "real" World Series contender this year.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A 14 Inning Hanging Change Up

It's the 14th inning of a 2-2 contest. Our bullpen had been exhausted of their main relief corps. Carrara, Broxton, Beimel, Saito had already gone to the mound. A potential all morning affair was in the works. It was time to bring in the long man.

Odalis came in and had to face a formidable line-up; Taguchi, Pujols, Rolen and then Edmonds. That looks pretty scary. But, its not scarier than watching Odalis Perez pitch. He has been absolutley terrible this year, and the lack of work the past few months has only contributed to his continued poor play. Pitching is not only about having great stuff, but it's about having the confidence to throw what you have. You have to trust your talents. Odalis said after the game.
"My confidence isn't the same anymore. It's killing me as a professional and it's killing my career.
Odalis came in and threw a hanging change up on the outside corner on a 3-1 count that had Pujols swinging with a big smile. It was a deep drive to left. The outfielders did not turn to watch it. The infielders refused to watch as they ran into the dugout. Odalis Perez looked like a deer staring straight into the headlight of an oncoming car. Bang! Your dead. Home Run!

Dodgers lose. Odalis crumbles in the clubhouse. What to do next?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Plaschke... You Ding Bat

This morning I stumbled out of bed as my faithful dog, Miko, walked along behind me. Where are my slippers? I thought to myself. "Dammit... Did you hide them Miko?" Oftentimes, I'll discover that she had kicked them under the bed or is laying right on top of them. On this morning, however, I find my slippers in the most unusual place- right where they are suppose to be. I missed them in my daze and confusion. So, I put them on, walked out of my room, strolled through the living area and out the front door while rubbing the sleep from my eyes. The morning paper was in my sight and the daily sports page was my goal. I grabbed the paper, pulled out the sports section and proceeded to read it as I sat on the porcelain throne. This is my usual routine most morning as I prepare for another day of work.

Let's see. "AL Triples Its Pleasure in 9th." Ya know, that was a great game. Probably the most exciting All Star Game I've seen in a long time. Michael Young is having a fantastic year.

Ah... Danica Patrick might join NASCAR. Lisa Leslie is having the best season of her career. Kwame Brown will not face sex assault charges. Quite a full boat of news there.

Plaschke! That dreaded sports editorial writer. He has a column about the Dodgers up. This should be good.

"Trade Wasn't Worth a Penny."

Yup... Another Plaschke special. This guy aggravates me to no end. So much so I will refuse to link to him.

He is a constant whiner. Not only that, he is mistaken about the facts. I believe we did just fine in that trade.

Gagne was not overused in 2004. As 6-4-2 states,
"he pitched the exact same number of innings in 2004 as he did in 2003."
LoDuca would not be with the team today, leadership or not, if he was not traded then. Just remember, Russell Martin was heading up the prospect ladder and his progress would have meant Dukies departure. (BTW, Paul LoDuca still remains my favorite Dodger, post millennium. But lets face it. You just can't keep everyone if you want to win. Hard choices must be made.) Guillermo Mota has been absolutely terrible since that trade. Mota had a 4.81 ERA in 2004 after the trade, a 4.70 ERA for the Marlins in 2005 and has a ERA of 5.94 with the Indians this year. He would not have solidified the relief corps. Choi, on the other hand, has been terrible. There's one point Plaschke does win. The saving grace, though, is the emergence of Mr. Penny. Brad, the only other player still with the team they were traded to, has blossomed into our staff ace. Enough said!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All Star Break Cartoon Funnies

No All Star game can be complete without a litle bit of humor. Below is one of the true Baseball cartoon classics. "Baseball Bugs" with Bugs Bunny and friends.



GoogleVideo Link:

Update: This carton first came out in 1946. It's incredible that it still resonates today. Did you know that
"among the ads on the fence is one for "Mike Maltese, Ace Detective" featuring a picture of Mike Maltese (the writer of "Baseball Bugs") with a fedora and a pistol?"

The Great LA Dodgers Blue Heaven Sleepover

Ya know, If I had found out about this ahead of time I would have seriously considered going. Furthermore, if I had known that they would call this event the "Blue Heaven Sleepover" I would have definitely been a participant. Oh Well. There's always next year.

Tom Hoffarth of Farther Off the Wall writes about the experience. He also was kind enough to post some pictures. Go and check it out.
5:35 a.m.: Daybreak. There's something you'll never get to see, no matter how many extra innings a game might go: The sun coming up over the right field pavilion. The chirping from the birds and cackling from the crows picking over the garbage still left from the previous day's game echo loudly through the empty seats and serve as an interesting wake-up call.
Wow. I think I will be going the next time they do this.

Hattip: Dodger Thoughts

Monday, July 10, 2006

All Star Funnies - Part II

This is a batters worse nightmare. Bam! Right on the cup!



YouTube Link:

This is something I thought I would never see.

All Star Break Funnies

How many of these video games classics do you remember?



YouTube Link:

And below, a really bad pitch.



YouTube Link:

Penny Starts All Star Game

Brad Penny has been chosen to be the All Star Game starter for the National League. Wow! Brad has had a really good first half having gone 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA. Furthermore, he has had 82 strike outs with only 28 walks- that's nearly a 3 to 1 ratio! Penny has definitely been our best starting pitcher this year.

Also, when I got this news I suddenly realized that Brad Penny would be throwing to the National League starting catcher who happens to be our old friend Paul LoDuca of the New York Mets. Didn't we trade Pauly to the Marlins for Penny? Man-O-Live. Life is funny sometimes, aint it?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's Good to Beat the Giants

All I can say is it's good to beat the Giants! Not only that, we may have found a solid number 3 pitcher in Aaron Sele. Who would have thunk it. Aaron Sele, the man sent down to AAA at the conclusion of Spring Training comes roaring back in a big way.

He was just awesome. Sele went a strong 6 innings, giving up 4 hits while surrendering 1 run. He also had 7 strike outs. Seven strike outs! This was his 6th straight win at Dodger Stadium as Aaron Sele can now be comfortable called a home team pitcher.

Now we get to take a break and allow our old knees, aching backs and throbbing arms some rest. Kent can take a few more days off to get better. Lofton can rest his legs. Our rookies can go home for a brief period to share their joy with their families. In fact, all our rookies who have been up this year deserve a pat on the back for their strong play this first half. We wouldn't be anywhere near where we are right now if it were not for them.

Good luck to Nomar and Penny in the All Star Game. Let's all root for a strong showing for them both.

Go Blue!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Disappointed Again

What a terrible game! It was a hot Saturday afternoon filled with flying balls sprayed to all areas of the stadium. There were 4 homeruns- 3 by the Giants and one by Olmedo Saenz. 18 runs were scored in total as the Giants ran over the Dodgers 11-7. We got close, but the evil Giants kept pulling away.

Lowe gave up 4 runs in the 1st before the stadium was half filled. All hope seemed lost. Then the Dodgers came back with 3 in their bottom half of the 2nd inning. New back-up catcher Toby Hall contributed with a groundball single to center to score 2 runs, and Furcal's single to drive in Hall made the game salvageable. We were behind by only one run with 7 to go. Unfortunately, Lowe was inconsistent and proceeded to give up more runs as he allowed 7 earned runs total in 4.2 innings of work. Fortunately, the Dodgers never give up.

Once again, the Dodgers offense came through as Olmedo brought us to within one run again in the 8th inning, 8-7. Broxton, our big Ox in the bullpen came in the 9th to shut down the Giants and keep the Dodgers in it. But fate had other things in mind. He gave up 3 runs, making it 11 to 7, virtually nailing the coffin shut this afternoon. But, the 2006 Dodgers would have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.

A sign of staying power and resilience is when a team learns to never give up when down. The Dodgers showed they can catch up at any time. Even in late innings. They loaded the bases with 2 out in the ninth with hot hitting super future star catcher Russell Martin at the plate. He was the tying run! Russell then hit a high fly to center for the third out. This afternoons game was over. The rally flamed out this time.

I got up from the couch, cleaned off the coffee table and put away my dishes. Oh Well! Even though I saw a ray of hope, I could not help being a little disappointing. We didn't win this game, but you wait til tomorrow. It's a new day.

We Didn't Start the Fire

I found this on YouTube. It's incredible what people can do with a computer these days.



YouTube Link

You gotta love a song that mentions the Dodgers!

A Jackie Robinson At Bat



YouTube Link

Check this out. Its an at bat of the great Dodger Jackie Robinson. It's from the 1952 World Series in the bottom the 5th inning with one man on 3rd. The score is tied 2-2, against the Yankees. This is something you don't see everyday.

Below is a short video about Jackie Robinson and his impact on the country, race and Baseball. I think it's from the Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary.



YouTube Link

Another Dodger Victory!

Nomar is hitting .359 with 11 homeruns, 53 RBI's and 54 runs. Garciaparra also has a 1.015 OPS. Amazing! He is the reason we are even competing in the National League West this year.

Last night he hit a game deciding two run homerun. None of us should have been surprised. Dodgers win and the Giants lose. All is right with the world!

south-park-cartoon-chef comic strip

The National Sports Collectors Convention

This is the event I've been waiting for all year. Finally, after a long hiatus "The National" is coming to Anaheim.

I remember, back in the late eighties, when Southern California was a hot-bed of the sports collectible industry. There use to be 200 to 300 table shows at the Disneyland Hotel, the Anaheim Convention Center, the Inn at the Park Hotel and various malls throughout the Southland on a monthly basis. For the collectophile there was always an event out there to go to. As the early nineties came around the general economy weakened and soon attendance at these shows dropped significantly. Afterall, card collecting is based the collectors discretionary income and those incomes where dropping. Furthermore, over production and massive product differentiation from the card manufacturers diluted the collector and soon turned off people like me. I hated the insert cards! Promoters retired from the business and collectors put their cards in the closet for safe keeping. I focused on school, I had just entered my first year of college in 1990, so cards became relegated to a childhood pastime. Before you knew it a major card show in this part of the country became a thing of the past. Now, only Naxcom puts together a bi-annual card show event at Hollywood Park.

I had alot of fun back then. My hobby transformed into a small business during my freshman year in high school. I use to set up a table at shows on a monthly basis and I use to make a pretty good amount of money. I received a resale license, set up a bank account and purchased directly from manufacturers like Upper Deck, Fleer and Topps. It really became a training ground for my future pursuits after college. I refined my understanding of business and sales. Unfortunately, the early nineties brought the demise of my card business. I still had a alot to learn, but I consider this time period an important lesson for the future.

Then, in 1999 I discovered eBay and I haven't been the same since. I started my personal collection again by focusing on older vintage cards and my favorite team, the Dodgers. I also started selling parts of my collection I chose not to keep and left over inventory from my old business on-line. These days, I eagerly await any card show that shows up and hope that the NSCC finally decides, in all their wisdom, to bring the "Big" event back here. Well, from Wednesday, July 26 to Sunday, July 30 it is here and I can't wait.

I just received my VIP admission pass for all 5 days that includes some free autographs, manufacturer promo cards and special entry in special events. If you plan to go for more than a couple of days then I suggest getting the VIP pass. I plan on taking a bunch of pictures of the show floor and signers as they show up. So please stay tuned.

Update: Check out the autograph list for the show. A very nice list.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Oh No!!!



This news is so bad I can't even bring myself to say his name. It's just too damn painful. Our closer! Our captain! The Late Inning Gamer! He is experiencing severe back pain brought on by a herniated disk. Ouch! Surgery may be needed. Double Ouch!! I was hoping for his return, but now I realize that was just folly. Rest up, my man, and get well!

The Dirty Mind of a Frog

What's worse, watching a ballgame only to see your team lose, or being groped by a man in a frog costume after the game? I dunno. I hate seeing my team lose. On the other hand, I think getting felt up by a frog would not only be undesired, but creepy!
"The woman said she and a friend were leaving their seats at West End Field when the mascot grabbed her breast in a stairwell."
Creepy, just creepy!

Nomar- The All Star!

Let's Go Nomar!! Was there ever any doubt? How could they keep this man off the roster? Nomar, now a 6 time All Star, received 4 million votes and easily outpaced all other competitors. Congrats! You deserve it man! And Thank You for choosing to wear Blue this year!

Dodger eBay Win!

This is one of my most recent pick-ups from eBay. It is a 1911 M116 Sporting Life card of Brooklyn Nationals (Dodgers) player James Edward Lennox, or Eggie (as he was affectionately called). He played just 6 years in the "Bigs," and spent two of those years with the Dodgers.

This is one great looking card. The soft pastel colors and bright pictures are amazing. The Seller has a large lot of these cards that he is selling individually. Hopefully I can snag a few more. This is my first card from this set, but I don't expect it to be my last.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Negro League Cabinet Photo on eBay

This is the coolest item on eBay right now. It's a old Cabinet Photo of two baseball teams in an exhibition- a dedication ceremony game of a new park in Jamestown, New York. What's great about it is that one of the opponents is a Negro League team, the Cubin Giants (Cuban). A very rare item indeed. The seller states it is from the 1920's due to the uniforms of the Negro League team. Unfortunately, I could not find any photos of old vintage team uniforms from that time period to verify this. It doesn't matter too much though, it's already priced above my limit. Nevertheless, if you know anything about the game or the players please let me know. I also could not match any of the pictures with any known players with certainty. I think the first player on the left may be Martin Dihigo. Also, I recognize the tall fellow wearing the dark coat, but I can't place him right now. I wouldn't be surprised if the photo has some well known Negro League players. The photographer was The Camp Art Co. Jamestown N.Y. The Score was Art Metal Company 3 Cubin (Cuban) Giants 2 in 17 innings.




Sunday, July 02, 2006

Odalis has really been bad.

Courtesy of the ATM Reports, we find that Odalis Perez has been as bad as we thought. Check out these player stats: worst vs. the league average:

EARNED RUNS
DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Brian Moehler -20 59 39
2 Oliver Perez -18 56 38
T3 Glendon Rusch -17 41 24
T3 Gavin Floyd -17 44 27
T5 Mark Mulder -15 60 45
T5 Dewon Brazelton -15 24 9
T5 Jason Marquis -15 66 51
T8 Brandon Claussen -14 53 39
T8 Jorge de la Rosa -14 29 15
T10 Odalis Perez -13 40 27
T10 Chris Reitsma -13 27 14
T10 Kip Wells -13 18 5
T10 Andy Pettitte -13 67 54
T10 Jose Valverde -13 28 15


HITS
DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Odalis Perez -29 83 54
2 Brian Moehler -28 108 80
3 Andy Pettitte -25 136 111
4 Livan Hernandez -21 137 116
5 Miguel Batista -20 129 109
T6 Ryan Madson -19 102 83
T6 Paul Maholm -19 114 95
8 Mark Mulder -18 109 91
9 Chris Reitsma -17 46 29
T10 Mike Burns -16 30 14
T10 Geoff Geary -16 59 43


RUNS
DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Oliver Perez -22 64 42
2 Brian Moehler -21 63 42
3 Gavin Floyd -18 48 30
4 Glendon Rusch -17 43 26
T5 Dewon Brazelton -15 25 10
T5 Andy Pettitte -15 74 59
T5 Mark Mulder -15 63 48
T8 Odalis Perez -14 43 29
T8 Ryan Madson -14 58 44
T8 Brandon Claussen -14 56 42
T8 Livan Hernandez -14 75 61



Saturday, July 01, 2006

Support Net Neutrality!



SaveTheInternet.com

A 9-2 Killing. We Looked Bad- Real Bad!


Well that was humbling!

I went to the game filled with piss, vinegar and over confidence. Of course, I was rewarded with a game that made me cry and laugh. There where 3 Dodger errors that lead to 5 unearned runs. Ugly, just ugly. We lost this one bad, really bad.

What made it worse was that I went with a group of friends who outnumbered us Blue Rooters 7-2. So you can imagine the ribbing I got. Oh well. You can't win them all. But do they have to be this bad?

At the end of the day we just got out-played on a hot Saturday afternoon. No doubt about it. The Angels came out with bats on their shoulders and gloves in their palms and just out played us. The Dodgers where lackadaisical and wild.

I took some pictures so feel free to check out the link below in the previous posting.

Pictures Are Up! Friday & Saturday!

I just posted new pictures in my photoalbum from Fridays nights game and this afternoons ballgame between the Dodgers and Angels.

Friday: Dodgers 6, Angels 1

Saturday: Angels 9, Dodgers 2

This is Our House!

With dejection and despair Angels fans marched out of the stadium after the 8th inning. It was quite a sight to see. A sea of red flowing up and out towards the exits like a fresh wound from a prickly needle. Not even the ridiculous Rally Monkey stayed. He went home too, and in his shame he decided to not show his face. It was just another beautiful Friday night in Southern California as the Los Angeles Dodger ran over the helpless Angels of Anaheim , 6-1.

What a game. I was seated in the upper reserve section just a bit towards third base in the 3rd row. These where great seats and provided an awesome view.

I saw Nomar continue his National League dominance with 2 doubles. Kenny Lofton showed he still had game as he twice singled sharply to center. Caesar is proving that he is a 3rd base gold glove candidate. To be not outdone, rookie Andre "The Giant" Ethier went 3 for 4 with a monstrous 2 run home run to center field, just passed the outstretched arms of Chone Figgins. Four hundred plus feet baby! I had fun, my friends seated to my right and left had fun and my new friends in Blue all around the stadium in attendance had fun. It was just a fun night of Dodger baseball.

I knew the Blue Army was in attendance when in the early part of the game chants of "Let's Go Dodgers" could clearly be heard by all. Imagine that. In a sea of red all we could hear was the glory of Blue. The fans had come out to cheer our team and our team responded with a clear victory.

I've got some photos that I will post later on so stay tuned. I'll also have more photos for this afternoons game. I'm heading over to Angel Stadium with a large contingent of friends. Thanks Mike! He's an old friend from elementary school (Do people really have friends from that far back?) who decided in all his grace and benevolence to foot the bill for the game for the whole group. We will be a mixture of Red and Blue fans so it won't be a united front. Nevertheless, I can't wait.

BTW, if you hear obnoxious chants of "This is Our House, " then you know its me. Say hi and join in. "This is Our House!"