Thursday, November 30, 2006

2 Dodgers Named to the 48th Annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team

Topps recently announced their 48th Annual Rookie All Star Team members. Both outfielder Andre Ethier and catcher Russell Martin are included. Below is a complete list of the winners.

1B Prince Fielder, Milwaukee (157 games, 28 HR, 81 RBI, .271)
2B Dan Uggla, Florida (154, 27, 90, .282)
3B Ryan Zimmerman, Washington (157, 20, 110, .287)
SS Hanley Ramirez, Florida (158, 17, 59, .292)
OF Melky Cabrera, New York (A.L.) (130, 7, 50, .280)
OF Andre Ethier, Los Angeles (N.L) (126, 11, 55, .308)
OF Nick Markakis, Baltimore (147, 16, 62, .291)

C Russell Martin, Los Angeles (N.L.) (121, 10, 65, .282)
RHP Justin Verlander, Detroit (186 IP, 17-9, 3.63, 124 K, 60 BB)
LHP Francisco Liriano, Minnesota (121 IP, 12-3, 2.16, 144k, 32BB)
I'm hoping this is the start of something beautiful. Remember when the Dodgers had a rookie contending for Rookie of the Year honors every year? Hopefully, this time around, we can celebrate a championship along with our stellar rookies.

Topps 2007 Baseball Card Design

Topps just released the design for their 2007 flagship Baseball card product. It is a black bordered set that is reminiscent of the 1971 Topps Set (see below).
One of the nice things I like about black bordered sets is that they naturally frame the players photos in an attractive way. Kind of like how mating a photo with a darker shade can make a picture look a hundred times better. On the negative side, oftentimes any amount of handling will cause the border to fade or scrape off. Of course, most of today's' cards are laminated and significantly more rigid than cards of old. So, I doubt this is a real problem nowadays.

The new Topps cards hit the stores in February 2007. It comes just in time for spring training, but weeks too late for Christmas.

Photo & Story Link: Topps:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hey Birthday Boy

How could I have missed this. Happy Birthday Vin!

Busy Week

Wow. Just when I thought I should take a breather during the holiday week the Dodgers get busy and get down to business.

Juan Pierre- Welcome to the Blue. Randy Wolf- Welcome home!

I don't really have anything negative to say about Juan Pierre. Considering how tight the free agent market is and the lack of high-powered outfielders available I am quite happy with his addition to the team. I think this creates a formidable 1,2 punch at the top of the order. I hope that Furcal continues as the lead-off man with Pierre and his high contact/ball in play abilities batting second.

Randy Wolf is local player who has decided to take less to play in front of his home crowd. His one year contract will probably be considered the best bargain this winter.

I'm starting to love Colletti's approach. Sign players who want to play in Los Angeles.

We now have the following players on the team who have professed their childhood love of the Dodgers:

Jeff Kent
Nomar Garciaparra
Randy Wolf

Is Mike Lieberthal next?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Welcome Home Nomar!

Nomar will be roaming the field in Dodger Blue the next two years. Who knows where he will play. Who knows how many games he will participate in. All I know is that he bleeds Blue.

Furthermore, I can't help but compare Nomar with former Dodger JD Drew. Both players are offensive contributors. They hit for average. They can hit the long ball. They both get on base at healthy clips. On the other hand, they couldn't be more different players.

In this day and age of rising salaries and free agents it's easy to see why loyalty and honor become secondary considerations. JD Drew is no exception. He came out West for a change of scenery. His family apparently enjoys it out here and Pasadena has provided a good home. He made numerous statements indicating that he would opt to honor his contract and stay in Blue. Afterall, we probably didn't get our full moneys worth due to injuries that sidelined him early on in his Dodger career. Unfortunately, the thin market and dollars floating across his eyes became too enticing.

Then, we have an LA native whose family roots for the Dodgers. He is a player who has never been accused of being soft. Nomar plays through injuries. By all accounts, he negotiated in good faith and implied that he had only one choice for future employment. Nomar has been a man of his word. Not only that, his bond with the team goes further than just his salary. Like I wrote previously, his parents root for the Dodgers. His cousins root for the Dodgers. His entire family roots for the Dodgers.

Coletti made a statement recently about only signing players who want to be a Dodger. I think Nomar is the perfect embodiment of that message. Welcome Home Nomar! I'm glad you decided to stay.

As for JD. Well... I got some choice words for you.

Generator Link: Warholizer:

Update: We find out from the LA Times that Nomar and Mia are expecting twins. Congratulations! I can't wait to see them jumping around on the field.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No More March Vacations to Florida?

The above street post is located at Dodgertown, Vero Beach.

Year after year rumors of the Dodgers leaving the Floridian paradise for the Southwestern desert pop up. Year after year the Dodgers make the final determination to stay. But, as time passes, the likelihood of the Blue leaving its current Spring Training home becomes more real.
One of the most unique aspects of the Vero Beach facility, Dodgertown, is its small town feel. It's not a grand field. It's not some multi-million dollar stadium. There are no bells and whistles. Local seniors work the concession line. The players sit on wooden benches that reminded me of elementary school. The fences along the lines were waist high and made of plain wire mesh. You could literally reach out and shake a players hand. It was a big league version of a little league field.

Dodgertown has a certain charm that just does exist in the Major Leagues anymore. It harkens back to a time when ball players lived in the same neighborhoods as their fans.

Unfortunately, it appears the Dodgers are negotiating with the city of Glendale, Arizona and a deal may be done. This March may very well be the last chance to see historic Dodgertown.Update: Well, I guess we all have 2 more Spring Trainings to enjoy Florida in March

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Rocks: Nellie McKay "Ding Dong"

YouTube Link:

Aramis Stays in the Windy City

Save a trade, Betemit will be our thirdbaseman.

The Cubs recently announced their re-signing of slugger Aramis Ramirez. He was the most talented and one of the more coveted potential free agents on the market. Now, with his departure, the Dodgers will most likely be looking to fill their offense gap by looking at the outfield.

Unfortunately, this year is looking like a pretty weak free agent class. I can now see the financial logic in Drew testing the market.

Look at what outfielders are left:
  • Alphonso Soriano
  • Carlos Lee
  • JD Drew
  • Gary Mathews, Jr.
  • Nomar Garciaparra
  • Aubry Huff
  • Juan Pierre
  • Moises Alou
  • Luis Gonzalez
  • Dave Roberts
  • Frank Catalanotto
  • Shannon Stewart
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Barry Bonds
Yup... Pretty weak. There will be too many teams chasing after too few quality players. JD Drew aint dumb, he's just not loyal.

In other news, the Tigers trade for Sheffield who will be their DH. The rumors about Bonds rejoining Leyland is all for naught.

eBay: Negro League Find: ETHIOPIAN CLOWNS

This rare postcard recently closed on eBay. It's a postally used promotional postcard sent to the manager of the All-Star Baseball Club of Aurora, Illinois. It was probably sent by Syd Pollock, the promoter for the Ethiopian Clowns, in hopes of booking future barnstorming engagements.

The clowns were said to be one of the most entertaining groups to watch. They wore costumes and clown makeup. Players would perform comedy skits, play shadowball and even perform acrobatics. But don't let that fool you. They could play ball too. In 1941 they won the Denver Post Tournament-
which was the national championship for teams outside of "organized baseball."
Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who joined the team in 1952, is the most famous alumni of the team. This postcard is from 1939, just a year after Syd Pollock purchased the team.As a testament to the increasing popularity of the Negro Leagues and its' history this postcard sold for a cool $665.55.

eBay Selling Tips

London Business School recently completed a research study about eBay and its auction sale format. They came up with some basic tips to help you get higher bids. Check out the story about it here.

A synopsis:
  • Starting with a low opening bid is the root of creating "Auction Fever."

"It encourages lots of buyers to bid on the item initially and that makes other people think that it must be worth bidding on," explains Professor Gillian Ku, part of the team which undertook the research alongside colleagues at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois.

"Once those people have also started bidding on the item, they put time and effort into following it and the more emotionally invested they become, the more likely they are to spend above the limit they originally set themselves," she said.

This is part of a syndrome the report describes as "auction fever."

  • Choose longer auction periods.
The length of an auction is a powerful factor in influencing the final price, according to Ku. "Research in America has shown that the longer potential buyers have been following an item, the more committed they feel towards it and so the more they want it. That's perhaps a reason for considering a seven-day auction for your product, rather than three or five days."
  • The above suggestions work well with hard to find/uncommon items.
"For common commodities like mobile phones, people won't have the patience to wait around for the end of a long auction because another one will come along quicker elsewhere. But if a woman is interested in a particular style of Jimmy Choo shoes and there is only pair available in her size on eBay, then obviously she will be prepared to invest much more time in waiting and bidding for them," he said.
  • Know your target market.
"Women tend to surf the Internet between 6pm and 8pm, whereas there are more men online between 9pm and 11pm."
  • Write a descriptive and detailed headline to the auction.
"Research shows that 97 percent of people search on eBay based on the headings, rather than the main item description itself."
  • Poor spelling may provide a competitive advantage.
"Remember, also, that people often make spelling mistakes when they are entering the search terms so it might be worth putting common misspellings in your heading, too, for example Bakerlite as well as Bakelite."
  • Always have good pictures with the auction.
"Research suggests that if people see a picture of something, they already start to feel ownership of it."

Hat Tip: Sports Collectors Daily:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps!

Photo Link:

Wikipedia Link:

eBay Wins: Vintage Boxing Cards

Here are 2 vintage boxing cards I recently won on eBay. It is from the Philadelphia Caramel e79 set made in 1910. The above card with the green background is "The Right Way" to throw a punch, and the card below is "The Wrong Way" to throw a punch.
This is by far my favorite boxing set and the 2 cards here are my 2 favorite cards in the set.

Check out the link below for other recent boxing card acquisitions. Link Here:

Drew Opts for a Bigger Salary

Like everyone else I'm shocked, surprised and elated at the recently announced departure of JD Drew. I thought we would surely have him in Blue for the next 3 years.

Does this mean Soriano is in our sights?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"That Was Close!!!"

This is awesome. Below is a short, very short, film made by a true Dodger fan at heart.

I swear there was a tear in my eye when it was done.

YouTube Link: cfranco1:

Nomar to Wear Blue Next Year?

Some interesting developments occurred last night. Ramon Martinez was signed to a contract for next season and Nomar just might be in Colletti's sights.

Nomar Garciaparra is willing to play multiple positions next season. He can play 3rd base, the outfield and 1st base. If he could successfully become, as Jon Weisman notes on Dodger Thoughts, a "super-utility man," then he might provide a big boost to the team next year.

This is an interesting situation and, I imagine, it will be given a significant amount of consideration.

Is it me, or does Nomar just want to play for his hometown? Personally, I would be happy to see Nomar in Blue as long as it doesn't impede the progress of James Loney. Besides, I can't fault a guy for wanting to play for the Dodgers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Voted

"Put on your shoes, son... Hey, where is your jacket?

I lift up my arm and point to my red hooded sweater with a series of color stripes across the breast. It was an 80'’s version of a 70'’s flashback. No doubt it was fashion at it worst. The sweater was crammed between the seat cushions of our family couch in the TV room.

"Go and put that on. It'’s chilly out there and we are going on a short walk."”

I quickly put on the sweater- first the left arm then the right. I had my "“Toughskins" blue jeans on. They still looked brand new. No matter how rough I played in them they would never fade. Sears had made kid proof pants.

I tied my sneakers and rolled up my socks to cover my calves. I was ready to go and experience the world.

My elementary school mind was still in its most formative stages. I smiled a lot. I laughed all the time. I had wonder in my eyes.

These were the days when it was still o.k. to hold Daddy'’s hand. Heck, these were the days you could still call your Dad- Daddy.

We walk down the block and turned the corner. My hand was clinched tightly to my fathers'’ palm. We walk a few more steps and head down a back alley. A couple of houses down I notice an open garage door. People are mulling about. To one side is a single line, and in the back are cardboard boxes standing straight up with little curtains.

I looked around from left to right. I remember not understanding what this was all about. Why did my father purposely want me with him? Where are we?

My father leans down and says to me, "“it'’s election day."

My love and reverence for voting was created on that day. I remember the look of the garage, the faces of the people, the smell of the cardboard and the sound of the hand crank puncher used to complete the paper ballots. I remember the look of pride on my fathers face and his frank (adult) discussion with me about how important this day is.

This morning I continued a tradition that was passed down from my father. It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation, from American to American. It is a duty that the founding fathers envisioned as the peoples true equalizer. It is our voice.

So, this morning I drove down to the Costa Mesa Historical Society building and gave my name. I was handed a code pass and voted on one of those new-fangled machines. It was easy and efficient. My worries about the potential for lost votes was eased by the paper receipt produced by the computer.

This morning I voted. I voted for my community. I voted for my state. I voted for my country. But, most of all, I voted for my Father.

"How to Vote"

YouTube Link:

Hat Tip: Laist:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tuesday is Election Day!

Tomorrow Will Be A Great Day!

Go out and make your mark.

If you a’re not sure where your polling place is, call: 1-866-MYVOTE-1

If you run into any voting problems or irregularities contact the National Campaign for Fair Elections. They will have live operators and lawyers available to assist. Election Protection: 1-866-OUR-VOTE

Hat Tip: The Agonist:

Photo Link: University of Tennessee:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Birthday! Viva Fernando!

Happy Birthday Fernando! You don't look a year over 40. In fact, I suspect you can still pitch today and lead a resurgent team into the playoffs. We'll call it the Fernandomania Revival Tour.

Viva Fernando!

Viva Valenzuela!

Hat Tip: 6-4-2: