Friday, December 29, 2006

Blake DeWitt Interview

Here is a interview with the Dodgers 2004 1st Round Draft Pick Blake DeWitt. This was done prior to a basketball game at his alma mater on December 19, 2006.



YouTube Link: RM23RM23:

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ah Crap! Another Barry to Wear Orange

Man-O-Live! Just when I thought the Giants would only be good for a laugh next season they go ahead and spend a boatload of money on the pitching jewel of the winter free agent class. Barry Zito is headed for downtown San Francisco. He gets $126 million for 7 years. That averages to $18 million a year.

On an annual cost basis it doesn't sound too bad. Afterall, the market is what it is. On the other hand, a seven year contract for a pitcher seems a bit foolhardy. Hasn't the National League West teams seen, first hand, the consequences of a long term contract for a starting pitcher, i.e. Hampton and Kevin Brown? Were they not paying attention?

Either way we may not have the Giants to kick around next season. They may actually be competitive- even if half the team is on the verge of senility.

The fun factor: The chants that reverberate during a Dodger-Giant games will now apply to more than one player. "Barry Sucks" and "Barrrrr- rrryyyy" is now a universal anti-Giant cheer. In fact, I firmly believe that they should be known as the Barry's (like how the Dodgers were once known as the Bridegrooms).

Friday, December 22, 2006

We're All Dodgers

Fun and creative, these commercials made me smile everytime.



YouTube Link: willsbitch:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merkle's Boner

In honor of 6-4-2's daily birthday posting please see above my only Fred Merkle baseball card. It is a strip card from circa 1919 and is called W514. It's not the most attractive card or the best conditioned card. Nevertheless, it's a very unusual card.

These cards came in horizontal strips of typically 10 or more players side by side. Fans would cut the cards along dotted lines to make individual cards. Most of the artwork is much like the one above. They are a bit drab and not very good. They seem to never resemble the player at all. Strip cards in general were produced from the 1910's to the 1920's. Over the years these type of cards received very little respect, but has seen a small resurgence in interest over the past several years. From a cost perspective, they are very affordable compared to tobacco or candy issued cards.

Check out 6-4-2's post for historical background of the long forgotten "Merkle Boner."

An Early Christmas Present for my Family

This past week I've been MIA from this website primarily due to a brand new addition to my family. Check him out above. On Friday afternoon my sister gave birth to their 2nd son, Mr. Tyler Alexander Star. Aint he a beaut!

It was a ruckus and crazy week.

On Thursday afternoon, last week, I offered to help out my sister and brother-in-law by baby-sitting their oldest son, Trevor, while they headed out to a doctors' appointment. Trevor is 21 months old, and, as you can imagine, he is a hand-full. He will scamper around the house running from one toy to another- almost in a schizophrenic rage. He'll drag me along by grabbing my fingers. He is just so excited about playing with Uncle Ernest.

Anyway, Thursday baby-sitting went just fine. No hitches and no problems. Trevor and I had a great time.

Then, later that evening my brother-in-law calls and ask me to spend the night. Since most of our family is too far away I am the most logical person to spend the day with Trevor when the new child is born. Apparently, my sisters just knew that Friday would be the day and they feared having to call me at 3:00 AM to come over. So, I slept on a guest bed.

6:00 AM comes around and a knock on my door wakes me from my slumber. "Ernest, wake up! We are going to the hospital." I wipe the sleep from my eyes, focus my vision and jump out of bed. The day would start off with nervous parents heading out of the door and a waking child wondering, "why is Uncle Ernest here?"

We have a busy schedule. First breakfast, then playtime. My sister lets me know about a video that Trevor adores. Thankfully it's "The Polar Express" and not "The Wiggles." They drive me crazy. Lunch, playtime, then nap time fill up the rest of the morning. In the afternoon, Trevor is awake and snacks and play dominant our time.

During Trevor's nap I get word of Tyler's birth and rejoice with Trevor when he is awake from his afternoon nap. "WooHoo!" He is healthy and complications are minimal.

Anyway, my folks head into town later that evening, driving in from Las Vegas after hearing about the news, and my full day of baby-sitting is over.

If I may add, this was the first time I had the opportunity to baby-sit for a full day. And ya know what? It is hard work.

By the time I got home I was dirty and sweaty from running around. I had food all over me. I must have smelled like a horses behind. I was more tired that I could have ever imagined.

So, during this holiday season I would like to pay special kudos to all of those folks who stay at home with their young children. You should all be given medals.

UPDATE: OK. I'm getting a little crazy here. Check out the pic I made of Tyler at Times Square.
Generator: Billboard Maker:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New Blog: Sons of Steve Garvey

Welcome to the Giant Blue tent I like to call "Dodgertown On-Line." Check out a new group blog of rabid Dodger fans called Sons of Steve Garvey.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gagne Becomes a Ranger

Gagne is going to the American League. He joins the Texas Rangers relief staff.

At least he isn't a Giant.

That would have been unforgivable.

Below is a video of Eric heading to the mound. Do remember those goose bumps when Gagne entered the game?



YouTube Link: BGRobocop:

Hat Tip: Dodger Thoughts:

OT: Don't Buy a Dell

I've been wanting to go on a little diatribe about Dell and their customer service. Dell sucks. Their computers suck and their customer service sucks.

Our head researcher at my day job has been struggling with Dell for well over a month now- almost 3 months, if I'm not mistaken. I've had my own problems with the Dell computers we got at work earlier this year.

It was finally determined that the computer we received had some internal hardware issues and requires a full replacement. A new computer was suppose to be shipped last week. We where even given a shipping number and told it would arrive in 7 days. Of course, it never arrived.

Upon checking on its whereabouts, we find that the shipping number we where given is a fake number. Also, customer service reports that their notes indicate we where having problems with a printer and not a computer. (We do not have a Dell printer in the office.) Furthermore, there is NO notation that anything was to be replaced at all. It is as if Dell representatives willfully lied.

They lied about sending a replacement computer- even going as far as providing a fake shipping number. They lied in their own internal notes.

Their lies have caused us to rethink our future purchases. We recently cancelled our order for a new server from Dell and plan an aggressive, yet light-hearted, campaign against Dell with all of our clients. We will make sure everyone we know understands how terrible that company is.

Dell willfully and purposfully lies to their own customers.

...

Okay, I feel better now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Brief Respite: A Kings Hockey Fight

I have to admit, when a fight breaks out at a hockey game a smile appears on my face. I stand and cheer. My fists reach towards the sky as I bellow a mighty roar.

Can you tell I went to the Kings game last night. It was an exciting. Invigorating. An event worth watching on replay. There were 9 goals scored as the Kings pulled it out in the last period, 5 to 4. We also witnesses an anticipated match-up between Colorado's Ian Laperriere and LA's Sean Avery. There is some left over bad blood from when Lappy use to be on the Kings, so most fans were expecting this sooner than later. Avery got in his licks, but Lappy appeared to have more control. In the end, Laperriere dragged Sean down, and it was over.

Unfortunately, I don't have a video of that fight, but I did find the one below. It was from earlier this season and is a must see for the novice and enthusiast alike.

The video is a perfect example of why fighting is a part of the game. Listen as Jimmy Fox and Bob Miller explain the event, and watch as Georges Laraque and Raitis Ivanans perform on the ice. Also, be sure to watch the whole thing through. Laraque and Ivanans have a great conversation just before the gloves drop.

Laraque: "You want to?"
Ivanans: "Yhea"
Laraque: "Okay"
Laraque: You'll Square Off"
Ivanans: "Yhea"
Laraque: "Okay. Good Luck, Man"
Ivanans: "You, Too"

This is a great game. Is there any chance the Kings will come out with a Blue jersey?

UPDATE: Unfortunately, I am now unable to find this video. It has been taken down. Sorry.

XXL National Video: Schmidt House

She's a Schmidt... House. XXL National made a great video about our new pitcher. My favorite line is "grown ass men should never have to wear orange."



YouTube Link: XXL National:

Another Video about the Dodgers you should check out was made as a present for their Dad. It includes the timeless Terry Cashman song "Willy, Mickey, and 'the Duke' (Talkin' Baseball)." "Pops" was a Brooklyn Dodger fan through and through. Click this link to see.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Video of the Pierre/ Wolf Press Conference

Below is a video by LAobserved Jacob Soboroff at the press conference introducing Randy Wolf and Juan Pierre.

Randy talks about coming home and Juan picks the Clippers. In other news, Juan Pierre looks forward to LA traffic. My advice- leave for your destination as early as possible.



YouTube Link: JacobSoboroff:

Don't Get Drewed Again

This is great. They have the LA perspective on the matter exactly right. You are not worthy!

"Drewed" is the new slang for "Screwed."



YouTube Link: xxlnational:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mastro Auctions

Mastro is about to close up on their most recent auction over the next few days. There are some remarkable items available; including the below original photograph of the pitching hand of Hall of Famer Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown. It's amazing he could throw a baseball, let alone be as dominating as he was. The Auction description says it all.
"A terrible accident with a corn shredder left seven-year-old Mordecai Brown with a stump for an index finger and two other misshapen digits. For some people, such a handicap would be an insurmountable obstacle; for Brown, it was the source of his strength and the catalyst for his amazing curveball. He learned how to use the severed finger to his advantage as a pitcher, applying an unusually high amount of spin that made his pitches nearly unhitable. And, as the record books show, "Three-Finger" Brown not only made it to the majors, he was actually a dominant force there, winning 239 games over 14 seasons and restricting his career ERA to an infinitesimal 2.06."
Of course, It wouldn't be right to highlight a major auction house without pointing out some great Dodger items. Below is a 1948 spring training news service photograph featuring a very young Roy Campanella with Jackie Robinson. This is from Campy's rookie year.
I can't get enough of seeing the Babe in a Dodger uniform. He just looks out of place without pinstripes. Below is the Babe posing with his wife and daughter.

Gagne Stung by the Boras Ethic

If I'm not mistaken Eric Gagne was paid $18,000,000.00 over the past two season. In that time, due to injuries, he pitched in a total of 16 games and earned 9 saves. The total number of innings pitched was 15.1. Then, sometime during last season, Gagne mentioned that he would give the Dodgers a hometown discount.

Through the LA Times we find out that the Dodgers offered a competitive offer to Gagne. Certainly not the low-ball deal I had seen previously in the $1,000,000.00 range. No... He was apparently offered upwards of $4,000,000.00 with incentives that could reach as high as $10,000,000.00 a year. That's pretty lofty considering the risk involved and the player agent we have to deal with.

I agree with the Dodger Junkie. If he doesn't take that, then let him walk.

In other news, the Mike Lieberthal signing is official. Also, Gonzo will be joining the Blue Crew. I guess those whimsical dreams of Manny in Blue are all for naught. On the other hand, according to the LA Times, we could see a deal for Vernon Wells. He has one year left on his contract and their GM likes Penny. Could Vernon be a one year rental while we groom our rookies for stardom?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Indianapolis Clowns

Last month, I wrote about an eBay auction featuring a rare marketing postcard featuring the Ethiopian Clowns. They were one of the best barnstorming teams in the country. Several years later the Florida team moved to Indianapolis.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to purchase these 3 advertising photos featuring the Indianapolis Clowns earlier this year. As you can see, the top photo features owner Syd Pollack with future Hall of Fame Hank Aaron. Many of you may know that Hank Aaron started his professional career with the Indianapolis Clowns. Also featured is the acrobatic workings of "The Flying Nesbitts."
Above is a photo of chief funmaker "Birmingham Sam Brison." Below are photos of other members including Billy "Midget" Vaughn, Fred Battle and Tiny Walke.See my other Negro League memorabilia here:

In a Fast and Furious Week Schmidt Joins the Dodgers

I was chatting with our Research czar at work this morning about some database issues. Fortunately, it was a minor problem that required a change in my process and not a reworking of the programming. As I headed back to my desk I sat on my chair and heard a scream from right outside my door. One of our interns, Danny, who sits near me, was clenching his cell phone repeating what a friend had just IM'd him. (I'm constantly amazed how these kids IM to each all the time. Personnally, I don't have the patience. Heck, I don't even know how to use IM on my phone.)

"Jason Schmidt is a Dodger!"

I turned to Danny, pumped my fist like Saito after a game ending strike out and said, "that's the best news I've heard all day."

The Dodgers are now in the position to trade for power with pitching depth. Suddenly, everything appears to be coming into place.

Jon Weisman has more.

Rob McMillin added earlier today that Brad Penny and some prospects might be enough for Manny. With this signing this possibility appear more likely then ever before.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thank You Saito

The Saito "pump" stays in LA.

Takashi Saito signed a 1 year contract today. I can't tell how happy I am to know he is coming back. He was a breath of fresh air. His smile and constant enthusiasm was an inspiration for the fans, and his stellar performance inspired the whole team. Thank you for a great year.

Photo Link: eTopps:

John Wright: The Forgotten Dodger Prospect

I figured that sooner or later I would take some time to scan some of my other collectibles. Including the above wirephoto of Negro League pitcher John "Needle Nose" Wright. Pictured in a Homestead Grays uniform, Wright also pitched for the Crawfords, Newark Eagles and Black Crackers.

He has an important place in Dodger history. John Wright was the 2nd African-American player to be signed by the Dodgers. In fact, I believe Wright and Jackie Robinson where signed on the same day. He went along with Jackie to Montreal to play for their minor league affiliate, the Royals. John pitched in 2 games, but I could not find any statistics about those games. He then left the team and returned to the Negro Leagues.

From my understanding, John Wright was not expected to be brought up to the "Bigs," although he was very good, by all accounts. (Update: John Wright won 18 and lost 5 in 1943 for the Grays.) Branch Rickey and other Dodger executives where worried about the impact the game, and its fans, would have on Jackie Robinson. Afterall, Jackie would have to face some pretty crazy things, and they felt it might be too much of a burden for one man to carry. It was hoped that John Wright could help shield Jackie, or at least be able to carry some of the burden.

At the end of the day, John decided to go home and Jackie ended up being more than capable in handling the constant taunts and derisive comments.

UPDATE: Here is an excellent article about John Wright's time with the Dodgers, via Ryan Whirty at Baseball America.  He has far more information that what I was able to gather.  Go here to check out that article.
The above photo features 3 players from the New York Cubans Baseball team. It was taken in 1950 and features New York Central Park in the background. The back of the photo states that the players are Rene Gonzales, Carlos Blanco and Carlos Colas, but I am not so sure. Carlos Colas was much older and did not play for the Cubans in 1950. Carlos Blanco is a member of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and resembles the man in the center, but it's hard to say if it really is him. Rene Gonzales, though, appears to be the gentleman on the right. He was 6'2" and played in the Negro Leagues, and for the NY Cubans, in 1950.

Even without knowing exactly who is pictured it is still a rare and important Baseball item. Negro League cards, photos and memorabilia are scarce and highly sought after.

Please fell free to check out some of the other Negro League items I downloaded here:

Monday, December 04, 2006

Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game

Major League Baseball announced today that they will have a Baseball Civil Rights Game the day before the start of the season to celebrate the nation's civil rights movement. The St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians will play on March 31, 2007 in Memphis, TN. The National Civil Rights Museum, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Negro League Museum and other local Memphis charities will receive donations from Major League Baseball and proceeds from the game. 2007 is the 60th anniversary of the integration of Baseball- the year Jackie Robinson played his first game in Blue.

I wonder, after first reading the story, why the Dodgers where not asked to play in the game instead of St. Louis. Afterall, the Indians and Dodgers where the first teams to integrate in their respective leagues. So naturally, having them play each other in this historic game would be a perfect fit. On top of that, the Dodgers are on the road for opening day in Milwaukee so travel issues could not possibly be a reason.

I guess "winning it all" takes precedence over history.

Hunt Internet Auction

One of my favorite Auction Houses is Hunt Auctions out of Pennsylvania. They are one of the premier houses in the country for sports related memorabilia. In fact, they handled the Roy Campanella estate sale a few years ago, Joe DiMaggio Estate sale earlier this year and am currently in the midst of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Sale right now. Recently, Hunt Auctions completed a regular internet/phone only auction last week and I was fortunate enough to have won a couple of items.

Below is a original watercolor painting of Hall of Famer Hugh Jennings doing his famous hop while no doubt chanting "Ee-Yah." This painting was used to produce Helmar potato chips trading cards released in 2005. If you haven't seen these cards you should go check them out. They are the size of old tobacco cards and printed on thicker stock. The cards are colorful and reminds fans of the golden age of Baseball. I believe that they are the best looking cards made over the past 10 years.
Another item on my win list is this c. 1940 wire photo of Baseball great Honus Wagner. It was taken by former AP photographer Danny Jacino. (A bit of Dodger history: Jacino once accused Dodger infielder Tom Brown of punching him during a game in 1948. Apparently a melee erupted as Jacino jumped into the Dodger dugout after some choice words between the two.) It is stamped by the AP on the back and signed in the front by the photographer. The above wire photo reminds me about a reference guide/book I recently purchased from Mastro Auctions. It is called "A Portrait of Baseball Photography." It is a must have for anyone interested in collecting vintage photographs/ wire photos. This part of the hobby has slowly increased in popularity over the past several years and, sooner or later, the need to categorize the different type of photos available becomes paramount. The above wire photo is most likely a type 1 photo, the most desirable to collectors, since it appears to have been printed from the original negative within a couple of years of its creation. The photograph has yet to arrive to confirm this, but the description of the stamping on the reverse points in that direction. Either way it was an affordable buy, especially considering that a Baseball card by "The Flying Dutchman" in this condition and age would easily cost me double or triple (or more, much more) of what I paid for this picture. By the way, the final hammer price on the Wagner was $60.00. It was a great deal.

Anyway, later on, I will go into some detail about wire photos and the main categories that exist for classifying a photos vintage state.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Manny in Blue?

Lately, there has been alot of talk about bringing Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Afterall, the Dodgers are one of a few teams that have the prospects that can appease the Red Sox. On the otherhand, do we really want to trade our Blue chip players?

Anyway, Protrade ask its researchers about the possibility of Manny being moved. Check it out here.

My favorite comment is in haiku form from Ryan Wilkins:
Sands through hourglass
Like balls through Manny's feet, glove
Worth the effort, stress?

Hat Tip: Baseball Musings: