Monday, February 28, 2011
I haven't written anything Kings related in awhile. So, if this isn't your cup of tea I suggest moving on to another post.
I had been watching faithfully and patiently as the roller-coaster of a season went on. Just a few weeks back the team was on a turbulent downward spiral. The Kings looked lost on the ice, unable to score with any consistency while the defense, for the most part, held their own. Fortunately, the conference and division continued to be tight as the Kings found themselves in the bottom of the division, but only a few points away from a playoff spot. Fast forward a few weeks and you could hardly believe that dry spell existed. Over the past 15 games they have won 11 games while losing only one game. Additionally, they had 3 overtime loses that provided them a point apiece in the standings. Now, they find themselves in 5th place in the conference and just a hair's away from taking the division title from San Jose. Slowly, but surely, it looks like the Kings are on the verge of leaving the pack of teams clustered around the final playoff spots. With 20 games left to go in the season the Kings sure know when to get hot.
But, the team still had some glaring holes. They were looking for some up front speed and more consistent scoring. Furthermore, it was obvious that a 1st line left winger was desperately needed. Would todays trade deadline pay dividends for the Kings? Could the Kings actually pull off a trade for someone significant?
The answer is a resounding yes! This morning, provided some great news for us fans as the Kings pulled off, arguably, the biggest deal of the trade deadline. They get left winger Dustin Penner, former Anaheim Duck (who happened to win the cup with them), for a prospect, a 1st round draft pick and a conditional (2nd or 3rd round) draft pick. Considering the Kings depth in the minors and the relative consensus that those draft years are weak, I think we made out like a bandit. Heck, Colton Teubert (the prospect we gave up) isn't even considered one of our top 2 or 3 defensive prospects.
Penner provides the big bodied scoring winger the team desperately needs on the left side. He's not particularly fast, but he makes up for it with a great scoring touch. Penner should match up well with Kopitar and Brown (or Williams) on the 1st line, and has the kind of playoff experience a young team like the Kings really covet.
Needless to say, I am ecstatic beyond words. The management has done a masterful job of drafting and stocking the team with the kind of pieces that often lead to long term success.
Read more about the trade here:
LA Kings Insider: Lombardi Talks Trade: Full Trascript
Inside the Kings: Kings Trade for Penner
Battle of California: Kings Trade for Dustin Penner
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: In a 1959 World Series rematch, the Dodgers and their Camelback Ranch – Glendale neighbor Chicago White Sox meet for the first of four Spring Training games. Los Angeles is today’s designated home team. The clubs will also face off during Interleague Play in Chicago from May 20-22.
MOURNING THE DUKE: Today, the Dodgers will honor the memory of Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. The eight-time All-Star center fielder won two World Series championships in his 16 seasons with the Dodgers from 1947-62 and ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and RBI (1,271). The club will ask fans to observe a moment of silence prior to today’s game in memory of Snider.
GOOSE EGG: Don Mattingly won his first Spring Training game as Dodger manager yesterday as Los Angeles blanked the Angels 5-0. John Ely allowed one hit and struck out three in 2.0 scoreless frames and six Dodger relievers combined to limit the Halos to just four hits in the victory. Matt Kemp delivered a two-run single to the put Dodgers on the board in the first inning and Rod Barajas powered the first Los Angeles home run of the spring with a solo shot in the fifth inning.
HURLERS: Dodger Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of Spring Training this afternoon. The 22-year-old posted career-highs in wins (13), strikeouts (212) and innings (204.1) in 2010 and over the past two seasons, Kershaw ranks sixth in the Majors with a 2.85 ERA and leads the big leagues with a .208 opponents’ batting average. He will be followed to the mound by Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Ron Mahay and Travis Schlichting. Right-hander Gavin Floyd will take the hill for Chicago.
- IT’S LIKE CAREER WITH A “G”: Matt Guerrier will make his Dodger debut today after signing a three-year deal with the club in the offseason. Over the past two seasons, the former Minnesota Twin ranks second in the Majors with 56 holds and has posted a 2.75 ERA with a .213 opponents’ batting average. The 32-year-old has been a model of consistency with 70 appearances and 70.0 or more innings in each of the past four seasons with his 311.2 innings pitched since 2007 leading Major League relievers.
SHUTTING THE DOOR: Jonathan Broxton is slated to make his first appearance of Spring Training today against the White Sox and the Dodger closer ranks fifth in the National League (min. 300 IP) with a 3.00 ERA over the past five seasons. Over the course of his six Major League seasons, the 26-year-old leads all big leaguers (min. 300 IP) with an average of 11.70 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.
SWITCHING IT UP: Switch-hitters occupy three of the first five spots in today’s Dodger lineup with Aaron Miles, Dioner Navarro and Trayvon Robinson capable of hitting from both sides of the plate. Miles, who gets the start at second base, has been slightly better over the course of his eight Major League seasons as a right-handed hitter (.282) than from the left side (.279), while Navarro has been better as a left-hander (.263) in his career. Robinson, who has yet to crack the Majors, batted .319 as a left-hander and .291 from the right side last season with Double-A Chattanooga.
HIGH NUMBERS: Seven minor leaguers will join the Dodgers today, including 2010 California League All-Star right-hander Nate Eovaldi (#95) and catcher Matt Wallach (#90), the son of Dodger third base coach Tim Wallach. Left-hander Michael Antonini (#94), who was obtained from the Mets in exchange for Chin-lung Hu, will dress for the Dodgers this afternoon after leading Double-A Binghamton in strikeouts (106) and innings (131.1) and finishing the season with Triple-A Buffalo last season. Stuart Pomeranz (#96), who tossed 0.2 scoreless innings on Saturday against the Angels, Elian Herrera (#89), David Pfeiffer (#87) and Merkin Valdez (#97) will also be available for the big league club today.
- LAST SEEN ON LOPEZ TONIGHT: The Dodgers would like to welcome Dodger legend Tommy Davis to Camelback Ranch. Davis will be visiting camp over the next few days to work with minor leaguers. He played eight seasons with Los Angeles from 1959-66, batting .304 with 86 home runs and 465 RBI in 821 games. The three-time All-Star batted .400 (6-for-15) with two triples and two RBI to help power the Dodgers to the 1963 World Series championship and finished his 18-year Major League career with a .313 batting average in 20 postseason games.
#CAMELBACK TWEETOFF – That’s right, today on Twitter the @Dodgers and @WhiteSox will be having their first-ever #Camelback Tweetoff. Fans following the two clubs’ twitter feeds can win prizes during today’s game with Dodger prizes including Matt Kemp Gold Glove Bobbleheads, autographed baseballs from Rafael Furcal and James Loney and Spring Training tickets. Fans will need to use #Camelback in their responses to win.
- Here is a new Dodger blog called Fellin' Kinda Blue.
- Let's Go Dodgers found a bunch of the team photos taken of the Dodgers online. Check them out here. (Photo Credit: Getty Images- Harry How)
- Baseball Nerd, Keith Olbermann, tells us a bit about the 1969 Topps Aurelio Rodriguez card that actually features an Angels bat boy.
- Jackie Robinson's old apartment in Montreal to be commemorated. (Hat Tip: Baseball Think Factory)
- These are some incredible photos from Boston.com. It's of Nyiragongo Crater, the worlds largest lava lake, in the Congo. Click here to see all 28 pics. To give you some perspective of its size check out the fellow on the bottom left in the picture below. (Pic Credit: Boston.com Olivier Grunewal)
- Josh Suchon provides a analysis and breakdown on the 2011 Dodgers.
YouTube Link: baybridgebaseball:
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The "Silver Fox," Duke Snider, passed away this morning at the age of 84. He unquestionably ranks as one of the greatest Dodgers to ever play the game and will always be remembered as "The Duke of Flatbush."
Born Edwin Donald Snider in Los Angeles, CA on Sept. 19, 1926, Snider was among the game’s most feared hitters during his 16 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-1962), playing on a pair of World Championship teams (1955 and 1959) and in six World Series overall.
The seven-time All-Star center fielder ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and runs batted in (1,271) and during the 1950s, he topped all Major Leaguers with 326 homers and 1,031 RBI. He slugged four home runs in both the 1952 and 1955 World Series.
Nicknamed “Duke” by his father at age five, he was a standout in football, baseball and basketball at Compton High School before signing with the Dodgers at age 17 in 1943. He briefly played in the low minors before entering the Navy.
I received a great article from the Dodger written by Mark Langill and printed in Dodgers Magazine. It provided a little glimpse into his life.
“My dad saw that I was pretty active in sports,” Snider said. “And Edwin just doesn’t seem to have the same ring that Duke does. And so he started calling me Duke. My mom kept calling me Edwin. But he called me Duke. And ‘The Duke of Flatbush’ sounds better than ‘The Edwin of Flatbush.’”...
The Dodgers signed Snider at age 17 in 1943. He briefly played in the low minors before entering the Navy. But his time in the military didn’t interfere with his baseball development.
“We played baseball almost every day when I was in Guam with the submarine tender,” he said. “So I really didn’t miss playing baseball. It wasn’t professionally, but there were some pretty good service teams at that time that I played with and against. Eighteen months is a season and a half in baseball, but actually I didn’t miss anything because I was young, just 18 or 19 years old, and as a result, being in the service didn’t hamper my progress as a player.”...
“We always seemed to play the Yankees,” Snider said. “In 1955 when we finally beat them, it took a little while for it to sink in. We were a little quiet in the clubhouse. Somebody hollered, ‘Hey, we won!’ And then we just let it go. It was really a beautiful celebration. Then we had a big dinner in downtown Manhattan at the Roosevelt Hotel. We just had a wonderful time. There were two buses going back to Brooklyn and the streets were just lined with people in Brooklyn. I guess word had gotten out about what our route was going to be because there was a ticker-tape parade from Yankee Stadium back to Brooklyn. And I think it was a relief for everybody because sentimentally, we were the favorite throughout the country as far as winning a world championship was concerned.”
Dodger Owner and Chairman Frank McCourt: “Duke was one of the truly legendary Dodgers who made his mark first in Brooklyn and then in his hometown, Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of spending time with him on several occasions and he was a truly wonderful man. I’m so glad that we were able to keep him as an active part of the Dodger family over the past several years. The entire Dodger organization is deeply saddened by his loss and our heartfelt thoughts are with Beverly and his family.”
Dodger Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda: “I was a Duke's teammate and looked up to him with respect. Duke was not only a great player but he was a great person too. He loved his family and loved the Dodgers. He was the true Dodger and represented the Dodgers to the highest degree of class, dignity and character. He was my teammate and friend and I will really miss him.”
Dodger Hall of Fame broadcast Vin Scully: “He was an extremely gifted talent and his defensive abilities were often overlooked because of playing in a small ballpark, Ebbets Field. When he had a chance to run and move defensively, he had the grace and the abilities of DiMaggio and Mays and of course, he was a World Series hero that will forever be remembered in the borough of Brooklyn. Although it’s ironic to say it, we have lost a giant. He’s joining a great Dodger team that has moved on and I extend my sympathies to his entire family, especially to Bev.”
Below are two examples of these photos. Here is Brooklyn Dodger Joe Medwick posing on the grounds of Wrigley Field in Chicago, 1941.
Here, is a candid shot of Dodger manager Leo Durocher at Wrigley in 1941.
FREEWAY STORY 2: The Dodgers and Angels square off again today following yesterday’s 4-1 Halos’ victory at Diablo Stadium in Tempe. The Boys in Blue also dropped their other split-squad game over in Scottsdale, 8-3 to the Giants. The 2011 Camelback Ranch lid-lifter will see the Dodgers searching for their first Cactus League victory of the year after going 11-17-2 in 2010. After today, the two squads won’t meet again until the Freeway Series on March 28 at Dodger Stadium and March 29 at Angel Stadium.
THE FIGHTERS: Dodger right-hander RHP John Ely will make his 2011 Spring debut this afternoon. Ely took L.A. by storm last season, making six straight quality starts from May 6 to June 1 after replacing an injured Vicente Padilla in the rotation. Ely’s six straight quality starts were the most consecutive by a Dodger rookie since Hideo Nomo in 1995. In addition, the Illinois native faced 89 straight batters without allowing a walk from April 28 to May 22, the longest such streak by a Dodger rookie since Dave Stewart had a 93-batter streak in 1981. Following Ely to the mound will be RHP Blake Hawksworth, RHP Mike MacDougal, RHP Ramon Troncoso, RHP Kenley Jansen and RHP Jon Link. LHP Scott Kazmir will take the ball for the Angels.
SURVIVING WINTER’S BONE: Despite a hard rain throughout the night and chillier than average temperatures, the show will go on and today marks the 2011 home opener for Camelback Ranch. The Dodgers have called Camelback Ranch their Spring Training home since 2009 and March 1 will mark the two-year anniversary of the first game on these grounds. Since opening, the club has set numerous attendance records and last season the Dodgers drew 124,501 fans in 14 contests at Camelback Ranch.
INCEPTION: Opening Day at Dodger Stadium against the Giants on Thursday night, March 31 is just 32 days away. Yesterday, approximately 3,000 fans braved the elements and showed up at Dodger Stadium, helping Opening Day sell out in less than two hours. However, Opening Day tickets are still available to those purchasing season tickets or mini plans. To get your Opening weekend tickets vs. the Giants, visit dodgers.com.
THE DODGER KING’S SPEECH: Later today, Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be honored with a lifetime achievement award and a city certificate tomorrow at the Beverly Hills Wine Festival. The mayor of Beverly Hills will be on hand for the ceremony which will recognize Scully’s dedication and contributions to Los Angeles.
TRUE GRIT: After getting the day off yesterday, Dodger gamers Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal and Juan Uribe are in the starting lineup this afternoon and will make their 2011 Spring Training debuts. Blake played in 146 games last season, his most since 2007 while Uribe logged 148 contests, including 139 starts, his most since 2007. Injuries limited Furcal to 97 games in 2010, but he was named to the NL All-Star team and averaged 153 games per season from 2002-2006.
- THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Four Dodger minor leaguers will dress for the game today, including youngsters Javier Solano (RHP), Alberto Bastardo (LHP) and David Pfeiffer (LHP). Bastardo, who will wear No. 87, tied for the Dodger organizational lead last season with 12 wins and 27 combined starts at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque. Pfeiffer will wear No. 89 and was taken by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. The left-hander was born in Vero Beach, FL and attended Indian River Community College. Solano, wearing No. 92, went 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 35 combined relief appearances with Single-A Inland Empire and Double-A Chattanooga.
- THE MEDICAL NETWORK: The Dodgers’ big league medical staff has added a few members this season, as Jeremiah Randall will be the new Major League Physical Therapist and Nancy Patterson joins the big league club as an Assistant Athletic Trainer. Other medical department changes throughout the minors include Collin Eggebrecht (Minor League Physical Therapist), Yosuke Nakajima (Double-A Chattanooga Athletic Trainer), Lindsey Pyc (Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Athletic Trainer), Peter Houdek (Single-A Great Lakes Athletic Trainer), Matt Jackson (Single-A Great Lakes Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Vinny Vasquez (Rookie-level Ogden Strength and Conditioning Coach).
3 HOURS: The Dodgers’ contest against the Angeles can be heard in Los Angeles on 790 KABC with Charley Steiner behind the microphone. In addition to the radio, today’s game can be seen on PRIME TICKET in high definition. Steiner’s voice will be simulcast on PRIME TICKET as well as the MLB Network.
WHITE SWANS: Jonathan Broxton and Clayton Kershaw were honored on Thursday night at the 6th Annual LA Sports Awards with Broxton’s save of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim tying for the 10th-Greatest Los Angeles Sports Moment of the year and Kershaw’s first career shutout, which came on Sept. 15 at San Francisco, being recognized as the greatest Dodger moment of the season. Don Newcombe represented the Dodgers at the star-studded event at The Beverly Hilton, which was hosted by the Los Angeles Sports Council.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
- LET’S GET IT STARTED: The Dodgers open up their 34-game Cactus League slate with a pair of split-squad road games with one team playing the Giants in Scottsdale and the other taking on the Angels in Tempe. Today’s matchup is the first of three trips that the Dodgers will make to Scottsdale Stadium this spring with the Giants busing over to Glendale on March 4. Los Angeles went 11-17-2 in Cactus League play last season.
- BALLERS: Dodger non-roster right-hander Tim Redding will get the start against the Giants this afternoon after spending the 2010 season with the Yankees’ and Rockies’ organizations, going a combined 8-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) at the Triple-A level. The 33-year-old hopes to continue his season-ending hot streak, when he went 5-0 with a 0.83 ERA (4 ER/43.1 IP) over his final six games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Redding will be followed to the hill by RHP Carlos Monasterios, RHP Oscar Villarreal, RHP Jon Huber and LHP Wilkin De La Rosa.
IT’S TIME FOR DONNIE BASEBALL: Don Mattingly will manage his first official Spring Training game for the Dodgers. Last year, while still the club’s hitting coach, the 49-year-old filled in as acting manager during Spring Training while Joe Torre managed a Dodger squad in Taiwan. Mattingly will become the 27th manager in franchise history (ninth in Los Angeles) after seven seasons coaching under Torre and a 14-year playing career with the Yankees, when he compiled a .307 batting average with 222 homers, 1,099 RBI, nine Rawlings Gold Gloves, six All-Star selections, a batting title (1984, AL) and a selection as the 1985 American League Most Valuable Player.
TEMPE THROWDOWN: Another squad of Dodgers will open the spring season this afternoon in Tempe against the Angels. RHP Hiroki Kuroda will make his first start of the spring and is scheduled to be followed by RHP Rubby De La Rosa, LHP Scott Elbert, RHP Lance Cormier, RHP Roman Colon and RHP Luis Vasquez. Triple-A Albuquerque Manager Lorenzo Bundy will call the shots in Tempe against the Angels with Mattingly in Scottsdale.
CONGRATULATIONS, VIN: Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be honored with a lifetime achievement award and a city certificate tomorrow at the Beverly Hills Wine Festival. The mayor of Beverly Hills will be on hand for the ceremony which will recognize Scully’s dedication and contributions to Los Angeles.
HIGH NUMBERS: The Dodgers will be sending 11 minor leaguers to today’s game in Scottsdale, including former Giants right-hander Merkin Valdez. Outfielders Brian Cavazos-Galvez, who homered in his only 2010 Spring Training at-bat and was selected as a Baseball America Low Class-A All-Star with Single-A Great Lakes last season, and 2009 Midwest League co-MVP Kyle Russell will also be making the trip along with third base coach Tim Wallach’s son, catcher Matt Wallach.
ON THE AIR: Today’s game can be heard back in Los Angeles on 790 KABC as Charley Steiner will have the call today in the first of 17 Spring Training games that will be broadcast on the Dodger Radio Network. Tomorrow’s home opener against the Angels will be the first of 15 Dodger Spring Training games on television with 12 on PRIME TICKET and three on KCAL 9, and for the first time ever, all of them will be broadcast in high definition.
NEWEST DODGER: Congratulations to Dodger Minor League Video Coordinator Matt Lawrence and his wife Heather on the birth of his first child, Caitlin Lindsey, born yesterday afternoon! Caitlin weighed in 9 lbs. 4 oz. and measured 22 inches long.
BROOKLYN BLUES: Yesterday, the Dodgers announced that they will wear the 1940s “satin” uniform during six mid-week day games in 2011. Nearly 50,000 votes were cast online with the winning powder blue Brooklyn uniform edging out the 1911 road uniform by less than 2,000 votes. Though the original uniforms worn in the 1940s were made of a high reflective satin fabric, the throwback jerseys worn in 2011 will be made of the same material and maintain the same feel as those worn by the Dodgers throughout the season. Six-game mini plans, which include all six throwback dates at half price, are available online at Dodgers.com/miniplans and tickets for each individual game are on sale now.
WINNER, WINNER: Jonathan Broxton and Clayton Kershaw were honored on Thursday night at the 6th Annual LA Sports Awards with Broxton’s save of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim tying for the 10th-Greatest Los Angeles Sports Moment of the year and Kershaw’s first career shutout, which came on Sept. 15 at San Francisco, being recognized as the greatest Dodger moment of the season. Don Newcombe represented the Dodgers at the star-studded event at The Beverly Hilton, which was hosted by the Los Angeles Sports Council.