Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I Can Smell That Grass Already

Today was a big day for Dodger Stadium. The new stadium grass was installed. Thankfully, West Coast Turf provided the update, as well as, pictures for us to enjoy.

I only wish the sun was out so we can see the full glory of "green." BTW, they also installed the new fields for the Padres, Angels and Diamondbacks a few days ago.

(Pic Link: TwitPic WestCoastTurf)

Even more interesting is the process of re-sodding the field (Via West Coast Turfs Website):

As with any major yard project, it takes different skill sets, big crews and lots of heavy lifting. A lot of the real work goes on beneath the surface.

Step 1: The old grass comes out, along with about 2 inches of roots, seed and soil (dirt infield areas are left intact).

Step 2: New sand is brought in, about 400 tons, to replace most of the discarded stuff.

Step 3: Gypsum, the double-malt scotch of Southland lawns, is added to loosen the soil and keep it from compacting.

Step 4: The new and existing material are blended together to a depth of 6 or so inches, but not deep enough to disturb the Byzantine system of pipes, pumps and other irrigation devices beneath the field.

Step 5: Using laser guides, contractors smooth the field nearly flat, in preparation for the sod.

Step 6: A 12-man crew from West Coast Turf brings in 100,000 square feet of sod, in 42-inch widths nearly three times as wide as the turf you get at the corner nursery. Over a two-day period, they press and caress this new field into place, as if smoothing on a Band-Aid.

It gets even more interesting from there. It's almost like a science. Read all about the process here.

2011 In The Game: Dodger Prospects

In the Game isn't a card maker I know an awful lot about. I know they've been making hockey cards for quite some time, but didn't realize, until recently, that Baseball was now a part of their repertoire. The cards are unlicensed by MLB, but (correct me if I'm wrong) are licensed by the players union. So, team emblems are missing.

Their recently release 2011 Heroes & Prospect Baseball set focuses primarily on up-and-coming kids working their way through the minors. There is no base set, only relic cards that feature an autograph or game-used material. Only 1 Dodger prospect is prominently featured, Ethan Martin, but there are many different kinds of his cards to chase after. See complete checklist here. Below is just a sample of some of them.

Fortunately, the Heroes part of the set has a vintage Dodger- Steve Garvey. Below is an example of one of his cards. There also happens to be several "1 of 1" vintage Dodger autographs available (such as Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Drysdale) to those lucky enough to attain one.

eBay: A Landreaux Award

I'm always shocked to see items like this on eBay. In fact, you have to wonder if it really is what it says it is. On the other hand, why would anyone fake this?

Here is a little award and presentation piece that was given to Ken Landreaux. It was for his participation as Grand Marshall in the 1986 El Monte Christmas Parade.

Day 13 Spring Training Notes

  • ONE OF THE GREATEST:I'd like to thank God for including me in his master plan ... being a Brooklyn Dodger and Los Angeles Dodger." -- Duke Snider, Cooperstown, 1980.
(Pic Link: HitPix Dodgers)
(Lopes teaches the young guys how to lead off 3rd)

  • GOING TRIBAL: This afternoon, the Dodgers will play the first of two games against the Cleveland Indians this spring, with the other contest coming on March 27 at Camelback Ranch. Los Angeles and Cleveland last tussled in the regular season in 2008, with the Indians taking two of three at Dodger Stadium in Interleague Play. The Indians also took two of three from the Dodgers during 2010 Spring Training, including an exhibition contest at Dodger Stadium on April 1, 2010.
  • KEEP IT ROLLING: The Dodgers won their second consecutive Cactus League contest yesterday, downing the White Sox, 6-5. Jonathan Broxton picked up the win after tossing a scoreless inning and right-handed minor league Nate Eovaldi garnered the save with a perfect ninth inning. At the dish, Jamie Hoffmann went 2-for-2 and Damaso Espino drove in two runs.
(Pic Link: HitPix Dodgers)
  • ON THE MOUND: Dodger right-hander Chad Billingsley will make his 2011 Spring debut this afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark. Last season, Billingsley went 12-11 with a 3.57 ERA and has recorded a winning record in each of his eight professional seasons. His 52 victories in the Majors since 2007 are tied for eighth among current NL starters over that time and his 551 strikeouts since 2008 ranks sixth in the National League. The 2009 All-Star posted a 3.05 ERA in his 15 starts after the break in 2010. Billingsley will be followed to the mound by RHP Oscar Villarreal, RHP Roman Colon, RHP Jon Huber, RHP Lance Cormier and LHP Wilkin De La Rosa. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco will take the hill for the Tribe.

  • BRINGING THE “A” TEAM: The Dodger starting lineup is looking pretty regular this afternoon following a day off for many of the starters yesterday vs. the White Sox. Former Indian Casey Blake will bat second and play in his second 2011 Cactus League contest. Blake played for the Tribe from 2003-08, hitting a career high 28 homers in 2004 and playing a career most 156 games in 2007. In a little more than two seasons with Los Angeles, Blake owns the highest fielding percentage (.968) among Dodger third baseman with a minimum of 250 games played.
(Pic Link: HitPix Dodgers)
  • NON-ROSTER SPOTLIGHT: Dodger right-hander Roman Colon will be making his second appearance of the spring this afternoon after tossing a scoreless inning in his debut last Saturday against the Angels. Colon is 8-10 with a 5.12 ERA in 121 career Major League games with the Braves (2004-05), Tigers (2005-06) and Royals (2009-10). The native of the Dominican Republic pitched in five games for Kansas City last season before pitching in Korea. Colon joined the Dodgers in part because they were his brother’s favorite team. In fact, Daniel Colon was signed by Los Angeles in 1989.

  • SAXY IN THE HOUSE: Former Dodger second baseman Steve Sax will be at Camelback Ranch-Glendale this weekend to promote his new book, SHIFT: Change Your Mindset And You Change Your World. The All-Star infielder will throw out the first pitch on “Fireworks Night,” Friday, March 4 prior to the Dodgers’ 7:05 p.m. home game against the Gi­ants. The following day, Sax will be signing copies of SHIFT outside the Team Store in the Center Field Courtyard from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sax won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1982, the Silver Slugger in 1986 and was a five-time All Star for the Dodgers (1982-83, ’86) and Yankees (1989-90).

  • A MINOR MENTION: Three Dodger minor leaguers will take the trip to Goodyear today, including LHP Alberto Bastardo and RHP Francisco Felix. Bastardo, who will wear No. 89, tied for the Dodger organizational lead last season with 12 wins and 27 combined starts at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque. Felix, who will wear No. 87, was a non-roster invitee in 2010, but spent much of last year on loan to Saltillo of the Mexican League. RHP Juan Rincon will wear No. 91 and is the third minor league traveler. Rincon tossed a scoreless inning on Sunday vs. the Angels.

  • THAT’S MR. DAVIS TO YOU: Dodger legend Tommy Davis will be spending the next few days at Camelback Ranch. Davis, who arrived yesterday, will be working with the minor leaguers. The Brooklyn native 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.
  • DREAM A LITTLE DREAM: Tomorrow morning is the Dodgers’ annual open tryout in which any ballplayer can come to the fields and attempt to earn a minor league contract. Registration will begin promptly at 8 a.m. with the tryout taking place at 9 a.m. Players just have to bring their own uniform and then dazzle the staff. The Dodgers signed two players out of the tryout in both 2009 and 2010, including right-handed pitcher Tim Corcoran, who is still in the organization.