Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 1/31/2012

Vin Scully receives his reward from Kings broadcaster Bob Miller for being named the best Radio Play-by Play announcer by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters (SCSB) for the 13th time on Monday. Rick Monday was honored for Radio Color Commentary by the SCSB, as well. Press Release. (Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers)
  • Check out Jon Weisman's new home for Dodger Thoughts at www.dodgerthoughts.com
  • Jon starts off with a funny post featuring a exclusive interview with master twitterer Old Hoss Radbourn.
  • Steve Dilbeck reports that former Dodger executive Derrick Hall has been approached by several bidders.
  • Evan at New Mexico fan was at the SABR Day event at IsotopesPark last weekend.
  • Ronald Belisario finally shows up to camp a year too late, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.
  • This card has apparently been highlighted in the news. It is this years big "gimmick" card from 2012 Topps Baseball, and it is already garnering huge bids on eBay as collectors open up early released retail packs. See them here. One is about to closed at over $600. This is crazy! Don't buy the hype on these short prints. Prices could not possible stay at this level.
  • Beckett has a complete list of all short prints in 2012 Topps- with pics.
  • UniWatch visits the Little League Museum.
  • Voice of the Collectors notes a Antique Roadshow episode that features memorabilia from a former player in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Video is included.
  • Panini shares some pics from Media Day at the Super Bowl.
  • Dee Gordon posses with a fan- who happens to root for the Angels. She is forced to hold up a sign that says, "Go Dodgers!"

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  • Here is a first person view from the main event at the motorcross race held at Dodger Stadium a couple of weeks ago.

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Happy Birthday, Jackie Robinson

Today would mark Jackie Robinson's 93rd Birthday. He was a great leader who helped change the landscape of Baseball and the country. His accomplishments will always be remembered.

Take a peek at some of the Jackie Robinson cards and memorabilia that I have in my collection, here.
(Pic via Tony M., Tumblr On Being Blog)

CSA: 1890's Dave Foutz Newsboy Cabinet

"His (Dave Foutz) calm demeanor and take-charge attitude inspired confidence among his teammates. And his strong hitting and good fielding and base running contributed to many victories." - Historian Robert L. Tiemann in Nineteenth Century Stars (1989) (From Baseball Almanac)
Nicknamed "scissors" because of his skinny frame, Dave Foutz would be a early Brooklyn hero. He was well liked by the other players and cheered by the fans. In 13 Major League seasons, he played for Brooklyn the last 9 while pitching, batting and playing the field. Soon, Foutz would even became a player manager for 4 season before retiring from the game in 1896.

He was as versatile as they come. Foutz could play the outfield, 1st base and pitch a great game. He even had Base Ball smarts. At the ripe age of 26, Foutz was the player manager for the Bay City, MI Base Ball team of the Northwestern League. It was there he was first noticed by the powerful St. Louis Browns (Cardinals) who immediately sought his services. Unfortunately, they discovered that would have to buy the team to get him, so they did just that.

In 1884 he premiered with St. Louis at the age of 27 and became a star on the mound. Dave Foutz started 25 games, winning 15 and losing only 6, that year. The next season he won 35, and bested that with a career plateau of 41 wins in 1886. Inexplicably, he and Bob Caruthers (St. Louis' other star pitcher) was soon sold to Brooklyn for a sum of $13,500.00- a huge sum at the time.

And there he stayed. From 1888 to 1896 he proudly roamed the Eastern Park ball fields for the the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. Suffering from asthmatic conditions Foutz was forced to retire too soon. Then, his life would be cut short a year later. He died in the place he was born, Waverly, Maryland, at the age of 40 in 1897.

Over his career, Foutz batted .276, while stealing 280 bases, and knocking in 750 runs. As a pitcher he won 147 games against just 66 loses. His career ERA was an impressive 2.84. Foutz lead St. Louis in three straight American Association Championships, and the Dodgers to a AA Championship and National League Championship. As Brooklyn's skipper he had a record of 264-257 in 4 seasons.

I note this former Dodger because of a great vintage 1895 Newsboy Cabinet photo card available at Clean Sweep Auctions. This card measures 4.5" x 6.5" and comprises of a sepia toned photograph mounted on cardboard backing. Newsboy produced over 500 cabinet cards of famous people in the 1890's, and only 14 are known to feature Base Ball players. As the name suggest, these cards would typically be glued or nailed onto a cabinet door for fans to admire. Of note, the clarity of the Dave Foutz photo is amazing. This is a rare opportunity to check out a vintage card of a historic figure in Dodgers history.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Some More Topps Previews

Just a few more days. Just a few more days.

The start of the 2012 Baseball collecting season is upon us. This coming Wednesday is Topps Baseball release day. A whole new crop of cards are about to hit the hobby and I can't wait. In anticipation Topps unveiled some more early snapshots of some of the cards that can be found. Check out Beckett as they share some early pics featuring insert cards from 2012 Topps Baseball due out this Wednesday. Below are the Dodgers. Go here to see them all.

Here is a great 1987 Topps design with Andre Ethier.

Home Run Leaders card! Kemp is the last man standing in the National League.

In addition to the 2012 Topps Baseball photos, they also unveiled the below "1 of 1" Topps Tribute autographed card with Cy Young Award inscription via twitter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 1/27/2012

  • The Negro League Baseball Museum Legacy Awards Banquet is this coming Saturday, and as I reported several months ago, both Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are getting awards. Kemp took home the Oscar Charleston (MVP) and Josh Gibson (Home Run Leader) Awards and Kershaw took the Bullet Rogan "Pitcher of the Year" Award. See a press release from the Negro League Baseball Museum, here.
  • "Hiroki Kuroda talks about leaving Dodgers, and why he chose Yankees," via Steve Dilbeck of LA Times.
  • Big League Stew celebrates Steve Sax's 52nd birthday.
  • Will Manny Ramirez be with the A's, via SFGate.
  • "Darth Vader, Meet Frank McCourt," via Through the Fence Baseball.
    You remember when the Dark One, Darth Vader, has a bit of good inside his evil heart and does The Force a solid by sacrificing himself to save his son, Luke Skywalker. Well, after hearing that Frank McCourt had been trying to bring Fielder to Los Angeles for the past couple months, I feel a little differently about him.
  • Likely to be one of the more sought after redemptions in 2012 Topps packs, "1 of 1" solid gold cards will be available. There are 16 of them, and Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson are included. Beckett shares a pic of the Lou Gehrig Gold card.
  • For Baseball historians this is just another place to put on the "must visit one day" list. Cleveland's old League Park is about to get a face-lift, via Cleveland.com.
    The old ballpark, once home of the Cleveland Indians and the 1945 Negro League champion Cleveland Buckeyes, and adjacent parkland will undergo $5 million in renovations, said Ken Silliman, chief of staff for Mayor Frank Jackson. Silliman said work will begin late this spring or in early summer and be finished in about a year.
  • Several LA Kings stars make an appearance on Funny or Die.

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Collection: Garvey INKredibles

With the Dodger auction sale underway, and with Steve Garvey in the hunt as a potential bidder I thought it would be a good time to share this Garvey autograph in my collection. This is a 1999 Upper Deck Retro INKredible autographed card. These are cards are plentiful and can be purchased on eBay for under $10 a piece, if you are patient enough. Over the past month 3 examples have sold at a range of $4.99 to $7.00.

SABR Day on Saturday

I just ran across this, so I thought I would make note of it for everybody. This coming Saturday is the 3rd Annual SABR Day. Regional meetings are being held throughout the country. If you don't know, SABR is the Society for American Baseball Research, and their principal goal is to study the game. Ernie Harwell called it, "the Phi Beta Kappa of baseball, providing scholarship which the sport has long needed. ... An excellent way for all of us to add to our enjoyment of the greatest game."

Anyway, attendance is free for everyone; including non-members. Think of it as an opportunity to see what it is all about. Below is info for a local southland meeting. Go to this link for general information.
Time: 10:15 a.m.
Where: La Habra Library, 221 E. La Habra Blvd., La Habra, CA 90631, (562) 694-0078
Contact: Barry Mednick, bmednick@roadrunner.com
Allan Roth Chapter program: Former Milwaukee Braves All-Star catcher Del Crandall will be joining us for SABR Day at the La Habra Library. High school coach Eddie Alvarez will speak and Eric Dearborn will present photographs of final games at various ballparks. Authors Daryl Grigsby ("Celebrating Ourselves: African-Americans and the Promise of Baseball") and Ron Selter (on .400 hitters) will also speak. As always, beverages will be provided; bring your own lunch. Please advise Barry Mednick (bmednick@adelphia.net) if you wish to make a research presentation.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 Topps Tribute Preview Pic- Ethier Auto

The upcoming Baseball card collecting season is about start. With all of the excitement centered around Topps release of their flagship Baseball card product next week (on Wednesday) they went ahead and released a preview pic, on twitter, of one of their other sets called Topps Tribute. This set should be arriving in stores in just under two weeks. Here is a 1 of 1 Andre Ethier 2012 Topps Tibute card with a nice little inscription.
(pic link: Twitter @Topps)

Close Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Am I the only one who doesn't care that the Dodgers where charging hard to try to sign Prince Fielder?

As reported by Jon Heyman at CBS,
Although they managed to stay under the radar all the while, the Los Angeles Dodgers pushed hard for weeks to try to sign Prince Fielder and thought for a while they might have a legitimate shot at their own secret signing.
Yawn! Sure... it's nice to know the Dodger aren't passively sitting on the sidelines. It was even better imagining a lineup that featured Kemp, Ethier and Fielder. But, based on the numbers released we never really had a chance. From Ken Rosenthal:

As it turned out, the Dodgers recognized that they stood little chance on Fielder nearly a week before he agreed with Detroit. At that point, Boras informed them that were $50 million to $60 million short of an offer that he already had — the offer that turned out to be the Tigers’.

“It didn’t get to the ninth inning. It got to about the sixth inning,” the source said.

You know what? I've changed my mind. After all, I'm a cynic at heart.

This whole thing is starting to sound like a ruse to me. I don't believe that the Dodgers were ever really in the hunt, but were more than willing to throw their name in the ring as a sign that they aren't just sitting on their laurels. On top of that, McCourt could use the positive publicity showing that at least they tried.

Here is what we know. Based on the actions of the team this winter the Dodgers do not have the budgetary flexibility to sign a big name like Fielder.

We know this is true, so why bother imagining that we can. We are better off focusing on the upcoming season with what we have, and the intentions of the future owner once they are selected. Big free agent signings is a luxury we will only experience after McCourt is gone.

Dodgers Squash Giants!

The rivalry never takes a break. Even as Baseball hibernates over the winter the battle between blue and orange, south and north, right and wrong never pauses.

To prove that point, the MLB Network recently premiered a new game show called Baseball IQ. It is
"a recall-based trivia show featuring two participants, 30 minutes and a chance to win up to $45,000 for charity. Questions will cover all things baseball, from current players and managers to World Series champions, MVPs, Cy Young Award winners, Hall of Famers, milestones and more. Participants include front office personnel, equipment managers, scoreboard operators and museum curators. When possible, participants have been matched up opposite club rivals: think Cardinals-Cubs, Red Sox-Yankees, Dodgers-Giants and more."
In the first round of this bracket-styled tournament they pitted the Dodgers against the Giants, and aired it last night. Dodgers Director of Ticket Operations, Seth Bluman, faced off against Giants Manager of Client Relations, Greg Marinec. And I am happy to report that Seth kicked some major Giants Butt. Look at that score. The Giants never had a chance. Even better is the look of dejection and disappointment from the rival. I've got the biggest smile on my face just thinking about it.Anyway, I'm sure it'll be on replays on the MLB Network so go to your local listings to see it, or you can just watch the final inning of play below. BTW, go here for more info on the show.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 1/25/2012

  • Steve Dilbeck should write a horror screenplay. He imagines a scenario where Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, buys the Dodgers, builds a football stadium in Chavez Ravine, and moves the Rams back to LA with McCourt as a part owner. What's scary is that this is a real possibility.
  • Check out this great little parody song made by Joel-Steve Voicedude using a song from "Oliver!" and the Dodgers bidding process as lyrical inspiration. It is called, "Who Will Bid?"

Who Will Bid? [produced by Voicedude] by Joel-Steven Voicedude

  • Bob Daly, who was a managing partner when Fox owned the Dodgers, says

    "When we were going through the process of selling the team, McCourt seemed like an OK guy. I sat down with him and told him people here were under contract, but they've been like a family and so if he wanted to make changes, do so with respect.

    "As everyone knows he didn't, so I told him off. It took five or six more years for a lot of other people to catch up to where I was with him. He did some good things, but inherently he was not a nice guy. He put himself before the Dodgers, and this is a team owned by the fans and the city of Los Angeles."

    Via TJ Simers at LA Times.

  • True Blue LA shares their 2012 Minor League Prospects Countdown. They start it off with #91 to #100.
  • Save the ThunderBug! (Hat Tip: Puck Daddy)
  • Ranker has a list of All-Time Ugliest Athletes, and guess which Dodger is on it.
  • Check out this awesome Star Wars Millennium Falcon guitar, via Musicians Authority.

Weekend Autograph Opportunities

Just to start, please check out the Autograph/ Events Calendar for a large listing of events.

And I want to make a quick comment. Screw those Yankees.

This coming weekend there will be a big card show in New Jersey. If you are in the area go here for details. The show celebrates the Yankees 1977 World Championship that saw Reggie Jackson belt 3 homers in one game against us. Unsurprisingly, they call the show the "Return to Glory" show. Along with a large number of former Yanks in attendance will be several Dodgers. Those special guest include Steve Yeager (who was behind the plate for all 3 Reggie homers), Burt Hooton (who gave up homer #1), Elias Sosa (who gave up homer #2), and Charlie Hough (who gave up homer #3).

35 years later and the Yankees are still rubbing it in.

Now to a Southland event.
First pointed out by Jesse at LA Inspiration, the LA Convention Center will be hosting the 9th Annual Fit Expo this weekend (Sat & Sun). Along with dumbbells, exercise tapes and all the food supplements you could want there will be numerous celebrities on hand to sign autographs. Go here for a complete list. Here is a short list:
  • Mike Tyson; Saturday;
    11:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Intro at the MaxReps Stage
    11:15 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Autos/Photos ($129/$139) Gallery of Legends Booth
  • Tito Ortiz; Saturday;
    Celebrity UFC Fighter
    Owner of Punishment Athletics
  • Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake; Sunday;
    Heavyweight Champion
    10:30-10:45 a.m. Main Stage Q&A
    10:45-12:00 p.m. and
    1:00-2:30 p.m. American ICON Autographs Booth – Autos/Photos (add charge)
  • Josh Saunders; Sat & Sun;
    Goalkeeper US Soccer League- LA Galaxy
  • A handful of LA Temptation Lingerie Football players. You read that right!
  • D’aundre Reed; Sat & Sun;
    Minnesota Vikings; NFL Football Player; Autograph/Meet & Greet with product purchase

  • Chauncey Davis; Sat & Sun;
    Chicago Bears; NFL Football Player; Autograph/Meet & Greet with product purchase

  • Rudy Tomjanovich; sat & Sun;
    Former LA Lakers Coach; Current NBA Scout for the LA Lakers

    Sat. 3:00-5:00 p.m.
    Sun. 10:00-1:00 p.m.

  • Lisa Leslie; Sat & Sun;
    Top WNBA Basketball Player

    Sat. & Sun. 1:30-3:00 p.m.

And this is just a short list. There are a whole bunch of well-known MMA, UFC, fitness, bodybuilding, wrestlers, chefs and nutritionist slated to appear.

Erskine and the Duke Pitch Gillette

Here is another edition of Dodgers Vintage Spokesmen. Back in the day, most players had second jobs during the off-season. After all, a Major League salary could only take you up so high the economic ladder. If you wanted to survive you needed to be like every other American and work all year round. A fortunate few had the opportunity to supplement their income by pitching their fans all kinds of products.

This time I share a couple of newspaper ads featuring Duke Snider and Carl Erskine selling Gillette razors to the masses. Both of these guys were well liked and popular, so it's not surprising they became pitchmen.

Here, Duke Snider remarks, "there's nothing more refreshing than a Gillette shave!" This ad is from 1954.

Also from 1954, Carl Erskine trades in his feats on the field for a chance to earn a little on the side.
"Carl Erskine of the Brooklyn Dodgers won his place among Baseball's immortals on October 3, 1953, in the third game of the World Series. He fanned 14 Yankees including two ninth-inning pinch hitters to set a new strike-out record for the Fall Classic!"
I think the artwork on these kinds of collectibles are overlooked. As time goes on they tend to fade from the memories of fans everywhere.

Dodgers Pride Night with the Kings

Once again the Kings celebrate the upcoming Baseball season by honoring the local team. In a few weeks they will be holding Dodgers Pride Night as they face off against the Phoenix Coyotes on February 16. Go here for more information.

A special Dodgers hockey puck will be given out, but only to those folks who buy tickets through a special discount plan for this specific game. I will note that not everyone in attendance will get a puck. Only those fans who get tickets through their ticket deal for the game get the puck. I believe the promo offer code is "Dodgers."

For a season ticket holder like me, I'll have to look forward to whoever shows up for the Dodgers since I would not be eligible. Last year, Billy Ashley came out to sign autographs as Don Mattingly dropped the opening puck. See my report from last year, here.

UPDATE: Thanks to Enrique Esqueda for providing a pic of last years Dodgers puck.

Collection: Fans of the Game Shalit

Following up on a post from last week, here is another Donruss 'Fans of the Game' autographed card in my collection. It features 'The Today Show' critic Gene Shalit. He looks awfully goofy with that grandma quilt-style bow tie and giant Afro, but you gotta love that handlebar mustache.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 1/24/2012 - Bidders Edition

Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson being elected to the Hall of Fame. (pic via @Dodgers twitter)

Dodger Bidding News:
  • Forbes says that the minimum price is set at $1.5Billion.
    A person familiar with the bidding says that given the initial offers being reviewed by Blackstone, the team’s investment bank, owner Frank McCourt will be able set a minimum price of $1.5 billion for the next round.
  • Steve Dilbeck expands further, noting that cable companies are driving up the price. Leo Hinder, founder of the YES Network, is in on the bidding.
  • Bill Shaikin notes that the Dodgers received more than 10 bids on the opening day of bidding.
  • The Wall Street Journal puts together a brief report on the Dodger bidders.
  • Tony Jackson notes that there are only 2 confirmed bidders, so far. He also indicates that various groups may be joining forces.
  • CBS Sports also discusses bidders merging as one.
  • True Blue LA lays down the odds- derby style.
  • Santa Barabara Independent reports on the offer from Tom Barrack.
    Part-time Santa Barbaran Tom Barrack, billionaire owner of Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch, is reportedly one of the top bidders for the L.A. Dodgers.
  • Tucson Citizen does a great review of several Dodger bidders and their qualifications.

Other News:

  • The Baseball Professor ask, where does Dee Gordon rank amongst SS?
  • Andre Ethier has some "unfinished business." via ESPN.
  • Check out some great pics from the Supercross Series race at Dodger Stadium last weekend, via Geico Honda.
  • High Heat Stats has a list of 50 of the most over-rated hitters in Baseball history. There are some Dodgers on this list, as well as many Hall of Famers.
  • The collector in me says kudos. Guy collects all 1,850 PlayStation 2 game, leaves them sealed, via Oddity Central.
  • Check out this 1860 painting of American boxer John Heenan painted right after a 42 round bare-knuckles fight, via The Telegraph.

Grey Flannel Auctions: A Hershiser Beauty

I think it's fair to call this Grey Flannel Week. Not only is the premier of their new reality show starting tonight, but they just opened up their Winter Classic Auction. BTW, if you want more info on the tv show check out their page at the Discovery Channel.

There is really only one item that I find worthy of sharing here. It use to belong to the 'Bulldog' himself, and celebrates a great ending to a wonderful year.

Below is Orel Hershiser's "Babe Ruth Award" given to him after his performance in the 1988 World Series. He pitched 2 complete games, striking out 17 while allowing just 2 runs. Heck, he even punished the A's with his bat. In the one Dodger home game he pitched against Oakland he went 3 for 3, with 2 doubles and a RBI. For his accomplishments that postseason he was named the World Series MVP. This is the actual award given to him and was provided directly by the Bulldog himself to Grey Flannel.

If there is any justice, this should garner the same kind of excitement the Kirk Gibson 1988 memorabilia items caused two years ago.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 1/23/2012

Here is a photo from Jon SooHoo's Dodger website featuring several old-time Dodgers at a fantasy camp in the late 80's in Vero Beach. Look real close. Someone doesn't fit.
  • Tom Seaver, born to be a Dodger? Via Mike Silva's NY Baseball Digest.
    “He was born to be a Dodger,” Travers said. “Born and raised in California, went to USC, had season tickets to Dodger games because his uncle has season tickets in Los Angeles, and he would use them every fourth and fifth day to see Koufax and Drysdale.”
  • The Baseball Professor puts together a player profile on Andre Ethier.
  • Bill Shaikin has a helpful list of 15 Dodger bidders. As you probably know, bids for the Dodgers are due today.
  • Sully Baseball puts together the "All-Born After Jamie Moyer Debut" team- the 25 man roster.
  • The Baseball Diaspora puts together a 2011 Bobblehead All-Americans team.
  • Foul Bunt was at the Orioles Fan Fest and has a full report.
  • Only because I'm a super nerd. Here is Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut. This won a Primetime Emmy in 2010 for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. It was a crowd-source project where the original movie was cut up into 15 second pieces, and fans were asked to film their own interpretation of the segment. Then the editing crew took those fan-made splices and pieced them all together to make one full length version of the movie.

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Willard Mullin's First Published Drawings?

Here is a real treat. In the past I featured school yearbooks from Dodger greats Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson, here and here. Now I have something totally different. I recently ran into a yearbook of a man known more for creating a beloved Dodger icon. Here is a yearbook from noted sports cartoonist Willard Mullin. Better yet, it has several drawings of his within it; possibly his first published works.

Above is his portrait photo with the title "cartoons" underneath. He was on the Senior B Art Staff, and lent his pen to the effort in making a perfect yearbook for his class. Check out several of his drawings below.
Notice the artist signature at the bottom of each drawing. It is very similar to the signature he eventually used as a professional cartoonist.

Kershaw's Cy Young Acceptance Speech

Here is Clayton Kershaw's speech during the Baseball Writers Association of America Dinner on Saturday.

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Since this is somewhat Dodgers related. Here is Ryan Braun's acceptance speech. He thanks several other players; including Matt Kemp.

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Don Newcombe also speaks at the awards dinner to introduce Justin Verlander.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

You Too Can Get a Cy Young

Last night Clayton Kershaw received his 2012 Cy Young Award from the Baseball Writers Association of America. Below is a pic of Kershaw at the podium (Pic Link: @Brianteta on twitter).
(Pic Link: Twitter @Brianteta)

Now fans can get their own Cy Young Award. The Dodger just released a pic of the replica award that will be given to fans at the April 11th game against the Pirates. See the promotional schedule here.
(Pic Link: Twitter @Dodgers)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Transforming Dodger Stadium

Jim Peltz at the LA Times writes about this evenings Monster Energy AMA Supercross series event at Dodgers Stadium. Yesterday, I had shown some twitter pics that were from the stadium showing the track in various stages of completion. See them here. Well, the LA Times article has a time lapse video of its transformation from Baseball field to race track. See it below.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 1/20/2012

Topps just release preview pics of their 2012 Tier One set. It is expected to be released on June 18th. Beckett has the info right here. Above is the Clayton Kershaw autographed card.
  • Clayton Kershaw overload. SoCal Sports Media interviews Clayton at the Barnes & Nobles during his recent book signing (Hat Tip: VSIMH), and here is another story and interview from Ken Gurnick at MLB.
  • Plenty of Dodgers Making the Cut on Bill James’ Top 100 Pitcher’s Duels, via Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness.
  • Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy provides an update on Gary Carter. We're all pulling for ya, Kid.
  • Should founding SI writer Robert Creamer be considered for the Hall of Fame? Via Baseball: Past and Present.
  • This is great news for the card collector. SCD lets us know that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be digitizing the entire collection of Jefferson R. Burdick and making them available for viewing online. Burdick was the founder of the American Card Catalog who donated his collection of over 300,000 cards to the museum. SCD links to an interview with a curator in NY Magazine.
  • Gary Cieradkowski of the Infinite Card Set is featured in this nice ESPN article.
  • This is the hottest photo of Cameron Diaz I have ever seen, via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger...
  • Am I bad man if this video makes me laugh uncontrollably? Check out Sad Packer Fan.
  • Etta James, RIP. From CNN.

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Motorcross Takes Over Dodger Stadium

As I'm sure you already know, Dodger Stadium is no Elysian Field today. It has been stripped bare of its beautiful glow. Gone are the meticulously tended to infield. Gone is the beautiful grass outfield. There is no warning track.

All that is left is what you see below- a giant pile of dirt. This coming Saturday is the 2nd annual AMA Supercross event at Dodger Stadium, and it pains me to see our second home looking like this. I must avert my eyes. Fortunately, the Dodgers crew did a great job of cleaning up the mess last year, so I shouldn't be too worried. I'm sure they know what they're doing.

Anyway, check out the transformation below. All pics taken from various tweets.

(Pic Link: Twitter twmxdotcom)

Softball Major Leaguers

I'm really grasping for straws here. The 2012 Baseball season is still over a couple of months away, and my lack of patience is starting to wear me down. Oh, what can I do to satisfy my Baseball thirst?

I know. I should check out some monumental softball home run by some Major League stars? Naturally. So, check out Raul Mondesi from 2009. He just crushes the ball. I can't help but think that this match up is just not fair.

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Jose Canseco was at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita last year and belts this monster homer to right field, and declares, "it might be as far as a softball might go."

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Now, here is the best softball video out there. It is of a long forgotten exhibition game between, then, current Major Leaguers playing softball. It is from 1991 and features only one inning of play. All I gotta add is that the catchers, Dave Parker and Joe Oliver, are absolutely fearless.

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Collection: Ethier Greatness

Greatness might be an overstatement, but he sure has had moments of brilliance. Remember those walk-off miracles from the past several years? Andre Ethier seems to have a flair for the dramatic. I only wish he could do better against left handed pitching.

This is a 2006 Upper deck Future Stars 'Clear Path to Greatness' autographed card in my collection. It is made of plastic and is slightly transparent.

eBay: Vintage Dodger Snapshots- Some Replacement Players

Sure, it's great to have a chance to enjoy vintage fan taken snapshots of a future Hall of Famer, but those guys tend to be who everyone takes photos of. How about the other fellows? Won't somebody give the role players some love?

Well, featured here are several snapshots of some unheralded Brooklyn Dodgers from the early 1940's.

Below is journeyman backup catcher Herman Franks from 1941. He was hardly a superstar, but became noteworthy nonetheless. Herman started out with the Hollywood Stars, played in Brooklyn from 1940 to 1941, befriended Leo Durocher in the meantime, went away to war for 3.5 years, and came back to became a player manager for the Dodgers AAA team in St. Paul. Then, he decided to get back on the field for the Phillies and Giants before retiring to be the right hand man behind Manager Durocher's Giants. As the story goes, it was Franks who sat in centerfield stealing catcher signs that may have lead to Bobby Thompson's 1951 home run shot.

So, Franks was a traitor, and a cheating SOB. As stated in Wikipedia:
Franks would poke his head into the Brooklyn clubhouse to taunt Furillo that Giant pitchers would throw at his head during that day's game. Furillo, whose hatred for Durocher was so intense that he would engage Durocher in a fistfight in the Giant dugout filled with enemy players, said of the Giants, in Peter Golenbock's book Bums, "They were dirty ballplayers ... They all wanted to be like Durocher, to copy Durocher. That Herman Franks, he was another one."

This is Newt Kimball. He was a right handed relief pitcher for the Dodgers from 1940 to 1943. This photo was taken in September of 1941. Unfortunately, I can't make out where the pic is from.

Larry French casually strolls through the home field of the Boston Braves in July 1942 in the photo below. Of the three players featured here, French had the longest career. He was a starting pitcher for most of his 14 years in the Majors- the last two with Brooklyn in 1941 to 1942. Here is a funny story about Larry from Wikipedia.
With his team leading the Braves 8-0 in the ninth inning, reliever Larry French of the 1933 Pirates figured he could duck out of the bullpen and hit the showers early. Little did he know as he was getting clean that the Braves had rallied to make the score 8-7. When the call came for French to pitch, he didn't even have time to rinse off. He put on his uniform and hustled out to the mound with soap trickling down his neck. He went on to pull off a win.
That would be like Griffey hitting a homer as a pinch hitter that one time he was found in the clubhouse sleeping during a game.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Collection: Billingsley Bowman Rc

An ace you are not, but it don't matter. You're still effective on the mound, save the occasional collapse in the late innings. Over the past six season Chad Billingsley has been a good #3 pitcher, and I think he has the ability to be a step better as his career prolongs. Moment of brilliance are not beyond him. Just don't expect it every time out there. His strike out numbers are a little down, so that's something for him to work on.

This is a 2003 Bowman Chrome autographed rookie card of Billingsley in my collection. It was issued soon after he was drafted in the first round that year.