Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog Kiosk: 2/22/2012- Dodgers Stadium Anthem Auditions

Do you think you can sing the anthem? Well, the Dodgers are holding open auditions for anyone who wants to sing the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. Go here for details. It will be held on March 31st at Dodgers Stadium.
  • Dylan lets us know how Rubby De La Rosa is doing.
  • Ronald Belisario comes clean. He was stuck in Venezuela last year because he tested positive for cocaine, via Dylan at the LA Times.
  • Matthew Pouliot at Hardball Talk thinks Matt Kemp should bat fourth.
    How can it be a good idea to stick maybe the NL’s best RBI guy immediately behind Gordon and Ellis? Gordon had a .325 OBP in 224 at-bats after arriving in the majors last season. Ellis came in at .288 in 480 at-bats with the A’s and Rockies.
  • The Bellingham Herald reports on Kemp's Lofty Goals.

    Kemp reiterated his previously stated goal of becoming the first player in major league history to hit 50 home runs and steal 50 bases in the same season. He said he also wants to win the most-valuable-player award.

    "You have to set your limits even higher than you want them to be," said Kemp, who last year finished a home run short of becoming baseball's fifth 40-40 player.

    Read more here:
  • Stan Kroenke makes some moves that stand to benefit his Dodger bid, via ProFootballTalk NBC.
  • A couple of California brothers inherit a $2Mil collection of vintage comic books, via Detroit Free Press.
    Rorrer, 31, of Oxnard, Calif., discovered his great uncle Billy Wright's comics neatly stacked in a basement closet while helping clear out his great aunt's Martinsville, Va., home a few months after her death. He said he thought they were cool but didn't realize until months later how valuable they were.
  • Here is another rare memorabilia find. A Michigan family finds a stash of rare 19th Century football cards in a farmhouse worth thousands, via Beckett.
  • Check out Yu Darvish throwing left handed, via Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News.
    In the photo, Darvish is throwing left-handed and has his right-hand awkwardly shoved into his glove. It's not a misprint or an experiment and Darvish isn't fooling around. He occasionally plays catch left-handed to keep both of his arms strong and, therefore, equally balanced. It is one of the unique elements Darvish includes in his training.

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training- Day 1

Maury Wills signs for fans at Camelback. (pic via twitter @Dodgers)

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR departments sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.
  • SPRING FLING: Pitchers and catchers took the field for their first official workout this morning as the Dodgers opened their fourth Spring Training at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. All but one of the 33 pitchers (12 non-roster and 1 Restricted List) and all six catchers (three non-roster) reported yesterday. While many position players are already in camp, the full squad does not officially report until February 27 with the first full-squad workout on the following day.

  • THE NEWEST DODGER: Ted Lilly is the only member of the Dodgers’ battery yet to report to Spring Training and congratulations are in order for him and his wife, Natasha, on the birth of their second child yesterday! The newest member of the Dodger family is Nora Grace Lilly, weighing in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.

Dodgers pitchers lining up for their throwing sessions. (pic via twitter @Dodgers)

  • LET’S PLAY CATCH: 12 Dodger pitchers took the mound today for their first bullpens of spring including free agent acquisition Aaron Harang. The 10-year Major League veteran led San Diego with 14 wins last season, going 14-7 with a career-low 3.64 ERA in 28 starts in 2011. Chad Billingsley joined young guns Nathan Eovaldi, Josh Lindblom, Michael Antonini and Chris Withrow on the hill in addition to non-roster hopefuls Jamey Wright, Wilfredo Ledezma, Ryan Tucker, Angel Guzman and Scott Rice.

  • DROP THE KER-TAIN: Yesterday, Manager Don Mattingly announced that 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will make his second consecutive Opening Day start for the Dodgers on April 5 at San Diego. Kershaw will become the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to make an Opening Day start for Los Angeles since Sandy Koufax in 1964 and the first Dodger to make consecutive starts in the season opener since Derek Lowe from 2005-07.

  • BOOMER SOONER: Steve Yeager worked with the Dodger catchers this morning in his first day in his new role as the club’s catching instructor. Yeager, who was teammates with current Dodger coaches Davey Lopes, Rick Honeycutt, Ken Howell and Manny Mota and broadcaster Rick Monday, will work with the team’s catchers at Spring Training and during home games during the regular season. He will also serve as a special-assignment catching instructor for the minor leaguers when the Dodgers are on the road.

  • TROLLEY DODGERS: New for 2012, fans can ride a free trolley from the Westgate City Center to all Dodgers and White Sox games at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The trolley stop is located on Westgate Boulevard right across from Yard House and drops off outside the ballpark. The trolley runs every 40 minutes starting at 11:00 a.m. with continuous service throughout and after the game.

Candy & Golf

With Spring Training in full swing expect every sports memorabilia auction house to begin the new season with a bang. The bigger more established firms are ready to go, and I will certainly feature them in future post. This time, though, I wanted to start by pointing to a couple of smaller houses that had some Dodgers items I found interesting.

Below is a vintage circa 1950's candy dish featuring the Brooklyn Dodgers "Bum" on the cover. It is being offered by Inside the Park Collectibles, who I have previously featured as a knowledgeable seller of sports ceramics and bobbleheads. Of note, I am familiar with the design, but this is the first time I've seen it on this kind of item.

This is something I have never seen before, and I am uncertain as to its origin. It is being sold through Paragon Auctions. As you can see, it is a vintage golf ball made to look like a Baseball. The red seams are fading a bit, and it features the Dodger logo with Pee Wee Reese's #1 emblazoned on it. Did this once belong to Pee Wee only to be lost one sunny afternoon in the rough? Who knows?

Collection: Beltre Bowman Auto

If I'm not mistaken, I think this is a rookie card for Adrian Beltre. This is a 1998 Bowman autographed card of Beltre in my collection.

Adrian Beltre came to us in a fairly unexpected way. He was signed by the Dodgers as a 130 pound 15 year old out of Campo Las Palmas at the Dodgers Santo Domingo Baseball academy in 1994. As you probably realize, that is too young to sign a MLB contract. In fact, when MLB found out about our indiscretion they immediately suspended our Dominican operations for one year. Nevertheless, Beltre stayed with the franchise and would soon become our everyday third baseman.

In 1998 Adrian entering his first year in Dodger Blue, and if I remember correctly he wowed the fans with his glove and showed some promise with his bat. He had belted 7 home runs in under 200 at-bats. As time would tell, he was better than good on defense, but always fell a little short of our offensive expectations.

Then, 2004 came and the all important contract year was at hand. Could he finally break out and become the superstar we all had envisioned?

Well, the short answer is yes, but that year would prove to be a career year for Beltre. He slammed a league leading 48 home runs with 121 RBI's and a .334 batting average. His efforts would lead us to a NL West title and a second place showing for himself in the MVP awards race. Then, he would spend the following winter chasing dollar signs. The Seattle Mariners came calling, and our dreams of having an All-Star caliber mainstay at third base was over.

Wow! Watch Kershaw's Perfect Game from High School!

Watch a superstar in the making. A couple of days ago a video popped up on YouTube featuring Clayton Kershaw's perfect game from May 19, 2006 as a member of the Highland Park Scots. It was during the Texas High School 4A State Playoff game versus Northwest. Kershaw was a senior, and he absolutely dominated. He struck out everyone he faced and even hit a home run. UPDATE: Just to note. The game ended after only 5 innings- presumably due to a mercy rule.

Video Link: