Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training- Day 8

Dodger fans peering through the fence, via Jon SooHoo/ Los Angeles Dodgers.

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.
(Kemp breaks in on a scouts conference call to say hi, via Twitter @SteveLyons12)
  • ALMOST GAME TIME: The Dodgers completed their second day of full squad workouts this afternoon and all was business as usual. Only four more workouts remain before the first game of the Cactus League campaign on March 5 at 1:05 p.m. against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch - Glendale. The Dodgers’ first home game at Camelback Ranch will be the following day against the San Francisco Giants.

  • YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE: Dodger pitchers were back on the mounds throwing live batting practice today and among those who tossed were Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Ronald Belisario, Jamey Wright, Josh Lindblom, Nathan Eovaldi, Ramon Troncoso, Chris Withrow, Michael Antonini and Josh Wall.

(Photo Credit Jon SooHoo/ Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • BEST OF THE BEST: However, the main attraction today was 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw squaring off with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and James Loney during his live batting practice session. As Kershaw walked off the mound, Adam Kennedy and Mark Ellis arrived at the field, with Kennedy asking the 21-game winner, “Are you throwing?” To which Kershaw replied, “I’m done.” Kennedy waited a half beat and deadpanned, “You’re lucky,” before breaking into a wide smile.


(Kershaw pitching to Kemp, via twitvid @Dodgers)

  • THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL: This morning was the annual Cactus League Breakfast and this year the hosts were none other than the Dodgers, White Sox and Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Hundreds of local politicians, sponsors, civic leaders and baseball folks enjoyed a buffet breakfast and speeches from several team personnel, including Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti, White Sox Vice President, Player Development Buddy Bell and White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone.

  • NON-ROSTER SPOTLIGHT: One catcher has literally stood out among the Dodger backstops and that’s the 6’ 4” California native Gorman “Griff” Erickson. The 24-year-old San Diego resident was selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and hit a combined .293 and set career highs with 13 homers and 66 RBI in 104 games with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga. Erickson was the starting catcher in the California League All-Star Game in 2011.

(Dee Gordon & Andre Ethier during first full squad meeting, via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers)

  • LEAP DAY MADNESS: According to the wonderful people at baseball-reference.com
    , there have been just 11 players in baseball history born on Feb. 29. Of those, only one played for the Dodgers, as
    Ed Appleton pitched for the Brooklyn Robins from 1915-16, going 5-12 with a 3.25 ERA in 48 games (13 starts). The most recent big leaguer who can only celebrate a birthday once every four years is Terrence Long, who played from 1999-2006.
  • SIGN HERE PLEASE: Today was autograph day at Camelback Ranch and the Dodgers signed hundreds of balls, jerseys, photos and bats that will be auctioned off for charity, donated or given away throughout the season.

  • SAY CHEESE: This Friday is photo day at Camelback Ranch – Glendale This year, a bevy of entities will be taking part, including the Associated Press, Getty Images, Dodger radio partner AM 570 Fox Sports Radio, MLB International, MLB Photos, Baseball Magazine Sha, Dodger broadcast partner KCAL 9, Topps and MLB.com.

  • DREAM A LITTLE DREAM: Tomorrow, the Dodgers will hold their annual open tryout here at Camelback Ranch – Glendale, hosted by the amateur scouting department. The tryout will take place from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and potential prospects can call 323-224-1512 for details and instructions.

I Wholeheartedly Disagree

There was an editorial posted last night at the LA Times that had me scratching my head. Check it out here.

It tried to take a reasoned approach to the pending sale of the franchise by asking fans to focus on the operations of the team. That is, we should be hopeful for better management of the organization.
It's important to stay focused on the main issue: to get the team under new, healthier management.
At the same time it acknowledges the negative fan reaction to reports that McCourt is seeking to still own the parking lots- effectively becoming a landlord to the team.
Fans are already grousing that they won't go to the games or park in the lots if McCourt keeps them.
Of course, the writer glosses over this.
For the fans, this shouldn't be about the real estate, it should be about the game.
To this, I say NO!

The writer is mistaken. The fans are thinking about the game when they are desirous of a clean break from the McCourt era. They are thinking about the health of the franchise and the ability of the new owner to field a good team. The fans realize that one cannot go without the other. If the Dodgers are to field a competitive team and win then the owner needs to have full control of all the resources necessary to get that done. And yes, that includes ownership of the parking lots.

Look, I understand what the screams from the True Blue faithful sounds like. As the editorial states:
The goal of the sale is not to punish McCourt but to restore the team's luster.
I agree with this. He's been through enough, but so have we. All we ask for is real change. A change that requires a break from the recent past.

Legendary Auctions: Drysdale and Some Vintage Baseball

This is my third post featuring items from Legendary Auctions and this time I focus on some nice vintage Baseball memorabilia, but before I go there I wanted to point to one last Dodger related item that I failed to mention previously. Below is a 1960 Don Drysdale game-used jersey. Museum worthy, no doubt.

Now, on to some vintage Baseball collectibles. In the late 19th Century there are only a handful of cards that feature women playing the national game. Below is one of those items. It is a large cabinet card (measuring 5" x 7.5") and is designated as H807-2 Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine. This was produced in 1884 and features a women in a very unusual uniform. She is wearing a bib style jersey with bloomer pants emblazoned with polka dots throughout. It is doubtful that she was an actual player, but is likely a model hired to sell cigarettes to the adoring Base Ball public.

This pin features Old Hoss Radbourn. He is known as one of the more vile, pugnacious and rude ballplayers to every play the game. His wild nature is legendary. In fact, he is credited with being the first person ever photographed giving the "bird" (middle finger). This pin is 4" in diameter and was produced in his hometown of Bloomington, Illinois in tribute to Radbourn's death in 1897. It dates to 1898 and is thought to be the only example to still exist.

Take a gander at one of the pioneers of Base Ball. This is a 1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinet of Harry Wright. From the auction description:
For many folks, talk of the "Wright Brothers" conjures images of Wilbur, Orville, Kitty Hawk and a biplane. But baseball history buffs know better. Harry and George Wright were nationally famous decades before aviation came along! The elder Harry managed George and the other trailblazing 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, then took his powerhouse team to Boston and captured four straight National Association titles. By the time of this stately Old Judge portrait, Harry Wright was five campaigns into a 12-year managerial tenure with the lowly Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies—a franchise perennially hamstrung by miserly ownership. The crowning achievement of Wright’s leadership was the mid-1880s implementation of an innovative "southern trip" for preseason warm-weather conditioning. Soon every team hopped on the annual bandwagon of spring training. Wright’s career came to an end in 1893. He died in October of 1895 and received long-overdue enshrinment in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

Collection: Carl Erskine GOTG

Here is my 2001 Fleer "Greats of the Game" autographed card of Dodger legend Carl Erskine.

Here is something I didn't know about Erskine until I checked out his website recently:
Earned his nickname “Oisk” from Brooklyn fans who called him “Cal Oyskin” in their “Brooklynese” accents; last name eventually shortened to “Oisk” when yelled from the stands of Ebbets Field, the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

2012 Topps Baseball- Sandy Koufax Golden Greats Set

Here are the 2012 Topps Sandy Koufax Golden Greats set of five cards. As always, click any pic to enbiggen.Click on any pic to embiggen.


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