Friday, May 31, 2013

Welcome to the Dodgers Roster, Peter Moylan

After being sent to Albuquerque to begin the season, free agent signee Peter Moylan finally joins the Dodgers relief corps.  As you may recall, Moylan signed a minor league contract with the team in February.  In exchange, Javy Guerra gets sent back down.  Per the Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of right-handed reliever Peter Moylan (#41) from Triple-A Albuquerque after optioning right-hander Javy Guerra to Albuquerque following last night's game. To make room on the 40-man roster, the club transferred left-hander Scott Elbert to the 60-day disabled list.

Moylan last pitched on Tuesday at Memphis, striking out one in a scoreless inning, and is 2-1 with two saves and a 3.52 ERA in 17 appearances with the Isotopes this season. Moylan, 34, posted a 1.80 ERA in eight games with the Braves last year and is 20-9 with four saves and a 2.59 ERA in 295 career relief appearances all with Atlanta from 2006-2012.

Guerra made nine relief appearances with the Dodgers after his recall on April 30, posting a 6.75 ERA (8 ER/10.2 IP).
Check out my previous post from February that focused on the incredible tattoo artwork that he has, here.  BTW, the pic above is a fantasy card I made of Moylan back in February.

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Manny Mota Says "Get a Grip"

OK... I admit it.  The title to this post is entirely misleading.  But, what the heck, eh?  If I want to make the big bucks from this blog I gotta find some way to make you click.  After all, I could really used that 1/100 of 1 cent I theoretically make from Google Ads.

Featured in this post is something I've never seen before.  It is a vintage tube of Manny Mota Grip Aid that comes in a cylindrical tube and is emblazoned with the smiling mug of our favorite pinch hitter.

This stuff is very similar to pine tar.  In fact, it's a great alternative to that messy stuff.  It is reusable, won't stain your uniform, and will allow you to get a stronger and firmer grip on the bat.  As I'm sure you know, this product still exist on store shelves today.  In fact, numerous companies sell what looks like a re-branded version of this product called "Manny Mota Grip Tape".

BTW, the grip tape featured in this post was produced by Manny Mota Enterprises.  Unfortunately, I do not know the date when this particular item was manufactured.
(Auction Link)

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Dodger Correspondence: Gino Cimoli Says, "I Want to Play" to Buzzie Bavasi

The above 1958 Topps Gino Cimoli card is one of the all-time great cardboard blunders.  As you can see, Topps colored out the background to a bright yellow, but at the same time removed the bat that he was no doubt swinging.  So, as a consequence he looks mighty weird in that pose.

Gino Cimoli was a Bay Area born outfielder who signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949.  He slowly moved up the ranks and impressed in AAA, but stalled as more seasoned pro's filled out the roster in Brooklyn.  Names like Snider, Amoros, Furillo, Shuba and Gilliam blocked his progress.

Soon, though he could not be stopped.  He finally made his first Major League appearance in 1956, and although his numbers were not great he was undaunted.  He wanted to play, and didn't care where.

Per a letter I ran into on eBay, check out what Gino wrote to Dodgers GM Buzzie Bavasi in February of 1957.
Dear Buzzie, Enclosed is my contact. Please send my copy back to my home address. My family will not be accompany-ing me to Vero Beach or Miami this year. I am enplaning for Vero Saturday and will arrive Sunday night in Camp. Had planned on writing a few of my ideas to you but decided to wait and do it when I see you in person. - Just a little forewarning - Haven't changed my mind since you last threw me out of your office. - New year but same old idea - I want to play - whether it be in Flatbush or elsewhere!! See you in Vero, Gino."
Play me or trade me is what he said.  As history tells us, Cimoli did stay on with the Dodgers and got regular playing time in the outfield during the 1957 season.  In fact, he had a career year.  Gino batted .293 and slugged 10 home runs.  He also made his only appearance in the All-Star Game that season.

Unfortunately, his star would soon fade for the Dodgers.  Cimoli was traded to St. Louis in 1958 for Wally Moon.  And as they say, the rest is history.

BTW, Gino Cimoli is the answer to a great trivia question.  He was the very first player to go to bat in a West Coast Major League game.
(Auction Link)

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Blog Kiosk: 5/31/2013 - Dodgers Links - AJ & Beckett are Down, Manny Celebrates his 41st

Here is Don Sutton with his Dodger bobblehead that will be given out this coming Thursday, June 6th at Dodger Stadium, pic via @Dodgers on twitter.
“The frustrating thing is that I don’t have pain,” Beckett said. “I’m dealing with ineffectiveness and numbness where I can’t actually feel the baseball.”
  • The Sons of Steve Garvey puts together a nice article for Big League Stew.  It's a local's guide to enjoying Dodger Stadium.
  • I missed this last week.  Topps was in Hollywood and shared a pic on twitter to prove it.  Check it out below.  They brought along some 2013 Big League Mini figurines.
(twitter link)
  • This is the craziest trade proposal I have ever read.  Via Bob Verdi at the Daily Herald, we find out that former Kings and Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke once proposed trading Wilt Chamberlain to the Bulls in exchange for Bobby Hull of the Blackhawks.
  • Sometimes I miss the infectious smile of Manny Ramirez.  Check out what his teammates in Taiwan did to celebrate his 41st birthday yesterday in the video below.

Video Link:

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kemp to DL as Expected - Dodgers Fool Us All with Who Gets Called Up

Ever since Matt Kemp came out of the last night's game due to a hamstring strain the internet has been buzzing with prognostications predicting the eventual call-up of either Joc Pederson or Yasiel Puig to Los Angeles.  It seemed like the entire chatting masses were certain of this event. 

Well, the Dodgers just threw everyone a curveball.  Announced just a moment ago, Matt Kemp is indeed being sent to the 15-Day Disabled List, and in his stead will be Tim Federowicz.  Via the Dodgers Press Release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today placed outfielder Matt Kemp on the 15-day disabled list with a mild right hamstring strain and recalled catcher Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque. Federowicz, who is in his fourth stint with the Dodgers this season, was batting .418 with eight doubles, a triple, eight homers and 25 RBI in 21 games with the Isotopes. With Albuquerque, the 25-year-old posted a 1.348 OPS (.500 on-base percentage, .848 slugging percentage) and batted .417 (10-for-24) with runners in scoring position. Federowicz has gone 3-for-17 (.176) in 10 big league games this season.
How's that, folks?  The Dodgers obviously don't care what we want. 

I jest, of course.  It's just kinda exciting to know we have a couple of kids in the minors who have a chance to be really good, and I can be a very impatient man.

BTW, the same press release indicates that Stephen Fife is now off the DL, and has been sent to Albuquerque.
The Dodgers also reinstated right-hander Stephen Fife from the 15-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. Fife made 70 pitches in a rehab start on Tuesday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in 4.0 innings, while walking one and striking out three in a loss. He made his only start for the Dodgers on April 21 at Baltimore before retroactively going on the DL the next day with right shoulder bursitis. In three starts for the Isotopes this season, Fife has gone 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA.
Something tells me that we haven't seen the last of him.

Pic Credit Above: Jon SooHoo / LA Dodgers 2013.

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Blog Kiosk: 5/30/2013 - Some Dodgers Links - Kemp Down, Fernando In & Hanley Soon to Return

Matt Kemp in New York City?  This photo was shared by the @Dodgers on twitter as a part of their #LATakeover event.
  • Dodgers cable contract may not be as lucrative as originally thought, via Josh Kosman at the NY Post.  I seriously doubt this increase in revenue sharing monies the Dodgers will have to pay will hamper their ability to service debt.
The new owners of the LA Dodgers are being forced to rework their pending $7 billion, 25-year media rights deal with Time Warner Cable, three sources close to the situation said.

The new deal could end up seeing the unit, Guggenheim Baseball Management, fork over $130 million a year to Major League Baseball under its revenue-sharing agreement, these sources said.

That’s more than 50 percent higher than the $85 million Guggenheim had expected to pay. GBM anticipated that MLB would continue a 2011 Dodgers revenue-sharing agreement rather than adopt the current arrangement.
(twitter link)
Ramirez will play in minor-league rehab games starting Friday before re-joining the Dodgers, probably on Tuesday.

"To me, Hanley has looked really good. In spring, he was hitting a lot of balls the other way, he had a simpler leg kick and wasn't near as big," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's hard to know really what to expect because he essentially hasn't played since spring training. I know how good Hanley is." 
  • Chris Olds at Beckett gives us an early peek at Topps 2013 Bowman Sterling cards.  Check out the Puig and Ryu cards below.  This set is coming out on December 18th.
Back in 1981 there was a collectors shop in my home town. They played 1940s music and had wall to wall collectibles. Mostly stuff like old magazines, 78 records and WWII things. They did dabble in cards though.
I picked up about 2 dozen '33 Goudeys from them over about 4 or 5 months. But Because I was impatient And decided to go for quantity I bypassed quality. I missed the opportunity to buy a 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig for $100.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: An NBA Weekend!

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


BTW, Paul LoDuca was scheduled to appear this Saturday at Harry's Dugout.  Unfortunately, that personal appearance has been rescheduled for the next month, Saturday, July 20th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.  Apparently, Pauly is stepping up his game.  He has been hired to do a ESPN broadcast of a UCLA game that afternoon.  I believe it's related to either the men's or women's collegiate Baseball/Softball playoffs, but I'm not entirely sure.

Good luck, Pauly!  Maybe we'll see you in the booth at Dodger Stadium one of these days.


There are several great blogs that devote much of their time to the art of autograph collecting.  Oftentimes, they share their hobby by showing fans who they were able to get.  The best part, though is that they are willing to give tips about an upcoming event that may not be well known to others.  One great site that does this on a fairly consistent basis is Jesse at LA Inspiration.  Check out his site here.

Well, a few days ago he pointed to a NBA event that looks like a great time.  It is called NBA Nation and it's the League’s traveling interactive basketball experience.  This weekend it will be at the Universal Citywalk; on Sat. and Sun. from noon to 8:00 PM each day.  BTW, it's FREE!  If you're in the area it might be worth a visit.  Go here for details.
Universal Citywalk
100 Universal City Plaza 
Universal City, CA
Here are the players and some events you should expect to see: (I do not know if the players will be signing autographs)
6/1 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Darren Collison
6/1 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Klay Thompson
6/1 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm
NBA Legend Darryl Dawkins
6/1 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
L.A. ClipPercussion 
6/1 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Clippers Spirit Dance Team
6/1 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Power 106 All-Star Game

6/2 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Laker Girls

6/2 - 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Darryl Dawkins

Hat Tip: LA Inspiration

Here is a photo of what you should expect to see.
  • Check out the Sprint Unlimited NBA Experience. Test your skills in Kevin Durant’s Unlimited Free Throw Competition and Steve Nash’s Fast Break Challenge. Fans can enter to win a new Sprint phone, take home free prizes, and check out the latest phones and offers from Sprint.
  • NBA Nation’s Center Court is home to a variety of contests and clinics with NBA and WNBA Players and Legends, as well as special appearances and performances by NBA Team mascots and dance teams.
  • Are you the best amateur dunker? Enter the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown in your city to prove it! You could win $2,500 and the chance to compete in the Championship event to win $10,000.*
  • Visit the Dribble to Stop Diabetes tent and participate in a pop-a-shot challenge and fun photo op. You will have a chance to win exclusive prizes while learning more about how to help stop diabetes. Dribble to Stop Diabetes is a partnership between the NBA, Sanofi US and the American Diabetes Association.
  • Step on board our 18-wheel, 53’ show truck, where you can play the latest NBA video games or take your photo inside the NBA Nation Locker Room.
  • Grab an NBA Nation Passport, visit the different basketball activities and partner areas and receive a stamp for each activity completed. Complete your passport, become an NBA Nation “citizen” and receive a special prize!

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Yo Dodger Blue (LA Loves You) by Harry Nilsson - A Dodger Song

It just came to my attention, via a tweet from Craig Robinson, that the legendary singer/song writer Harry Nilsson wrote a Dodger song.  It's called "Yo Dodger Blue (LA Loves You)" and is thought to have been originally recorded in 1990. This song was previously unreleased.

Unfortunately, I  was unable to embed the recording here, so check out the website "For the Love of Harry Nilsson" to check it out.  Go Here.  I guarantee you'll like it.  It's a simple and easy song to sing along to.

As you may know, Nilsson attained commercial success in the early '70's and won 2 Grammy's in his career; including a Grammy for the lead song in the movie Midnight Cowboy.  BTW, Nilsson was born in Brooklyn and eventually traveled west to Los Angeles, just like the team.

Again, checkout the Dodger song, here.

UPDATE:  I guess I should have check youtube first, eh?  Well, below is the song Yo Dodger Blue for your listening pleasure.

Video Link:

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Blog Kiosk: 5/29/2013 Some Dodgers Links

Check out this great photo shares by Sports Illustrated. Sandy Amoros (15), Don Bessent (46), Don Newcombe, Duke Snider (4) and a bottle of beer celebrate in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ locker room after beating Pittsburgh in Sept. 1956. ( John G. Zimmerman/SI)
When it comes to what Urias throws, he's a precocious talent, showing three pitches that have a chance at being plus. Prior to being signed, Urias threw an upper 80s to lower 90s fastball, and a change up that projected as plus as well. His curve would flash plus but was fairly inconsistent. At only six feet tall and a...mature build (you'll see) there might not be a ton of projection left in regards to the fastball.
  • Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times lets us know that soccer will be played at Dodger Stadium in August.  In my opinion, it's not as cool as the hockey game that will be played months later.  Still, you gotta like how they are expanding the use of our second home.  BTW, Real Madrid will be playing in a game.  They tell me they are a good team.
  • Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk makes note of Mark Walter's hands-off approach to ownership.  I'll add that anyone who actually wanted Magic Johnson to be actively involved with the team is nuts.
  • MLB FanCave shares a pic of a 1955 Jackie Robinson cap that was on display at a New Era Cap event, via their twitter.

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    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    It's Game 7 - This is What Playoff Hockey is All About

    Oh, boy!

    Tonight figures on being either something special or one of the worse evenings of my life.

    Tonight, the Kings and San Jose Sharks face each other in a Game 7 match-up to decide who gets to play on and who gets to hit the links.  So far, it has been a series that has seen the home team win every game.  So, by that standard the Kings should come away with a victory.  But this is a Game 7, and as anyone knows that kind of logic doesn't hold water.  At times, one team would dominate while the other held on, and I think it's fair to say that either team could have won on opposing ice.  That being said, I think this has been a very evenly matched affair, and I suspect both teams will leave everything they've got on the ice tonight.

    I'll be in my usual seat up in the nose-bleed, die-hard section of the arena.  I'll be sitting with some of the greatest group of fans you could imagine.  We'll be rooting and screaming, yelling and cheering, clapping and stomping in hopes of willing the Kings to victory.

    Go Kings Go!

    BTW, the game will on at 6PM, so be forewarned.

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    Monday, May 27, 2013

    Blog Kiosk: 5/27/2013 - Some Dodger Links

    Here is Buzz Aldrin and Vin Scully on Memorial Day at Dodger Stadium, pic via @Dodgers twitter.  See more pics from the day over at Jon SooHoo's Photog Blog, here.
    "The groin has been good, but the arm has been bad," said manager Don Mattingly before Monday night's game against the Angels. "He's still feeling numbness and tenderness in his fingers."
    Kemp hasn’t whined or complained, but Mattingly told Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times “He’s frustrated. The biggest thing we want to do with Matt is to try to keep the bat in the strike zone longer…when he’s going good he’s driving the ball to center, to right-center…I notice he’s cutting his swing off…if he’s top-spinning in left and left-center field, it tells me he’s getting extension to a certain point and he’s coming off just a little bit.”
    (twitter link)

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    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    Some Vintage Dodgers Photographs

    Following up on my post from the other day featuring some great photos available through HYEE Auction, here are some great Dodgers photographs to take a look at.

    Here's a vintage color transparency of Jim Gilliam.
    (Auction Link)

    Check out this color transparency of Frank Howard sliding hard at home at Dodger Stadium.
    (Auction Link)

    Here's a 1963 color transparency of the great Sandy Koufax.  This photo was taken during the 1963 World Series in Yankee Stadium by Marvin Newman.
    (Auction Link)

    Below is a 1955 International News Press photo of Jackie Robinson making a play at 3rd base.
    (Auction Link)

    Roy Campanella looks a bit bewildered in the 1955 International News Press photo below.  It looks to me like he got a high, hard one.
    (Auction Link)

    I love this silhouetted photo of former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley
    (Auction Link)

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    Blog Kiosk: 5/26/2013

    Jaime Jarrin and family, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2013.
    • Via Lyle Spencer at, "Mattingly's Dodgers need to start sharing his values: LA skipper preaches respect, hard work as club disappoints in early going"
    "Respect to the game, teammates, the organization, fans," Mattingly said, expanding on his baseball beliefs. "It's all about respect -- how we play.

    "What do I think of the experience of going through all this? It hasn't been that bad, honestly. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what goes on.
    “Man, I was just frustrated,” Kemp said. “It had been a bad day for me. I really didn’t do much to help the team win. It is what it is. It’s over now.”

    Kemp denied he was yelling directly at Mattingly.

    “I was just shouting,” he said.
    In between playing baseball, Snider's main duty on the USS Sperry was dishwashing detail. "There was a porthole behind the sink and any time we came across a chipped glass or dish that wouldn't come clean in less than a second we fired the sucker into the Pacific Ocean."
    “They wanted to make a big splash with the new ownership,” said an American League executive. “They wanted to show their fans they were going to spend the money and put what they thought was the best team on the field money could buy. Well, not so much. You can win with All-Star teams. The Yankees have won with one. But the mix has to be right.”

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    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Mattingly Doesn't Appear to be Going Anywhere and the Case of the Petulant Child

    After a media firestorm that had prognosticators predicting the imminent firing of Don Mattingly as soon as today, I think it's fair to say that this ain't going to be happening any time soon.  As reported throughout the day, Dodgers team management is supportive of Mattingly.  Via Jayson Stark at ESPN:
    When Dodgers manager Don Mattingly abruptly criticized the lack of fight and competitiveness on his team's "All-Star" roster Wednesday morning, he wasn't aiming that critique at the front office, despite widespread assumptions to the contrary, sources said.

    In fact, general manager Ned Colletti agreed on Mattingly's sentiments, sources told ESPN. And multiple sources say Mattingly is in no imminent danger of being fired.
    I wasn't on the side that believed Mattingly was on the chopping block.  Nor did I believe that he was actually criticizing management.  I just thought that Mattingly was making the point that management put together a team of All-Stars in order to win, and it's on the players to deliver on that promise. In fact, he had said as much.
    "All grit and no talent isn't going to make you successful. But all talent and not grit isn't going to get you there either."
    You see, the former is a certain loser, but we have a team with talent.  Therefore, it's on the players to provide the grit in order to win.

    As for Andre Ethier, I really wish he would stop being a baby, and stick to putting his head down and playing ball.  As reported today by Mark Saxon on twitter.
    (twitter link)

    As I wrote the other day, Andre shouldn't have taken anything Mattingly said personally.  He needs to look at it as an opportunity to get better.

    In fact, I'll quote Stealing Home at All Trade Bait, All the Time who made this same point in a much more articulate manner last night.
    Mattingly didn't bench Ethier because he doesn't have any fire, it's because Andre internalizes and misdirects it.  All athletes feel the emotion of the game; it's how they handle it that separates the great ones from the Milton Bradleys.
    So, Andre... time to "man up".  You are owed no explanation.  Heck, I'm certain he's been spoken to about this kind of thing before.  In fact, Mattingly confirms that they spoke about it before the game on Wednesday.  Via David Vassegh on twitter:

    (twitter link)

    So wait a minute, here.  Considering this, isn't it clear that he hasn't yet been able to process the criticism in a manner that would provide beneficial results if he's still "stung" by it today.

    Folks, we have a problem here.

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    Some Awesome Vintage Baseball Photographs

    I am often astounded by the quality of memorabilia that is found on eBay and sold by HYEE Auctions.  They are definitely not your run of the mill eBay seller.  For this holiday weekend they have a huge collection of vintage photographs and original negatives for sale and I thought I would take moment to highlight some of my favorites.  I suggest taking a moment or two to check out everything they've got before they close because I think the Baseball fan in you will be very happy.

    Check out the great Christy Mathewson in this 1922 Underwood & Underwood press photo as he peers through a sheet of Christmas Seals Stamps.  Mathewson was the Hall of Fame ace of the NY Giants staff and was nicknamed "The Christian Gentleman".
    (Auction Link)

    HYEE Auctions also has a large group of original negatives originally taken by famed Baseball photographer George Burke.  Below, Lou Gehrig sits with a young girl who hopes to get his signature on a ball.  According to the auction description, Gehrig visited Comisky Park in Chicago in 1934 as part of a marketing campaign set up by Goudey Gum Company in sponsorship of the "Knot Hole Club".
    (Auction Link)

    From the same event as above, Gehrig poses with a large group of kids.
    (Auction Link)

    Here are the hands of a legend.  This is Satchel Paige in this circa 1960's Miami Herald press photo.
    (Auction Link)

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    ITPC: A Vintage Dodger Doll

    I thought I'd take this time to post up about something I really love - vintage Dodgers memorabilia. 

    Check out this circa 1950's Brooklyn Dodgers doll made by the Flagg Doll Company.  It stands 7" tall and appears to be in excellent shape.  Heck, it even has a wooden bat attached to it with twine, and its original box.  

    This Dodger appears to be dancing.  He's got his arms up in the air and his knees bent, as if ready to boogie.  Better yet, he's got some dancing shoes on.  Hopefully, we'll see the current incarnation of the Dodgers feeling the same way soon.  The season's been too much of a downer.

    The doll is available at In The Park Collectibles current auction.  See it here.
    (auction link)

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    Blog Kiosk: 5/24/2013

    The 5th edition of the Dodgers Playbill debuts with Dodger Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín on the cover. See it above.  Fans receive the playbill when they enter the Dodger Stadium parking gates.
    • Ken Rosenthal on twitter shares some comments from Dodgers President Stan Kasten on Mattingly's recent comments.  Interesting. 
    Mattingly didn't bench Ethier because he doesn't have any fire, it's because Andre internalizes and misdirects it.  All athletes feel the emotion of the game; it's how they handle it that separates the great ones from the Milton Bradleys.
    This is exactly how I feel.
    • This is excellent.  This Scott Bradlee guy is a great musical composer/ arranger.  Here is a 1920's style cover of PSY's song "Gentleman"

    Video Link:

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    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Old-Timers Game is Back and they are Giving Away a Replica Championship Ring

    Holy Mackerel!  This is stupendous!  Marvelous!  Outstanding!

    Not only is the Old-Timers Game coming back on Saturday, June 8, but the Dodgers are giving away a replica 1963 World Series Ring to the first 40,000 fans in attendance.


    Go here for some additional information.

    The Schedule of events is as follows:
    4:10pm - Gates open to the public
    5:20pm - Old-timers' Introductions
    5:30pm - 6:45pm - Old-timers' Game
    Below is a list of the former players expected to hit the field:
    • Bill Buckner
    • Ron Cey
    • Tommy Davis
    • Al Downing
    • Eric Gagne
    • Pedro Guerrero
    • Mickey Hatcher
    • Lou Johnson
    • Ken Landreaux
    • Tommy Lasorda
    • Davey Lopes
    • Rick Monday
    • Manny Mota
    • Don Newcombe
    • Jerry Reuss
    • Bill Russell
    • Dave Stewart
    • Darryl Strawberry
    • Fernando Valenzuela
    • Bob Welch
    • Maury Wills
    • Steve Yeager
    • Rick Cerone
    • Chris Chambliss
    • Ron Davis
    • Dwight Gooden
    • Goose Gossage
    • Rickey Henderson
    • Jay Johnstone
    • Graig Nettles
    • Bob Watson

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    Go Kings Go!

    Tonight is Game 5 of the playoff game between the San Jose Sharks and LA Kings.  The series is tied 2 to 2, so we effectively have dwindled this all down to a 3 game series.

    I'll be in my normal section, Section 315, with my voice ready to go hoarse.

    I'm excited and concerned - hopeful that the Kings can come out of the gates with the kind of energy they have been lacking the past couple of games.

    I suspect we'll once again have a nail-biter on our hands, but I am certain the boys will leave everything on the ice.  And in doing so, will gain the appreciation of the fans.

    Let's go, boys!

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    Weekend Autograph Opportunities: A Galaxy Signing Tomorrow

    Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


    LA Galaxy defender, former rookie of the year and MLS Cup MVP will be signing free autographs this coming Friday at AT&T in Carson, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  (310) 225-3028.
    AT&T Retail Store
    20810 Avalon Blvd.
    Carson, CA 90746 
    Hat Tip: LA Inspiration

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    Lack of "Grit" and "Compete Level" has been an Issue for a Long Time

    It occurred to me last night that the issue Mattingly spoke of yesterday has been a problem surrounding the Dodgers for quite a while.

    Think back to when the last time the Dodgers where perennial playoff contenders.  It really wasn't too long ago.  Back then names like Kent, Garciaparra and Gonzo filled out our roster. They were veterans who had been through the grime and muck, only to came out as chiseled sages ready and willing to impart their knowledge.  No doubt, they were also willing to give everything they've got to win. 

    Now, we stand here wondering what happened?  Did the kids on the team back then gain from their tutelage? 

    That answer appears to be, no.

    Let's take a quick look at some of things that were said back then.  Via Dylan Hernandez' reporting at the LA Times from September 2007, entitled "A Shot to Generation Gap".
    Upon being swept in a four-game series in Colorado, Kent said he was "disappointed," "angry" and "perplexed." He spoke in vague terms of the "many things" responsible for the Dodgers' slide from playoff contention. When asked if that included Little's lineups and the coaching staff's strategy, he said, "Everything."

    "We've got some good kids on the team," Kent said. "Don't get me wrong, please don't misinterpret my impressions. [But] it's hard to translate experience."

    He said of the younger players: "I don't know why they don't get it."

    Of what they don't get, Kent said, "A lot of things. Professionalism. How to manufacture a run. How to keep your emotions in it. There's just a lot of things that go on with playing 162 games."
    My Translation: These kids lacked the "grit" & "compete level" it takes to win.
    He added: "It's close to the end of the season. And a career for me too. I'm running out of time. A lot of kids in here, they don't understand that."
    A sense of urgency can create an attitude that often leads to taking it up a notch.  Clearly, the kids didn't have it back then, and I am lead to believe it may still not exist in the clubhouse today.

    How did the kids respond when told of Kent's criticism back in 2007?  Here's what Loney said:
    Asked if it bothered him to be criticized by one of the team's leaders, Loney said of Kent, "Who said he was a leader?"
    Kemp said:
    "Having fun is part of the game," Kemp said. "If you came up here and you were serious all the time, that's not fun. Joking with your boys, that's fun. It helps you relax.
    Now, let's look at what Ethier said yesterday.  Via Ken Gurnick at
    "Yeah, I take offense to that, without approaching me first," said Ethier. "Other than that, I show up every day and find ways to compete, to work hard whether I'm going good or bad. Just like everyone here, I have to get a grip and a handle on what's gone on. We can never lose hope to get back on top of the division. That's my approach every day."
    Wrong attitude.  There is nothing to be offended by what Mattingly said.  As a professional you have to take the criticism as an opportunity to be better.  That's it.  Saying you're offended has no meaning.  The rest of it sounds like a series of cliche's to me.

    So, what's the solution?

    I haven't the foggiest idea, but I think Chad Moriyama touched on it a bit in his post this morning.
    Over the years, basically everybody I’ve talked to that’s been close to the team has not exactly come away with a glowing impression of Ethier, and it wasn’t Mattingly that tried to eat the contract of a recently-extended Ethier just this past winter.
    Mike Petriello affirms the same general feeling about Ethier, as well as the trade aspect of it.
    I don’t know what happened with Ethier behind the scenes, though anyone surprised that he’s got a reputation as being difficult hasn’t been paying attention — and yes, they did try to trade him over the winter.
    So while I’m not all that sure what happened behind closed doors, and I’m not saying it’s absolutely justified, I am leaving open the possibility that this was a necessary action due to something that might be happening behind the scenes.
    I would add that this is not to say that Ethier is the only problem.  Maybe something endemic has happened - a kind of culture has been allowed to permeate within the clubhouse and something needs to be done to change it.

    Management, it's your move!


    Yesterday evening, Left Field Pavilion posted up a couple of great graphics that I think perfectly encapsulates what I'm trying to say.  So, with apologies to him (for putting this up here) check out the first one that I thought was the best.

    (pic link)

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    Blog Kiosk: 5/23/2013

    Panini provides an early look at their upcoming 2013 Cooperstown set.  It will be coming out in mid-August.  Check out a Jackie Robinson card above.
    • Via Ken Gurnick at, "Dodgers discussing Puig, Pederson to Majors."
    • Eric Stephen at True Blue LA lets us know that Matt Kemp has also made an additional charitable contribution to the Oklahoma relief efforts.
    • Fox Sports has a video featuring Don Mattingly and his harsh words.
    • Panini also released preview pics of their 2013 USA Baseball Champions set that comes out next week.  Check out some of the Dodgers shown below.  They also share other photos of former (and current) Dodgers like Garciaparra and McGwire.
    • Dave Cameron at FanGraphs writes, "Andre Ethier is Now Eminently Available."
    • Via Jeff Spiegel at Dodgers Nation, "Scott Van Slyke Continues Impressive Run in Wednesday’s Win."
    • Paul Lukas at ESPN introduces readers to the Jefferson Burdick collection of Baseball cards that reside at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  It's the second largest in the world.  The collection at the Baseball Hall of Fame is the largest.  Be sure to check out the video they have as they take a close look at some of the cards.

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