Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Full-Squad Workout #6

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

Clipper Blake Griffin sports some Dodger pride as he slam dunks a basketball.  According to the Dodgers on twitter, Griffin was filmed by them for Opening Day.

IT’S GETTING CLOSER...: The Dodgers went through their sixth full-squad workout today, stressing team defense in addition to the regular round of batting practice and side sessions. Right-handed hurlers Josh Beckett, Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier, Brandon League and Shawn Tolleson tossed live batting practice along with southpaw J.P. Howell on Fields 1 and 2.
  • Once again, the Dodgers’ inaugural doubles ping-pong tournament raged on and today rare footage of the battles were captured and will be sent to ESPN’s SportsNation.
  • The Dodgers will begin the 2013 regular season April 1, taking on the Giants in 38 days, 22 hours and 30 minutes.
WELCOME MATT: Today the Dodgers announced that catcher Matt Wallach was invited to big league camp, replacing Eliezer Alfonzo, who missed the start of camp due to a family issue and subsequently contracted Dengue fever. This is Wallach’s second consecutive non-roster invite to Major League camp and last year he hit .232 with four homers and 17 RBI in 59 games for Double-A Chattanooga. The California native turned 27 on Sunday.

CLASSIC BASEBALL: The 2013 World Baseball Classic is right around the corner as most players taking part will leave camp about March 1. The Dodgers will be well represented in the once-every-four-year event with Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz playing for Team Mexico, Hanley Ramirez for the Dominican Republic, Ronald Belisario for Venezuela and Nick Punto for Italy. In addition, former Dodger skipper Joe Torre will pilot the U.S. squad. Pool play for the World Baseball Classic begins March 2 in both Taiwan and Japan, home to the two-time defending champions (2006 and 2009).   
  • Team Italy arrived at Camelback Ranch today and took over the visiting clubhouse on the Dodgers’ side. The Italians will be here working out until March 5, when Team Mexico moves in. Team Mexico will face the Dodgers in an exhibition game on Wednesday, March 6 at Camelback Ranch.  
(pic link: Andre's hotrod- Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2013)
YOU SEE THIS FACE?: Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp is currently battling the Braves’ Jason Heyward in MLB Network’s #FaceofMLB contest on Twitter. The winner of the matchup moves to the final round of MLB Network’s bracket to decide who is the Face of MLB. You can view the current bracket matchups here. Fans can vote until 3:30 a.m. PT (Friday) by tweeting #MattKemp. Believe it or not, Kemp is currently trailing Heyward in the voting.

THE FIRST OPENING DAY: Opening Day at Camelback Ranch is Saturday and the Dodgers will be the home team against their cross- complex foes, the Chicago White Sox. Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers and the White Sox will counter with Dylan Axelrod. Prior to the game, the Dodgers and White Sox coaches and starters will be introduced to the crowd following the pregame ceremony honoring Dodger legends.

THE DODGER BARD: The Dodgers have a new special assistant in camp this season, former big league catcher Josh Bard. Bard joins General Manager Ned Colletti’s staff as Special Assistant, Player Development and will work with Dodger Major and minor leaguers.  The switch-hitting catcher had a .254 batting average in 10 seasons in the bigs with Cleveland (2002-05), Boston (2006), San Diego (2006-08), Washington (2009) and Seattle (2010-11). In 2012, he was a catcher for Triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodger system. 

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 2/21/2013

Check out more photos from Jon SooHoo of yesterdays rainy Spring Training day.  Featured above are Yasiel Puig and Luis Cruz.
He has learned to minimize pitches and manage counts better each year, something [Chad] Billingsley has not come to grips with yet. He’s much more pitch-efficient than he used to be. 
(twitter link)
  • Baseball Prospectus provides their rank for the projected 2013 season, and place the Dodgers in 1st place in the National League West.
  • Ken Gurnick at has some info on the Dodgers ping-pong tournament yesterday.
The Dodgers began a team Ping-Pong tournament Wednesday, featuring eight doubles teams in a double-elimination bracket.

The first victory of the competition went to Peter Moylan and Mark Lowe, who defeated the duo of Carl Crawford and Tony Gwynn Jr.

Each team made up an off-the-cuff nickname to call itself, with the pair of Mark and A.J. Ellis going by "The Law Firm.

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Discovering Negro Leaguer, Pete Hill

With it being Black History Month and February quickly coming to a close, I thought I would finally post some photos I received a while back that feature Negro League Hall of Famer Pete Hill. 

As you may know, I've always had an interest and fascination with Negro League Baseball, and from time to time post memorabilia of the players and teams that still exist.  Well, several years ago I had made a brief mention of a Pete Hill Baseball card from the early 1900's, and was soon after contacted by a distant relative of Mr. Hill.

As I was told, members of the Hill family had recently discovered their connection to the Hall of Famer, so they went about the task of learning more about him.  They wanted to celebrate his achievements and share what they had learned with those willing to listen.  I can only imagine the elation the family felt.  After all, it's not every day that you discover that the blood of a Hall of Famer runs in your veins. 

Soon, they delved into their family archives and came across vintage images of Pete Hill.  This in itself is rare since actual period images of Hill, as well as other Negro League greats from that time period are scant.  Check out Pete Hill's portrait photo below.

A great story written by Kevin Kirkland of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette describes the process the family went through to not only discover their connection to the man, but the steps that were taken to right a historical wrong.  You see, the Hall had made some gross errors on his plaque.  They had his name wrong, his birth date wrong, and his place of birth wrong. 
So no Hill descendant was in Cooperstown, N.Y., that day in 2006 when the plaque was unveiled. They might never have known they had such a famous relative -- or that his name, birth date and other biographical information were wrong -- if not for some sharp-eyed baseball historians and a cousin's love for genealogy.
Now, thanks to their research, Mr. Hill's determination and the genealogical sleuthing of a Virginia historian/journalist, the Hall of Fame announced in late July that it will commission a new, correct plaque and unveil it on Oct. 12 -- more than a century after John Preston Hill was born in Culpeper County, Va.
I suggest reading the entire article, it's a great story about a family discovering their roots and the work of some Baseball history buffs wanting to correct some inaccurate information.

I'd like to belatedly thank Major Hill for pass along the photos that are shared here.  BTW, the highway marker at the very top was erected a few years ago in Virginia thanks to the work of Major Hill and Negro League historian Gary Ashwill.  Ashwill details his research on Pete Hill and his work on the above marker here.

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Steve Yeager and Friends will be on TV on Friday - Check it Out

Steve Yeager recently had some friends take over his Jersey Mike's Sub Shop in Granada Hills, and you can watch it all this coming Friday on the Hallmark Channel.  The show is called "Who Let the Dogs Out", and it will air from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST (10:00 AM - 11:00 PM PST) on February 22nd.

Our favorite pooch, Tillman “The World's Fastest Skateboarding Dog” was joined by numerous other Dodgers to witness a sub making contest.  Other Dodgers to make an appearance include Steve Garvey, Al Ferrera, Bill Russell and Tim Leary.  Also, as the show is airing @NaturalBalance (a sponsor of the show) will host a give-away contest on twitter using #TillmanTV  for a chance to win prizes during their live viewing party.

Below is a video preview for the show.

Video Link:

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