Friday, August 16, 2013

Brian Wilson Came out to Pitch Today


As has been widely reported already, former closer Brian Wilson is in Philadelphia with the Dodgers for the current road trip.  Speculation soon erupted that he would be called up today.  Instead, he was placed on the mound earlier this afternoon to pitch a simulated game. 

He went 1 1/3 innings; facing Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp, Nick Punto and then Kemp again after sitting for a short spell.

There is no word word yet on how he did, but he appeared to give up a couple of hits.  Per Kevin Baxter of the LA Times on twitter:


Tony Jackson writes on twitter:


Brian Wilson is likely to be called up to the Dodgers soon, so it'll be interesting to find out who gets demoted in his place.

My initial thought was that Dee Gordon would be sent back to Albuquerque, but that is now not possible.  The Dodgers announced soon afterwards that Dee is going back to AAA, and Scott Van Slyke has been recalled.

Fortunately, Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo was on hand to capture some photos of this afternoon session.  Check out some pics of a bunch of Dodgers taking early batting practice and Brian Wilson pitching right here.

Pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2013.

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2000 Upper Deck Master Collection Set of the Brooklyn Dodgers


Not only have I always wanted to write a little something about this set, I've also wanted to add it to my own collection.  Unfortunately, the price has always been far beyond my pocketbook. 

Featured here is the 2000 Upper Deck Master Collection Set of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They were sold as a complete set consisting of 15 base cards, 11 relic/autographed cards and a mystery pack that had 1 of 10 possible relic/autographs cards unique to the Master Collection set.

This is, in my mind, one of the finest looking Dodger sets ever put together.  Check out the pics below to see if you agree with me.

Directly above and below are pics of a wooden case that held the set.  Only 250 total sets exist, and they were sold wholesale from the Upper Deck for about $1,500.00 (maybe $1,000.00 - I don't remember exactly). 

Well, recently a seller broke up a complete set and sold them on eBay.  I dutifully sought to add some of my favorite players to my collection.  Unfortunately, I was not successful, so instead I figured I should at least write about it here.  Check out pics of every base, relic and autographed card in the set below.  Also, I've gathered photos of 5 of the 10 possible mystery cards that were available.

BTW, the total price of all the cards sold on eBay (the 26 cards in the set) was $779.  If I include the mystery pack card then it sold for a grand total of $890.  That's quite a discount compared to what they cost right out of the factory.  I have routinely seen complete sets for sale on eBay and other retailers for about $1,000.00 to $1,500.00.

The value of the set has obviously suffered due to the large number of relics that have flooded the market since 2000.  Furthermore, I wouldn't blame you for doubting the legitimacy of several of the relic pieces.  The Koufax jersey, Jackie bat and Zack Wheat bat pieces are prohibitively expensive, even in 2000.  And considering the recent fake game-used uniform scandal unearthed by the FBI, it might be safe to assume that the better relic pieces are likely fakes.  Heck, I don't think you could ever convince me that the Sandy Koufax jersey piece is real.

Nevertheless, the design of these cards are top notch.

Here are the base cards.  Click on any pic to embiggen.  Each card came in their own plastic case.

#BD1 - Jackie Robinson                            #BD2 - Duke Snider

#BD3 - Pee Wee Reese                              #BD4 - Gil Hodges

#BD5 - Carl Furillo                             #BD6 - Don Newcombe


#BD7 - Sandy Koufax                          #BD8 - Roy Campanella


#BD9 - Jim Gilliam                              #BD10 - Don Drysdale


#BD11 - Sandy Amoros                             #BD12 - Joe Black


#BD13 - Carl Erskine                           #BD14 - Johnny Podres


#BD15 - Zack Wheat

Below is the 11 card relic/autograph base set.

#LOF1 - Gil Hodges                           #LOF2 - Jackie Robinson

#LOF3 - Pee Wee Reese                          #LOF4 - Jim Gilliam

#LOF5 - Roy Campanella                         #LOF6 - Zack Wheat

#LOF7 - Carl Furillo                          #LOF8 - Don Newcombe

#LOF9 - Duke Snider                        #LOF10 - Don Drysdale

#LOF11 - Sandy Koufax

The Sandy Koufax card above sold for $389.99.  I think that was a steal.  Previous sales I've seen over the years were well over $500.00.

Directly below is the Duke Snider/ Don Newcombe auto/relic card from the mystery pack.  It sold for $111.50

Here is the complete checklist of the 10 mystery cards.
  • Don Newcombe and Carl Furillo Dual Bat
  • Duke Snider and Don Newcombe Dual Autograph Bat
  • Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider Dual Bat
  • Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges Dual Bat
  • Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese Dual Bat
  • Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella Dual Bat
  • Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale Dual Jersey
  • Gil Hodges Bat Cut Auto
  • Jackie Robinson Bat Cut Auto
  • Pee Wee Reese Bat Cut Auto
And below are 4 additional pics of mystery cards.


UPDATE:
Here is another mystery pack card.


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Are Skunks the Dodgers Good Luck Charm?


Check this out.

Do you remember reading back in early June about how a skunk had invaded Dodger Stadium.  Well, if that had escaped your memory, don't worry.  Read this June 4th story at Big League Stew to remind yourself.

Now, according to Chris Erskine at the LA Times there have been 7 sightings since a skunk was first found at Dodger Stadium on June 3rd, and the occurrences appear to be accelerating.
In the last week, Dodgers staff says it has run across at least three of the critters, all on the reserve level near the top of the stadium. On Monday, a skunk scurried under the souvenir kiosk at Section 20, just after 6 p.m., an hour before game time.
As we all know, the Dodgers have been on an historic run.  They've gone from being as much as 12 games under .500 to 20 games over .500, and have recently put together a string of 8 straight wins.

Some have said that the change of Dodger fortunes was a result of players getting healthy.  Others point out that the bullpen is finally pulling their weight.  I think the predominant theory is that the arrival of Yasiel Puig acted as a spark plug.

Now think about this.

Yasiel Puig made his debut in Dodger Blue on June 3rd - the very same day a skunk was first reported found at Dodger Stadium.

Coincidence?

I think not. 

I think that by some cosmic twist of fate, the skunks at Dodger Stadium are our good luck charm.

So, the next time you're watching a home game, be sure to look out for those little black and white critters.  They may be there to make sure the Dodgers don't stink up the place.  After all, that's their job.

Hat Tip: Adrian Glick Kudler at Curbed LA

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2013 Topps Mini - The Dodgers Relics and Autographs - Are There Any Puig Mini Auto'd Cards?

As I'm sure you recall, on the first day of the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago Topps unveiled their Topps mini set to the public.  The base set are just miniaturized versions of their flagship set.  In fact, the base cards use the exact same pics and card numbers as the flagship, so I'll refrain from putting up photos here.  Instead, I''ll show the relic and autographed cards that are unique to the mini set.  Check them out below.

Of special note, the photos below of the Sandy Koufax and Yasiel Puig cards are the preview pics Topps provided.  I have yet to see any of those actual cards anywhere - which I find kind of strange.  You would think that (at the very least) redemption cards would have popped up on eBay by now.

According to Topps initial previews, the Puig autographed card would be the very first Puig autographed cards to be inserted into packs.  I'm starting to believe those cards are not there, and we've all been fooled.  If I'm wrong and there are Puig autographed mini cards in the marketplace then please let me know.

Autographs

#MA-DS Duke Snider                          #MA-HR Hanley Ramirez

#MA-JP Johnny Podres                    #MA-SK Sandy Koufax


#MA-YP Yasiel Puig

Relics

#MR-AE A.J. Ellis                            #MR-MK Matt Kemp

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Blog Kiosk: 8/16/2013 - Dodgers Links - Kenley Jansen, Puig and Expanded Instant Replay


Check out this pic of a young Adrian Gonzalez.  Pic via Dodgers tumblr.
Marty Adler, the assistant principal at Jackie Robinson Intermediate School 320, bordering what had been the Dodgers’ third-base stands, organized projects in which the predominantly minority student body learned of Robinson’s baseball exploits and his pioneering role in the civil rights struggle.

That anniversary tribute in 1977 inspired Mr. Adler to keep memories of the Dodgers alive in Brooklyn long after their departure for Los Angeles and the demolition of Ebbets Field. 
“You get that don’t-give-up attitude, you get that confidence, that belief that whatever the lead is, whatever the circumstance is, your team is going to figure out a way to get it done,” Ethier said.

“You’re going to do it. And that’s what this team has developed the last couple of weeks. No lead, no deficit is too big. We’re going to give it our best shot to fight back and figure out a way to win it or make it interesting at the end.”
"Baseball is never about one guy," general manager Ned Colletti said, "but, yeah, it began with him. He brought us so much energy."
"I totally have a different mindset than before," Jansen says. "Three years ago, even last year, I was just trying to get my feet wet in the closer role. I didn't really have the identity or know what to do. But I've learned more about it, about the mindset, it's starting to click."

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