Friday, January 31, 2014

The Dodgers New 2014 Slogan: Live. Breathe. Blue.

Considering the record season ticket renewals and the continued stellar attendance numbers, does having a new marketing slogan for the Dodgers really matter?

I guess it does since they just unveiled the teams 2014 slogan.
Live. Breathe. Blue.

The best response I've read so far about it comes from Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk:
In my experience, if you breathe, you don’t turn blue. But maybe I’m missing the nuances.
The Dodgers Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen had this to say:
“Our new tagline encapsulates how each of our fans feel about the Dodgers organization. We feel it is a natural evolution of last year's slogan ‘A Whole New Blue'.  The Dodgers have given and will continue to give our fans reasons to believe in the team during the 2014 season.”
All right then.  The Dodgers will not suffocate and die on us, and that's a good thing.

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2014 Topps Baseball Series 1 - The Dodgers' Base Cards

There are now Baseball cards available to usher in the new year, and I've got pics of all the Dodgers' base cards to prove it.  

There are 13 Dodger cards in the 331 card base set; two of which are League Leaders cards featuring Clayton Kershaw.  Also of note are the Topps All-Star Rookie Cups emblazoned on the Ryu and Puig cards.

As you may already know, there are a whole bunch of short-printed variations in the set.  In fact, I count at least 11 different Dodger variations, and there may be more yet to be uncovered.  I'll have pics of all known available Dodger variations up soon.

In the meantime, check out the base set below.

#6 Josh Beckett                                  #40 Hyun-Jin Ryu

#72 Michael Young                                 #111 Mark Ellis

#113 League Leaders (Kershaw, Fernandez, Harvey)   

#142 Zack Greinke                              #173 Brandon League

#193 Ricky Nolasco

#197 Onelki Garcia                           #204 Adrian Gonzalez

#294 League Leaders (Wainwright, Zimmerman, Kershaw)

#314 Hanley Ramirez                                  #331 Yasiel Puig

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A Victorian Trade Card Set - Corner Clefs Series H804-10

Here is another 1880's Victorian Baseball Trade Card set in my collection.  This time I feature a set commonly known as the Corner Clefs Series, H804-10.

There are 8 cards total in a set and they measure approximately 2 3/4" x 4 3/16".  They are notable for their striped hats and socks, olive colored background and for having a border design reminiscent of a musical symbol.  A description (or name) of the card is at the bottom.  As is usual, the characters on the cards are all comically drawn.

Unfortunately, the first 6 cards shown here from my collection are likely trimmed just a bit (although a couple do not exhibit the traits I would expect to see from a trim job), and the last two are clearly their original size.  Trimming of trade cards is not unusual.  In fact, it's commonplace.  These cards were designed to be collected and glued into scrapbooks, so borders were often cut to create more space. 

Check out the entire 8 card set in this post.  The 8 cards are:
  • A Fly
  • A Heavy Hit
  • A Short-Stop
  • A Twister
  • Hold Your Base!
  • Our Side Has Won
  • Score One
  • The Umpire

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Blog Kiosk: 1/31/2014 - Dodgers Links - Jansen has the Best Cutter, Young Retires and Paco's Delivery

Maury Wills and the Dodgers visited Operation Gratitude yesterday as a part of the Community Caravan.  He along with several other Dodgers assisted in assembling care packages to be sent to US troops overseas.  The pic above is via @Dodgers Juan Ocampo/LA Dodgers on twitter.  The photo below came from the Operation Gratitude's twitterGo here to find out more about Operation Gratitude.

“Out of everybody who plays baseball, he’s looking at my mechanics, and I think it’s an amazing honor just to be in talks with him,” Rodriguez said. “I can’t wait till Spring Training. Hopefully I’ll get to sit down and just talk about it, talk about baseball and his experiences — good and bad.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kershaw's Cameo on 'New Girl' is Hilarious

It's a good thing Clayton Kershaw is married because that man has no game!

Immediately after Sunday's Super Bowl, a new episode of 'New Girl' will air on FOX, and it includes a guest appearance by our ace hurler Clayton Kershaw.

Clayton is hanging out at a house partyand approaches a couple of ladies (one of which is Zooey Deschanel).  He proceeds to use a pick-up line that would have anyone slapping their face in utter embarrassment. 

Dude!  No name dropping; especially your own name.  Jeeez!

Anyway, you gotta watch it.  See it below.

Video Link:

Hat Tip: Josh Tucker at Dodger Insider

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Dodgers Reveal New Alternate Road Jersey's - It's Just Like Their Road Jersey's From 1998

With having such an iconic uniform design, the opportunity for any dramatic changes are small.  After all, a large departure from what we have is likely to be met by scorn, so management is keenly aware that real change is impossible. 

Other than the possibility of using vintage Brooklyn Dodger designs, all the team could really do is what they've just announced.

Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers will have an alternate road jersey in 2014, as the team will utilize one of the most identifiable team names in sports today, "Dodgers," as well as their home city, "Los Angeles," on the two jerseys.

When the Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958, the road jersey featured the name Dodgers. The next year, the team's road jersey featured Los Angeles and continued that way through 1969. The team name, Dodgers, returned to the jersey in 1970 through 1998 and the city name, Los Angeles, returned in 1999 to the present. The last time the Dodgers wore alternate jerseys was in 2011, when they wore the powder blue Brooklyn jerseys for six home dates.
So, we go from using the "Los Angeles" script to using the "Dodgers" script, instead.

Ho Hum... it's nice, but hardly blows me away.

Dodgers Marketing guru, Lon Rosen, had this to say:
"Because we are equally proud of our iconic brand name and the city we represent and with the number of Dodger fans across the country, we felt it important to have two sets of road jerseys to feature both the team name, as well as Los Angeles. This will begin when we start play in spring training and we plan to wear the `Dodgers' jersey when we open the regular season in Australia on March 22."
 I do love this photo of Hyun-Jin Ryu below. 

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Check Out These Hilarious Vintage Dodgers Press Photos at HYEE Auctions

Following up on yesterdays post featuring several vintage Jackie Robinson Press Photos, I now bring to you some Dodgers' Press Photos on the more lighter side.  These group of photos made me chuckle.

Below is a Spring Training photograph of the mighty Duke Snider twirling away from a high hard one.  It has a newspaper stamp date of March 26, 1956, and was taken by UPI photographer Mike Ackerman.  The newspaper clipping glued to the reverse says, "Hefty Cut and Miss Make Duke Snider a Dancing Dodger... Tommy Byrne's pitch has him swinging". 
(auction link)

The below photo is just great.  It is from the Dodgers' clubhouse celebration after winning their very first World Series Championship in 1955.  The photo is from UPI and was used for a report on the 10 best news stories of 1955.  As you can see, Don Newcombe is seen serenading (or screaming, whatever the case may be) Duke Snider.  On the reverse is the below caption:
One of the biggest stories of 1955, as selected by the United Press, was the victory of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series.  This was the "Next Year" about which Brooklyn fans were always talking.  There, Dodger stars Duke Snider and Don Newcombe symbolize the jubilation that swept Brooklyn after the won the World Championship from the New York Yankees.
(auction link)

Here is another vintage press photo from a Dodger Spring Training, dated March 31, 1960.  It is from the Miami Herald and features a couple of local sheriffs clowning around with Duke Snider and Don Drysdale.  On the reserve is a newspaper clipping with the following caption:
Squeeze Play - That Grapefruit League stuff can be taken too seriously, two members of the Los Angeles Dodgers learn at Vero Beach.  In the squeeze play, from the left, are Deputy Sheriff Frank Aber, Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, and Sheriff Sam Joyce of Indian River County.  It's all in fun though, and the boys split a beaker of fresh citrus juice and go off to the ball game.
(auction link)

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Holy Moly! Season Ticket Holders Will Not Be Getting Hard Tickets!

I just find this to be unbelievable.

It's so unbelievable, I have to ask you folks out there whether this is really true.  Please let me know!  I need further confirmation.

(I should add that I am not a season ticket holder.  I go to games casually on a game by game basis.  From time to time, I get tickets from friends who have access to season tickets, and cherish those tickets since they are always uniquely Dodger themed.)

According to Bobby Crosby at Dodger Film (via a posting on Reddit r/Dodgers), he was notified by his season ticket rep that the Dodgers would not longer be providing them with hard tickets.  Instead, season ticket holders will have to print them out or use their smart phone to get into the game.

Say wha...?

Here is Bobby talking about it in his latest video.

Video Link:

So, you're telling me that there will not be any of those cool fancy tickets available to collect?  A fan will no longer be able to take a Dodger ticket stub and put it away as a keepsake?  Are those days long dead and gone?

I get that times are changing, and we need to get with the system.  Still, this is the kind of change I didn't have in mind.

It's the beginning of the end of ticket stub collecting.

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Blog Kiosk: 1/30/2014 - Dodgers Links - Puig's Surprise Visit, Scully Going Down Under and Adrian Gonzalez

Yasiel Puig made a surprise visit to fans at yesterdays Select-A-Seat, pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  See more pics at Jon's photog blog here; including pics from Day 3 of the Dodgers Community Caravan.  Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider shares a video and some quotes from Puig.  BTW, Dodger blogger Dodger Penguin was at Dodger Stadium yesterday and has a photo with himself and Puig to prove it.  You lucky dog, you!  Go here to check it out
“They asked me to go because they’re the first games to be broadcast by Time Warner,” Scully said. “So I said, `Sure, I’ll go.’ ”
"I think any good-hitting pitcher sees it as an advantage coming into a game," said Haren, who signed as a free agent with the Dodgers after a strong finish to 2013, his only season with the Nationals. "If you're facing a pitcher who doesn't see himself as a good hitter and doesn't take his at-bats as seriously as you do, it's definitely an edge.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Some Great Jackie Robinson Vintage Press Photos from HYEE Auctions

Premier eBay seller HYEE Auctions has a bunch of great vintage press photos available for sale.  They always seem to have the best stuff out there.  Take a look below at some of my favorite Jackie Robinson press photos.  Tomorrow, I'll show some other great Dodger press photos that stuck out to me.

This is just an amazing live-action photo of Jackie Robinson trying to turn two.  It was taken by Tony Bernato of International News Photos on 7/21/1952.  Sliding into second base is Yankee Gil McDougald.  The photo was taken during the New York-Brooklyn Mayor's Trophy Game at Yankee Stadium.  This was an exhibition game played in benefit of Sandlot Baseball.  I assume this was a NY area non-profitBaseball Reference helpfully provides some background about this event.  Proceeds went to support Sandlot Baseball by primarily giving funds to the city's Amateur Baseball Federation.  BTW, this 1952 game ended in a 3-3 tie, since the Yankees had to leave early (at the end of the 8th inning) in order to catch a train for the next days game.
(auction link)

Jackie Robinson scores at home in this 1950 Internal News press photo.  The catcher is Wes Westrum of the New York Giants.  It was taken during the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader on July 4, 1950.
(auction link)

The below photo makes me sad, just a bit.

This is a December 13, 1956 International News Press Photo featuring the Robinson's celebrating a trade to the NY Giants.

Say What?

Jackie would soon decide to retire from the game instead.
(auction link)

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Take a Look at the 1983 Dodgers Postcard Set

I recently purchased another decent sized lot of Dodgers postcards and found a complete 1983 Dodgers postcard set within it.  What luck, eh?

Check them all out in this post.  Click any pic to embiggen.

The 1983 Dodgers Postcard set features 12 postcards.  They were produced by Mike Roberts Color Productions out of Oakland, California.  They are numbered from #C35508 to #C35519.  A complete checklist is at the very bottom.

Below is an example of what the reverse of the postcards look like.  As you can see, the card number can be found on the lower left side.  Here is a complete checklist of the 1983 postcard set:
#C35508 Dusty Baker
#C35509 Burt Hooton
#C35510 Steve Howe
#C35511 Dave Stewart
#C35512 Mike Marshall
#C35513 Bob Welch
#C35514 Bill Russell
#C35515 Fernando Valenzuela
#C35516 Mike Scioscia
#C35517 SteveSax
#C35518 Steve Yeager
#C35519 Greg Brock

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Dodgers FanFest on Saturday - Autograph Vouchers Still for Sale

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.


This coming Saturday at Dodger Stadium is the Dodgers FanFest.  The festivities begin at 10:00 AM and conclude at 4:00 PM.  Parking gates open at 9:30 AM and is free.  Check out a Dodgers press release about the event here.

As you probably know, the Dodgers sold voucher tickets for the 24 different signing sessions taking place on Monday, and as of this writing tickets are still available for 2 of the sessions.  Go here to check it out.  An autograph session voucher ticket cost $10.00, and all proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. 

Autograph vouchers must be presented at each session where they will be scanned prior to entering the designated line. Each voucher will be good for two total autographs. There will be two people per line signing autographs. Only one (1) autograph per signer per voucher. Fans may bring person items for autographs.

In addition to autograph sessions with current and former Dodger players, FanFest will feature various family friendly activities including: inflatable games, photo booths and photo opportunities, a batting cage, a wiffleball park, trampoline, face painting, balloon art, arts and crafts, DJ spin art and a memorabilia exhibit. Several Dodger sponsors will be on site with activities and giveaways including Anheuser Busch, Blue Prints, Chef Merito, Clear Channel Radio, Coca-Cola, Mother's Cookies, State Farm, SportsNet LA and Univision Radio and TV. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) will have mystery bags containing autographed jerseys, baseballs and photos for a cash donation with all proceeds benefiting the LADF.


This weekend is the Long Beach Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center from Thursday, January 30th to Saturday, February 1st.  Go here for more information.

This show is primarily a coin and stamp convention, but there will be a some tables selling Baseball cards.  Unlike in past years, there are no autograph guest scheduled.

BTW, you can get free admission by going here.

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The New Season Can Officially Begin - 2014 Topps Baseball Cards Are Now For Sale!

It's official!

The 2014 Baseball season has begun.

No, I don't mean to say that players are reporting to Spring Training, en masse.  Although, there are various reports throughout the league that a handful of players have already shown up to get started early.

Instead, I want to let everybody know that today is the official release of the flagship 2014 Baseball card set.  Topps Series 1 Baseball is out, and you should be able to get a pack at your local card shop or retail store (like Walmart or Target). 

Some of you already know that retail boxes have already been showing up.  Heck, individual cards are currently for sale on eBay.  Unfortunately for me, my local Target did not have any of their boxes on the shelves last night.  So, I'm gonna head out to another Target this afternoon in hopes of finding a blaster box.  And as a special bonus, I'll record the opening of it and post it up here, just for the heck of it.

As you can expect, I'll have photos of all the various Dodger cards available in the set.  I hope to have my first post in a couple of days.

In the meantime, check out this goofy Clayton Kershaw card below. 

It is a short-printed variation card inserted into packs, and it features Clayton celebrating a NL Division Championship.  Based on the numbers of these cards showing up on eBay it doesn't appear to be very scarce.  Although, I would expect to pay a premium for it.  BTW, I count 6 different Dodger short-printed cards so far; including 2 different Puigs, 2 Kershaw's, a Ryu and a Hanley.  I suspect there are more yet to be uncovered.

The Kershaw short-prints have Series 2 numbering (#400).  At this point, this card easily belongs in 2014's class of "Best Dodger Cards of the Year". 

That smile, smirk, whatever you call it is the most hilarious expression I've ever seen on our left-handed hurler.

#400 (w/ Series 2 numbering) Clayton Kershaw

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Blog Kiosk: 1/29/2014 - Dodgers Links - Kasten is Best Executive, Puig Charges Dropped and Zach Lee Looks to Earn a Job

Check out Tommy Davis, "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Tim Leary and Derrel Thomas on Day 2 of the Dodgers Community Caravan.  Pic above tweeted by Courtney Jones.  Check out more pics from yesterday from Jon SooHoo, here.
  • Via Peter Gammons, the Dodgers are the team to beat in the NL West.
  • Via Daniel Brim at Dodgers Digest, "Pitcher Hitting – The Dodgers’ Secret Weapon?"
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Stan Kasten named LASC Sports Executive of the Year".  This is no surprise considering the dramatic (and largely positive) changes the Dodgers have undertaken since his leadership.
  • Via TMZ, the reckless driving charge against Yasiel Puig in Florida has been dropped.  He is now dealing with just a speeding charge.  This is probably the most apt charge to remain.  In the police video that was release it seemed apparent that he wasn't weaving around like a maniac; just driving way too fast.  From my understanding, a reckless driving charge is always added to speeding tickets over 100 mph (at least that's custom in CA).
  • Via Ken Gurnick at, "Prospect Lee aims to be ready when called".
"I'm trying to win a job, striving to get here as soon as I can. If I pitch well and control what I can control, the opportunity will present itself not far down the road. There are contractual issues, but if you outperform people, there will be a spot for you."
Baseball memorabilia collectors weren’t so hung up on airtight provenance 65+ years ago, so there’s no telling now whether a baseball claimed in a 1947 Sporting News article  to be Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot” home run ball was in fact the real McCoy.
  • Greatest home run call, EVER!  You gotta watch it.  I cannot stop laughing.  And, it's a Manny Ramirez homer!  (Hat Tip: TheNebuchadnezzar on Reddit)

Video Link:

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

AJ Ellis is Getting a Bobblehead! - That Makes 12 Dodger Bobbles for 2014!

This is the coolest news! 

The Dodgers have decided to add a 12th bobblehead to their 2014 promotional schedule, and it's of AJ Ellis.  Per a Dodgers press release:
As part of their 2014 promotional schedule, the Los Angeles Dodgers will add an A.J. Ellis bobblehead. The first 50,000 fans in attendance on September 7 (vs. ARI) will receive an Ellis bobblehead. This marks the catcher's first Dodger Stadium bobblehead.

Ellis has served as the Dodgers' starting catcher for the past two years and is entering his 11th season with the organization after he was selected in the 18th round of the 2003 draft. The hard-working backstop guided the Dodgers' pitching staff to the Majors' second-lowest team ERA last year (3.25), when the club's hurlers established a franchise record for strikeouts (1,292), and ranked second among MLB qualifiers by throwing out 40.7% of runners attempting to steal. At the plate, Ellis tied for third on the club with a career high-tying 52 RBI and hit 10 homers in 2013, including a game-winning solo shot on Sept. 19 at Arizona in the Dodgers' division-clinching victory. In the postseason, the 32-year-old batted .323 with four doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBI, while catching every inning of the Dodgers' 10 playoff games.
Better yet, this new bobble appears to be a belated birthday gift to AJ's wife, Cindy.  She tweeted this out a few days ago (Hat Tip: Josh Tucker at Dodger Insider).

You sure can't beat that kind of turnaround.  Seemingly, with a lead-time of just a few days the Dodgers react and respond to Cindy's wishes and make her dream come true.  Congrats, Cindy!  And Congrats, Dodger fans!

This is a great announcement.

BTW, this new bobble will be the 12th bobblehead the team will give out this coming season.  Check out a list of Dodger bobbles below, and check out a complete promotional schedule here:
  • Clayton Kershaw on April 24 (vs. PHI);
  • Yasiel Puig on May 13 (vs. MIA);
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu on May 27 (vs. CIN);
  • Hello Kitty Mini Bobblehead on June 3 (vs. White Sox);
  • Tommy Lasorda on June 14 (vs. ARI);
  • Brian Wilson - Fan Vote bobblehead - on June 26 (vs. STL);
  • Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella (Coliseum moment; 1959) on July 12 (vs. SD);
  • Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith (30 HR same season) on July 31 (vs. ATL);
  • Zack Greinke on August 20 (vs. SD);
  • Magic Johnson on September 2 (vs. WAS); 
  • AJ Ellis on September 7 (vs. ARI); and
  • Babe Ruth (first base coach in Brooklyn; 1938) on September 9 (vs. SD).
Also, in case you didn't already know, a preview image of the Dodgers first bobblehead has already been leaked.  Check out the Clayton Kershaw Cy Young Bobblehead below.

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Mailbag: An Autographed card of a Dodgers Top Prospect - Julio Urias

I guess you can say that I've jumped onto the Urias bandwagon.

Julio Urias was signed by the Dodgers in August of 2012 as a 16-year old from Mexico, and made his pro debut on May 25, 2013 with the Great Lakes Loons (the Dodgers Low A Minor League affiliate).  Since then, he has absolutely wowed the scouts. 

He made a total of 18 starts, with 54.1 innings pitched (pitching few innings in order to maintain a low pitch count), and finished with a 2.48 ERA.  Additionally, he sported a phenomenal strike out per 9 innings ratio of 11.1, and a strike out to walk ratio of 4.19.  Not too shabby for the youngest player in the league, at 17-years old.

Since his debut, Urias has skyrocketed up the Dodgers ladder to be considered one of the 5 best (and in some polls the very best) prospects the Dodgers have. 

Per Doug Thorburn at Baseball Prospectus:
The most stunning grade on Urias' report card is the 50-grade repetition. Developing pitchers just do not have the type of consistency of timing and movement that Urias possesses right now, both game to game and within a single outing. He still has room for improvement, to be sure, but even when the southpaw is off-kilter he rarely misses his release point by much. Like any pitcher his age, Urias faces a mountain of work that has to be done before he can reach his potential, but he has an incredible head-start on his baseball journey, and the advanced nature of his skill-set puts him on an accelerated path to the big leagues.
Featured here is one of my most recent eBay purchases.  Check out the only Julio Urias card on the market - a 2013 Bowman Sterling Autographed card.  Today, this card can be purchased between $15 to $20 a piece.  I figured that if he's as good as they say he is, then I better pick one up now before it's too late.

Here are his stats, via Baseball Reference:

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