Thursday, July 31, 2014

Here are some Day 2 Twitter Pics of "The National"

Day 2 of the National Sports Collections Convention has now passed, and I am more jealous than ever of all the attendees.  Oh how I wish I were there.

Anyway, following up Tuesday's and Wednesday's twitter pics that I had previously shared, here are pics from Day 2 of the show.  But before you do that, check out a couple of links I've gathered featuring a bunch of photos from some other bloggers and websites.
Now, here are some twitter photos below:

So much vintage!

This next photo is of a Jefferson Burdick letter - known as the Father of Card Collecting.  The last sentence says:
"I'd rather admit we're all crazy or at least well along the road that way."

Some kids busting packs!

I remember HoJo.

Hey... PaPa Van Slyke!

That's quite a crowd at the Topps booth.

Here's a view from above.

And, I'll leave with this photo.  Here are a couple of lovely Bench Warmer Girls and some guy.

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Silly Rabbit... The Dodgers Were Always Going to Keep the Prospects

This trade deadline was quite an event.  It was filled with rumors and gossip, intrigue and excitement and most importantly it was filled with a whole lot of nothing for the Dodgers.

The "Boys in Blue" did not trade for David Price.  They did not snag Jon Lester.  John Lackey was no where to be found. 

Instead, the Dodgers stayed put, and if you've been paying attention this should not have been a suprise. 

Nearly two years ago team President Stan Kasten gave numerous interviews explaining the basic philosophy they had in mind for returning the franchise to long-term stability and greatness, and I think it's important to take a brief look at that once again.

Per a story by JP Hoornstra dated August 26, 2012, Kasten made the following statement:
“I want to stress … we continue to believe in the importance of building a foundation through scouting and player development,” Kasten said. “We won’t be what we want to be until we build the system of players.”
It took a couple of years, but it's clear that the Dodgers have a greater level of comfort with the farmhands currently in our stable.  Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias appear to be the Dodger untouchables.  Further down the line are prospects like Chris Anderson, Tom Windle, Grant Holmes and Scott Schebler.  Alexander Guerrero and even fight-happy Arruebarrena are likely to help the Dodgers sooner rather than later. 

As Kasten said, they are building a system of players, and soon those players will start to transition into everyday Dodgers.

Does this mean that the team will never trade a prospect?

Of course not.  It's just that it is too early in the cycle to give up so easily on our top-flight guys.  

This team will be patient, and they'll make a move when it makes sense.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a deal for someone placed on the waiver wire (just like in 2012).  There will be less pressure to make a rash-emotionally filled move, and we'll have a better idea about what pieces we need to lock down the division.

In the meantime, we should be thankful that the Dodgers didn't do something stupid for short term gain.  This current ownership is in it for the long term, and staying put appears to furthers that end.

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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Dee Gordon met with some Hopeful Young Ballplayers on Monday

During his Monday off day, Dee Gordon came down to The Refinery in Torrance to meet with a group of about 50 kids between the ages of 5 to 12 years old to talk Baseball and the Dodgers.  No doubt, this would be a thrill of a lifetime for them.  After all, how often do you get a chance to meet an All-Star?

Fortunately, Blue Heaven reader Amy was kind enough to pass along some photos and some of the Q&A's from the event.  Considering the ages of these hopeful burgeoning ballplayers you knew their questions would be entertaining.  Check them out below:
What's your favorite position to play?
Dee: I love shortstop, but I went to the All Star's for second base, so I guess I gotta say second base!

Who is your best friend on the team?
Dee: Chone Figgins, I've looked up to him and learned a lot.

Who is faster.. you or Puig?
Dee: ME!

Why do you guys have a bubble machine in the dugout?
Dee: Well, last season Matt Kemp was supposed to throw a foam party after we won the divison and he never did, so now any time someone hits a home run we pull out the bubbles!

What's it like to be a small guy in the majors?
Dee: (Lifts up his sleeve and flexes) I'm not small!

What do you eat for breakfast?
Dee: Bacon and eggs!

Who is your biggest inspiration?
Dee: My family, My dad

Who is your biggest competition?
Dee: No one (with a big smile and a laugh)
Gordon then signed some autographs for the kids.

It can't be emphasized enough how important interactions like this is.  A child sees someone like Dee Gordon and immediately recognizes him as a hero and leader.  So, having him spend some time with them really makes an impression. And when you consider everything Gordon's been through in his career it's even more important.  He can speak about the will to succeed, the desire to get better and the perseverance to tackle all obstacles.  Dee Gordon is an example of how hard work does pay off - you just have to keep going.

BTW, The Refinery is a Baseball and Softball academy that teaches kids of all ages the fundamentals.  Hopefully, a visit from a star like Dee Gordon, who has seen more peaks and valleys than most, can take them to the next level.  Go here to check out their website.

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The Joy of the Completed Set: 1939 Wheaties - Series 13 - 100 Years of Baseball

This is probably one of my all-time favorite Baseball sets.  Featured here is the 1939 Wheaties box set, known as Series 13, of the "100 Years of Baseball."

Last week, I finally decided to pull the trigger to get the final card.  See it above.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

It is card #1 and it tells us all about the "Design of the 1st Diamond."  The remaining 7 cards (there are only 8 cards in the entire set) provide historical information about the game.  It includes Abraham Lincoln's nomination on a ballfield, the creation of the curveball and how fans first hated the Baseball glove.

I had first stumbled upon this Wheaties set a decade ago, and the Baseball history buff in me knew immediately I had to chase it. I picked up my first card then, card #8, since it featured Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat."  (You can see that at the very bottom)  Then slowly but surely, I added more as they popped up.

It isn't a particularly scarce set, so that wasn't the reason why it took me a decade to complete.  It's just that I'm an extremely patient person.

As for the sets historical accuracy... Well, you gotta take that with a grain of salt.  All of this is based on information known or understood in 1939 - some 75 years ago.

These cards sell for about $20 to $30 a piece in decent condition.  As you likely guessed, these cards were printed on the reverse of Wheaties cereal boxes, so you had to cut them out yourself.  They measure about 6' x 8' with the tab included.  Check out scans of the complete set below.

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Blog Kiosk: 7/31/2014 - Dodger Links - Beast Mode Does it Again, Barney to AAA and Vin Scully

I think it's safe to say that Beast Mode is back - Big Time!  Matt Kemp was explosive at the plate for the second straight game. He belted his 3rd home in two games, and knocked in the winning run in extra innings with a walk-off base hit.

All of the sudden, Matt Kemp is looking like the slugger of old.  He's driving the ball with authority and looks absolutely unbeatable at the plate.  Just when I thought we should be fortunate to see him finally hitting for average, he decides to prove me wrong by hitting for power too.  Wow!  With him back in the saddle there's no telling how far this team could go.

The Dodgers have now won five straight and lead the National League West by three games.  The pic at the very top is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Check out more pics by Jon from yesterdays game and Vin Scully's press conference prior to the game here.
  • Collectors from throughout the country have descended on the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.  Panini is running a wrapper redemption program there that is filled with scarce promos and autographs; including the Clayton Kershaw autographed card on the right.  Check out more photos of what they are giving away here.
  • Huh?  So, the Dodgers completed their trade with the Cubs by sending Class-A pitcher Jonathan Martinez to Chicago for infielder Darwin Barney.  Then, they optioned Barney to Albuquerque.  Apparently, he's not coming to Los Angeles right away, but will likely be here when the rosters expand later in the season.
  • Via Steve Dilbeck at The LA Times, "Vin Scully will never understand how deeply he's touched us."
“In all honesty, I don’t ever feel I’ve done anything,” he said. “Somebody will say, 'You’ve done 19 no-hitters and three perfect games.’ And I think I just happened to be there. It’s not something I can take any pride in. I am humbled, believe me, for being given the honor of working the games all these years.
“I couldn’t say goodbye,” Scully said. “I say that in all honesty. When I come to the ballpark, I’m so happy to see Marie and Rita running the elevator. And to see James and Robert in the press box. I walk in and see most of you (reporters). Most of you are friends. I just feel like (I’m) home.

“Then I walk into the booth with Boyd and Robbie, and of course there’s Charley (Steiner) and Rick (Monday), my good pals I see every day. It’s all part of me. That’s why it will be so difficult to say goodbye.”
While not uniformly celebrated for his tools, Schebler has demonstrated enough both of power (21 HR per 600 PA) and speed (14 SB per 600 PA) as a professional to warrant some attention.
  • Via the AP on NESN, "Player Attacked With Bat By Jose Offerman Wins Nearly $1M In Lawsuit."  Do you remember when this happened in 2007?
  • Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily, "Photos, Video from 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention."
  • I just discovered a fun YouTube web series called "The Breaks" and it is made especially for card collectors.  Watch episode #1 below. 

Video Link:

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Here are some Day 1 Twitter Pics of "The National"

Following up on all of the photos I shared yesterday from the National Sports Card Collectors Convention in Cleveland, here are some more pics from today that might make you envious of everyone there. 

The show officially opened up this afternoon, with VIP ticket holders getting early entry and free autograph opportunities with former Major Leaguers Carlos Baerga, Dale Murphy and Denny McLain.  Below is Baerga, via ESPN Mint Condition on twitter:

And here is Dale Murphy with some fans, via his own twitter account.  I gotta add that I really hated Dale Murphy.  Not because he was a bad guy... Not in the least... I hated him because he always seems to kill the Dodgers.  And the way he swung that bat around, which must have been 40 inches long, just scared the living daylights out of me every time he came up to the plate.  As I now check his stats, I see that he didn't even hit us very hard, but I still feared, respected and hated the guy.

Now, on to the show.  Wheatland Auctions shares a panoramic:

WTF?  Pete Rose broke up the Beatles?  (Via VSM Sportscards on twitter)

Here's another look at Topps tiny pavilion, via SCC Trading Cards:

Leaf, on the other hand, pulled out all of the stops.  Via SCC Trading Cards:

ThoseBackPages shows us some incredible vintage cards in a case.

Here's Panini's booth, via SportsCardNews:

Here's Upper Deck, via Chris Harris of Stale Gum:

Finally, here's a game-used Babe Ruth bat at the Memory Lane booth, via Jamie Taylor on twitter:

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Check out this Great Willard Mullin Brooklyn "Bum" Drawing at Hile High

Willard Mullin is one of my favorite all-time favorite sports artist, so whenever I run across some of his work I just can't help but share it here.  For instance, Mile High Card Co's current August 2014 auction includes an original drawing of Mullin's Brookyn Dodger "Bum" leaning over a bewildered gentleman who represents the Cardinals.  It is titled "the Diagnostician."  See it above, and check out the auction here.

This particular drawing appeared in the June 28, 1950 edition of the Sporting News (which you can see below).  Click on any pic to embiggen.

At this point in the season the Dodgers and Cardinals were still battling it out in the National League.  The Dodgers were holding on to a half game lead over the Phillies and a game lead over the Cardinals.  Unfortunately, the season wouldn't finish like that.  The Phillies would go on to win the NL, but lost to the Yankees in the World Series, four straight.
(Auction Link)

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Dee Gordon and Bill Buckner UPDATE!! Mota, Yeager, Johnstone, Cey, Valenzuela and Jarrin

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.


Dee Gordon will be at Harry's Dugout in Whittier on Saturday, August 2nd from 11:00 Am to 12:00 PM.  Go here for more information.   Also, check out the flyer below.
Harry's Dugout
10715 Beverly Blvd. 
Whittier Ca 90601 
(310) 606-1548


This next autograph opportunity are for readers in the Fresno area.  Former Dodger Bill Buckner will be signing autographs on Friday, August 1st at the Fresno Grizzles Baseball game.  Go here for more information.
The Fresno Grizzlies have announced Major League Baseball great Bill Buckner as the featured guest for Christian Fellowship Night on Friday, August 1st at Chukchansi Park. The Grizzlies will be playing the last of a four-game series against the Reno Aces, Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Gates will open for the general public at 6:05 p.m. (5:35 p.m. for season ticket holders).

Buckner, 64, will be tossing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Grizzlies and signing autographs along the concourse for fans. After postgame Friday Night Fireworks, presented by PG&E, the Vallejo, California native will address the crowd with a speech in the Tecate Cantina (located along the left field concourse).
Chukchansi Park
1800 Tulare St
Fresno, CA 93721
UPDATE:  This is big!!  Go here for information!

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Blog Kiosk: 7/30/2014 - Dodger Links - Vin Scully is Coming Back for 2015 and is the FCC Cracking the Whip at TWC?

Blue Heaven reader Cathy was kind enough to pass along the above photo of Tommy Lasorda signing what looks like leather "sweet spot" style baseballs for an upcoming Baseball card set while in Cooperstown this past weekend.  
(Gif via Dodger Dugout)
"It is very difficult to say goodbye," said Scully. "God willing I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends including those that sit in the stands and listen as well as those at home, who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time, when I will have to say goodbye, but I've soul-searched and this is not the time."
Thank you Vin!
Wheeler specifically wants TWC to provide, within 10 days, an explanation of the arbitration process that it has proposed, how that could resolve the matter, and other steps the cable company can take to fix things if arbitration fails.  In addition, he wants FCC logounredacted copies of contracts or term sheets in SportsNet’s deal with TWC, and proposals to other pay TV distributors.
Via Chairman Wheeler: "I am writing to express my strong concern about how your actions appear to have created the inability of consumers in the Los Angeles area to watch televised games of the Los Angeles Dodgers." 
The Chairman has requested a ton of information within 10 days.  A part of me feels that their (TWC's) lobbying effort has backfired.  Now, TWC is asked to provide a slew of information, and if they do that I may have to make a freedom of information act request.  I'll have to figure out that process since it's been years since I've done that.  On the other hand, TWC can just make all of that information public themselves, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 

  • FYI, the Dodgers reinstated left-handed relief pitcher Scott Elbert from the 60-day disabled list and designated him for assignment.  Per a Dodger press release:
Elbert made 15 rehab appearances (two starts) for Dodger affiliates this year, going 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA for Rookie-advanced Ogden, Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Albuquerque as he worked his way back from 2013 Tommy John surgery. Elbert, who was originally selected by the Dodgers in the first round (17th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, last pitched in the Majors on Aug. 26, 2012 and went 3-3 with two saves and a 3.61 ERA in 120 games with the Dodgers from 2008-12.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vintage Photo of Pregame Festivites of a Navy Relief Game at Ebbets Field

In addition to the photo I shared last week (a Sandy Koufax Hickock Belt photo), I also added a photo from 1942 featuring the May 8th exhibition Baseball game between the Dodgers and Giants to my collection.

As you know, our country was embroiled in WWII, and this game (along with many others throughout the country) was organized to generate funds for the care of returning injured servicemen.  This particular game was to help the Navy Relief Fund.  All attendees payed an admission ticket price; including all participating ballplayers, coaches and umpires.  Then, all proceeds from the game were donated.  In all, they were able to collect $60,000. A photo of a used ticket stub from the event is shown on the right.

In the vintage press photo you can see they are in the midst of the pregame flag raising ceremony.  Per the description attached to the reverse of the photo:
General view during flag-raising ceremony which preceeded today's Navy Relief twilight game between the Dodgers and Giants at Ebbets Field.  Members of the home team stand at attention in foreground.  Some 40,000 fans, all paying an admission price, saw the game.
BTW, the photo is a ACME News Pictures/NEA Type I press photo.  Also, this particular game is notable, besides its assistance to the Navy, for several reasons.  It was the first twilight game in Baseball in 24 years, and it marked the debut of soon-to-be long-time Ebbets Field organist Gladys Gooding.  Gladys was the second organ player ever in a Major League stadium, and would quickly become an important part of the team.

As for who won the game, it was the Dodgers.  They defeated the Giants 7 to 6 on a 7th inning home run by Dolph Camilli.

Below is a scan of the reverse of the press photo.

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Check Out Some Early Twitter Pics of "The National"

This is one of those weekends where I'll have to live through the eyes of others.

As you know, the card show of all card shows opens this weekend in Cleveland, and unfortunately I will not be there.  But... That's OK.  In this day and age of social media there are plenty of avenues for me to get my card show fix; with exception of actually being able to add anything to my collection.  So, check out some early pics below, via various twitter accounts, of the National Sports Collectors Convention ("The National").  Most of the major exhibitors are already setting up shop and several folks are sharing what they are seeing.

Here's the outside of the Exposition Center, via Cardboard Radio.

ThoseBackPages gives us an early look at the show floor.

ThoseBackPages also shows us a very pricey unopened wax case of 1980-81 OPC Hockey that includes the Gretzky rookie card.  It's priced at an astounding $95k.  Wow!

Wheatland Auctions has a Babe Ruth and a Harper/Trout auto superfractor for sale.

VSM Sportscards shows us the Topps booth.

BTW, Topps is officially releasing their 2014 Topps Baseball mini set this weekend.  Check out this case filled with boxes, via ThoseBackPages.

Here's the Upper Deck booth near the Ferris Wheel, via VSM Sportscards.

I will definitely share more pics throughout the week, so stay tuned.

If you can't wait and you want to see more photos right away, I suggest checking out this hashtag on twitter: #NSCCShow.  I would also suggest following these folks on twitter:
Obviously, there are many more you could follow, so if I missed anyone who plans on putting up a bunch of pic please let me know.  BTW, Blowout Cards has some behind-the-scenes photos up to look through here.

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Braves Series Starts Tonight - Scheduled Autograph Signings, Game Give Aways and Other Stuff!

The next homestand starts this evening against the Atlanta Braves, and several old-tyme Dodgers will be in the house to sign free autographs for fans.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

Tuesday, July 29th at 7:10 PM
RHP Josh Beckett vs. RHP Aaron Harang

Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM. This might be the coolest thing ever.  The first 40,000 fans will receive a Vin Scully 65th Anniversary Talking Microphone.  When you push a button you hear Vin Scully say, "It's time for Dodger Baseball."  Watch it here.  See it on the right.

Internationally renowned Rock Opera singer Alexander Kariotis will perform the national anthem. 

Former Dodgers Tim Leary (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Billy Ashley (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Gabriel Bocanegra. He enlisted in 1994 and immediately following boot camp was sent to train as a Hospital Corpsman learning preventive and Navy Environmental medicine. He is currently serving at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego providing care for sick and wounded sailors and marines. He has served nine deployments including Afghanistan and a tour in Iraq. Bocanegra’s accolades include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement and Commendation medals.
Wednesday, July 30th at 7:10 PM
RHP Zack Greinke vs. LHP Alex Wood

Wednesday's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM.  The Dodgers are hosting Japan Night at the Stadium.  Go here for information.  The Japan Pom Pom Girls and LA Matsuri Taiko will perform prior to the game. and the National Anthem sung by 2011 Nisei Week Queen Erika Makiko Olsen.  Her court will also be in attendance.

Also, LPGA champion and Pasadena native Mo Martin will throw the ceremonial first pitch. 

For this special day the Dodgers have created a Teriyaki Dog.  See it on the right.   It's an all-beef hotdog with Japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce, caramelized onions and nori seaweed.  It is available on this day only at the extreme loaded dog concession stands on the Field, Loge and Reserve levels. 

Former Dodgers Tommy Davis (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Dennis Powell (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  Also, in celebration of Japan Day an origami workshop will be offered in the right-field pavilion plaza from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Steven De Avila. De Avila enlisted in 2001 and served with three other squadrons prior to being assigned to the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 75 based in San Diego. As the lead Petty Officer of Aviation Mechanic and the squadron’s head mechanic he is in charge of ensuring the maintenance on 11 MH-6oR Helicopters. He has been deployed to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf on 3 occasions in addition to tours in Japan and the Pacific Rim. His accolades include five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Iraqi Campaign Medal and a battle Efficiency Medal.
Thursday, July 31st at 7:10 PM
LHP Clayton Kershaw vs. RHP Julio Teheran

Thursday's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM.  It is another Dodger bobblehead day. The first 50,000 fans will receive 30HR Club Bobblehead (Baker, Cey, Garvey, Smith).  See the bobblehead on the right.

Members of the 30 HR club Ron Cey and Reggie Smith will throw the ceremonial first pitch. Interscope Recording artist and LA native Jasmin V will perform the national anthem. 

Former Dodgers Matt Luke (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Derrel Thomas (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army National Guard Sergeant First Class Daniel Acuna, who enlisted in 2002. He currently serves with HHB 1-144 FA as a Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems Specialist and a Firefinder Radar Operator. His deployments include Kandahar, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Guantanamo Bay Cuba. Acuna’s accolades include the Bronze Star, Nato Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

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Blog Kiosk: 7/29/2014 - Dodger Links - TWC Accepts Binding Arbitration in Cable Dispute

Dork!  Clayton Kersahw was on the Jimmy Kimmel Show last night, pic above via @JimmyKimmelLive on twitter.  You can watch much of Clayton's interview on YouTube here and here.
  • The 35th annual National Sports Collectors Convention ("The National") opens tomorrow in Cleveland, and I plan on posting up and sharing as many great photos as I can find on social media.  In the meantime, check out the Yasiel Puig Panini America wrapper promo card on the right.
  • Blowout Cards has put up some behind-the-scene photos from their setup at "The National" in Cleveland here.  I wish so much I was going.  Heck, I wish they would bring the big show out west.
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, Stan Kasten supports binding arbitration to solve distribution of SportsNet LA.
“We’ve heard a lot of things on both sides of this equation,” Kasten added. “This is a way to cut through all that. We’ll let an arbitrator decide who’s right and who’s wrong, and we can move on. And we don’t need to wait for the outcome of the arbitration. Once both sides agree to submit, we can turn the games on right away and they can figure out the price later.”
This is very interesting.  It's obvious that the Dodgers/TWC are trying to add some political pressure to the equation;  i.e. doing some heavy lobbying.  Will it work?  Who knows?  Time Warner has already indicated that they will accept arbitration, but it remains to be seen if the other providers will fold under the pressure.  
Thirty-one times, the 27-year-old Korean made use of an updated slider he learned from Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, inducing swinging strikes galore from the San Francisco Giants.
But most of the time, it wasn't really about the game itself. It was about a genuine and mutual love for the Dodger organization. The players. The coaches. Vin Scully. That beautiful stadium on top of the hill with a great view of downtown. It was something that brought us closer even though we didn't always have time together. 

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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Joy of a Completed Set: 1970 Topps Comic Booklets

Do you know that feeling when you spend some time looking through your collection only to realize that you are missing something?  Yhea... I felt that a week or so ago.

I was looking through my oddball insert set binder and came across the 1970 Topps Comic Booklet set.  For those who do not know, a booklet was inserted into every pack of 1970 Topps Baseball.  There are a total of 24 booklets to the set, and they are fairly common and inexpensive.  A complete set can be purchased for less than $50 - sometimes much less if you're patient.

I've had this set for a number of years, but never spent any time looking through them.  So, I decided to checkout the comic artwork and quickly realized I was missing a booklet for a complete set.  Booklet #14, the Ernie Banks, was nowhere to be found.  So, I quickly went on eBay and found an affordable copy to complete my set.  WooHoo!

Check out a scan of the entire set below:

There is only one booklet for each team, and Dodger starter Bill Singer was our representative.  I decided to scan this entire booklet to share with you.  Check it out below.

#17 Bill Singer

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Welcome to the Blue, Darwin Barney!

Imagine that, a trade that actually gets completed isn't one that was bandied about all over the rumor mill.  Instead, there were only brief mentions, and it elicited hardly a whisper.

The Dodgers made a trade with the Cubs for Darwin Barney, via Chris Cotillo on twitter:

According to a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired infielder Darwin Barney and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Barney, 28, won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award at second base in 2012 and has a .990 combined fielding percentage at second base, third base and shortstop in five Major League seasons with Chicago-NL from 2010-14. He has paced NL second basemen in fielding percentage in each of the last two seasons, posting a .997 mark in 2012 and a .993 mark in 2013. In 542 career games at the plate, he has a .244 career batting average with 18 home runs and 146 RBI, but has been at his best against NL West opponents during the course of his career with a .273 average (99-for-363) in 107 games.
Barney is no-hit great-glove infielder who will likely be a defensive option off the bench.  He won a gold glove as a 2nd baseman in 2012, but is just a .244 lifetime hitter.  On July 22nd he was DFA'd by the Cubs, so you had to figure other teams might want to add him just because of his glove.  Heck, with the Dan Uggla experiment failing spectacularly in San Francisco this weekend I would think the Giants might have been interested.  Now, the Dodgers scuttle any chance a competitor grabs Barney's glove for the stretch run.  At this time it is unknown who on the Dodger roster will be sent down to the minors to make room for him.

Also, I wonder if the recent Erisbel Arruebarrena scuttlebutt over the weekend was the real motivation for this trade.  You would think that Erisbel would be our natural defensive replacement off the bench down the stretch, but his recent fight in AAA has likely put a squash to that notion. 

In celebration of Darwin Barney officially becoming a Dodger, I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo grabbed from of Barney and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.  I also couldn't help but make the fantasy card on the right.  Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:

Also, Beto Duran on twitter pointed to a great video featuring Darwin Barney with the Batting Stance Guy at Dodger Stadium.  Check that out below.

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Blog Kiosk: 7/28/2014 - Dodger Links - A Sweep of the Giants and Should the FCC Get Involved?

Woo Hoo!  Dodgers swept the Giants this weekend.  They now find themselves with a 1.5 game lead over the gnats.  The top play of the afternoon was Dee Gordon scoring on the wild-pitch strike out to Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the 5th inning.  Watch it here.  The photo above of Dee scoring via @MLB on twitter.  The Dodgers would then quickly score two more runs to take a 4 to 2 lead.  They would eventually win the game 4 to 3.

BTW, the Dodger got key offensive contributions from the #4 to #7 batters in their lineup.  They recorded 6 hits; including a run-scoring triple by Crawford, a run-scoring single by Uribe and a pair of hits by both Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp.  It appears the "Boys in Blue" are taking it to another level for the second half of the season.

Of special note, Matt Kemp is looking very good at the plate.  He looks comfortable and is starting to lay off pitches out of the zone.  As a result, he is starting to hit the ball square and being rewarded for his patience with some timely hits.  Unfortunately, we have yet to see any real power, but that is to be expected.  Considering the kind of shoulder injury he was dealing with you shouldn't expect him to hit like the old Matt just yet.  It's likely we won't see anything like that until this time next season.  In the meantime, he's accepted the reality that he can't drive the ball like he used to and is happy to just "hit 'em where they ain't."

Check out a bunch of photos from yesterdays game via Jon SooHoo here.  Below are some more Dodger links:
“We have a chance to possibly achieve something here. That’s above everything else,” he said. “It makes everything worth going through.”
"We may not do anything. We still have a club with upside to it," said Colletti. "There's still more from this club as it's constituted. But historically, we've been active in July and August, too. We'll see what we can do.

"I think we have the players here that can win."

  • Via Larry Brown Sports, "Reno Aces and Albuquerque Isotopes in major brawl (Video)."  This was no shoving match - It was a rumble!  Larry Brown has a couple of videos of the melee. Per Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, 10 players were ejected (4 Isotopes and 6 Aces); including Cuban Erisbel Arruebarrena. He will definately get a huge suspension, so you shouldn't expect him in LA for quite some time.  Another video of the incident can be seen here.  BTW, the day after this fight Arruebarrena was reassigned to Single-A ball, via JP Hoornstra at Inside the Dodgers.
  • Via Joe Flint of the LA Times, "FCC should help reach deal to end Dodgers TV standoff, lawmakers say"
Seven members of Congress led by Rep. Tony Cardenas are calling on the FCC to mediate an agreement between Time Warner Cable and distributors.

"Consumers deserve the opportunity to watch their program of choice," Cardenas wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "The ongoing stalemate between Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV providers has reached a point where mediation by the FCC is necessary."

Co-signing the letter with Cardenas were Democratic House members Lucille Roybal-Allard, Judy Chu, Alan Lowenthal, Linda Sanchez, Janice Hahn and Julia Brownley.
I'm not sure if this is a great idea, but I guess anything is worth a try.
  • In an obvious move to reduce the chances that PED ballplayers make the Hall of Fame, they decide to cut short the eligibility period from 15-years to 10-years, via an Associated Press report on ESPN.
  • Oh, boy!  This is a major Fan Foul!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Dodger Videos: Scully, Rickles and the Baseball Bunch

Here are this Sunday's Dodger videos.

Via In Focus on ESPN, a short clip of Vin Scully explaining how he decides if we will return each season.  I just took down the video because I can't turn off "autoplay".  Just go to this link to watch the Scully video.
Video Link:

Awesome!  Check out this vintage video of Don Rickles joining the Dodgers as a coach.  Tommy Lasorda invited him in to be tough on the guys.  He lambast Pedro Guerrero, Bill Russell, Bill Madlock and Steve Sax.  I am unsure exactly when this was originally filmed.

Video Link:

I ran into this full episode video of the Baseball Bunch and knew I had to share it.  This show was a must watch for youthful Baseball fans who grey up in the early to mid-80's.  It was the most important show to watch every Saturday morning.  This episode is from 1986 and features Johnny Bench, Ozzie Smith, Graig Nettles and the San Diego Chicken. 

Video Link:

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