Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vin Scully Told a Story of the Day He Wore a Dodger Uniform, Once Upon a Time

This might very well be the greatest Vin Scully story I have ever heard.

For those of you who do not have SportsNet LA yet, I figured I would transcribe what I thought was the best moment from tonight's opening presentation of the new Dodger channel.

It was from the "Access SportsNet: Dodgers" show, and a group of their broadcasters interviewed Vin Scully.

Orel Hershiser asked the following question:
"What is it like to have never put the Dodger uniform on, but to be the most famous Dodger ever?"
In classic Vin style, he deflected any notion that he's the most famous, and instead recounted a story I had never heard him tell.
Well, um... Number 1, I'll pass on that most famous Dodger, but actually I did put the uniform on, once.

We were in Chicago for a series, and for whatever reason we weren't broadcasting... and Tommy Lasorda said to me "have you ever watched a game from the dugout?"

And, I said, "no."

And, he said, "well, we have a uniform, you can sit in the dugout with us."

I said, "I'll go, but you must ask the umpires, and if they agree, cause I don't want them looking over and throwing me out of the game."

So, the umpires said yes, I put on a uniform, snuck in to the dugout, sat down with the cap pulled over my eye, and I figured no one knows except the team.

And, at the bottom of the 1st inning John Vukovich, God rest his soul, the 1st base coach of the Cubs, is running across towards the box.

And, as he goes by the dugout he hollers, "Vinny!"

And, I'm startled.  And, he throws a ball, and I catch the ball.  And, written on the ball, it says:

"If a fight breaks out, I want you" ... And, it's signed by Don Zimmer...

I look over and all the Cubs are falling on the floor, so it was the worse kept secret.

So, I did wear one Dodger uniform, once upon a time.

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

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Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Full-Squad Workout #12

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.
(Contemplative Puig, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

TAKE IT EASY: The Dodgers completed their 12th full-squad workout today, a shortened tuneup before the club’s Cactus League opener tomorrow at Talking Stick against the D-backs. Tomorrow’s game will be the Dodgers’ first of 21 games in Arizona with the club playing 25 total exhibitions this spring, including a game against Team Australia (March 20 in Sydney) and the Freeway Series (March 27-29 in Southern California).
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chad Billingsley, Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell, Matt Magill and Yimi Garcia threw normal bullpens today, while Josh Beckett, Paul Maholm and Stephen Fife threw live BP on the minor league side.
(Kemp and Etheir gab away, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

FOR REAL (ALMOST): The lineup for tomorrow’s game against Arizona was already posted this morning in the Dodger clubhouse with Chone Figgins leading off at shortstop followed by Carl Crawford in left field, Yasiel Puig in right field, Juan Uribe at third base, Joc Pederson in center field, Scott Van Slyke at first base, Tim Federowicz at catcher, Alex Guerrero at second base and Justin Turner as the designated hitter. Clayton Kershaw will be the starting pitcher and will be followed to the mound by Seth Rosin, Ross Stripling, Javy Guerra, Jose Dominguez, Sam Demel and Daniel Moskos (L).

LAUNCH PARTY: The new 24-hour-a-day network of the Dodgers, SportsNet LA, will premier tonight at 7:00 p.m. PT with original programming. Tonight’s lineup will feature a live studio show “Access SportsNet: Dodgers,” the inaugural episode of “Backstage: Dodgers,” back-to-back “Connected With…” interview shows featuring Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly and a one-hour retrospective special about last year’s season.
  • This spring, SNLA will televise all of this year’s Dodger Cactus League games, with the exception of two split-squad games, giving fans more Spring Training coverage than ever before. Vin Scully will call four Cactus League contests, including games tomorrow and Thursday.
  • SNLA’s programming lineup will include shows “Backstage: Dodgers,” “Access SportsNet: Dodgers,” “Leadoff LA,” “Dodgers Clubhouse,” “Connected With,” “Talkin’ Blue,” “Dodgermentary,” “Timeless Dodgers” and “Dodgers Squeeze Play.” For more information, please visit www.ineedmydodgers.com.
  • SportsNet LA will be available to Time Warner Cable’s customers in the Los Angeles area with Standard TV service or above in high definition (HD) on channel 431 and in standard definition (SD) on digital channel 249.
(The Dodgers broadcast crew, pic via @alannarizzo on twitter)

OVER THE AIRWAVES: The Dodgers announced their Spring Training radio schedule earlier today, which includes 15 broadcasts on AM 570 Fox Sports Los Angeles (KLAC) and eight broadcasts in Spanish on Univision America 1020 (KTNQ). Tomorrow’s game can be heard in both English and Spanish and the full broadcast schedule can be found on Dodgers.com.
  • The Dodgers’ English-language radio broadcast will be led by a combination of Rick Monday (8 play-by-play, 7 analyst), Charley Steiner (7 play-by-play) and Nomar Garciaparra (5 analyst). Monday begins his 22nd season as a Dodger broadcaster and 30th overall with the organization, including eight as a player. Steiner enters his 10th season as a play-by-play announcer for the team. Garciaparra, who enters his first season with the Dodgers as a broadcaster, played three seasons for the Dodgers (2006-08) in his 14-year Major League career.
  • Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrín, Pepe Yñiguez and legendary Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela will call the action in Spanish for the Dodgers. Jarrín enters his 56th season in the Dodgers’ Spanish-language radio booth and Yñiguez will begin his 16th. Valenzuela enters his 12th season calling games for the Dodgers after a 17-year playing career.

GIVING BACK: Following Friday’s game between the Dodgers and White Sox, Camelback Ranch-Glendale and the two clubs will host a clinic for youngsters from the Glendale Youth Project and Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix. 2014 marks the second year that the clubs have hosted a youth clinic during Spring Training and is just one of the many Camelback Ranch community initiatives, which include food drives, Home Runs for Life (honoring patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Phoenix Children’s Hospital) and a Read Across America Day event at Glendale’s Main Public Library. Dodger prospects Joc Pederson, Zach Lee and Jarret Martin will represent the club at Friday’s event.
(Don Mattingly, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

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Some Spring Photos from Camelback Ranch

Clearly, the best Spring Training photos are the ones shared by fans.

Blue Heaven reader Cathy was kind enough to share some of her photos from Camelback Ranch.  As you may recall, her son Christian has been all over the Dodgers Kingdom the past couple of years.

I had first written about his Baseball exploits in a post in 2012 - that you can read here, and have followed up on his Dodger adventure at numerous points since that time.  He threw out the first pitch from the mound one evening, and gained some fame on Reddit when his photo from that first pitch was featured during a PhotoshopBattle.  So, I am happy to report that Christian will be back at Camelback Ranch later this week to throw out the first pitch during the first home game of Spring.  Be sure to say hello if you'll be out there. 

Now, check out some photos below.  (BTW, if you have any photos you'd like to share please pass them along.  I would be happy to put them up.)  Click any pic to embiggen.  On the left is Dee Gordon, and on the right is Joc Pederson.

Now, I am super envious.  Take a look at some of the mementos Christian took home.

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The Don Drysdale 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet

Here is another post featuring the 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet set.  Go here to see my past post showcasing this set; including complete scans of both the Vin Scully/Jerry Doggett and Walter Alston booklets.  This time I share the Don Drysdale Booklet.

This Dodger needs little introduction.  Don Drysdale was a force-of-nature on the mound.  He was feisty and unforgiving.  If you irked him while he was pitching, he let you know it - usually, with a high-hard one. Foremost, Drysdale was just as effective on the mound as he was intimidating. 

He lead the league in strike outs 3 times, won the CY Young Award in 1962 and is a 3X World Series Champion.  Unsurprisingly, he also lead the league in hit-batters 5 times.  It's like he was constantly battling the notion of throwing a strike or at you.  BTW, he currently holds the modern National League record for hit batsman at 154.  Unfortunately, chronic shoulder problems ended his career at the age of 33.  The 8-time All-Star was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

For many of todays Dodgers fans, he is best remembered as a broadcaster.  He worked in Los Angeles from 1988 til his death in 1993.  Drysdale is especially remembered for his 1988 World Series radio call of Kirk Gibson's game winning home run.  (Thanks to Joshua Suchon you can listen to it on youtube, here)
Eckersley working out of the stretch, here's the three-two pitch...and a drive hit to right field (losing voice) WAY BACK! THIS BALL IS GONE!  (After 2 minutes of crowd noise) This crowd will not stop! They can't believe the ending! And this time, Mighty Casey did NOT strike out!!!!
Below are complete scans of every page from Don Drysdale's 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet.  Click any pic to embiggen.

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2014 Topps Tribute Baseball - The Dodgers Base Cards

Topps released another new Baseball card set last week.  It is called 2014 Topps Tribute, and it's a high-end offering filled with numerous autographs and game-used relics.  Go here for a complete checklist.

There are five Dodgers' in the 100-card base set.  See them all below.  I'll have pics of most of the Dodgers inserts over the next couple of days.

#37 Clayton Kershaw                             #72 Adrian Gonzalez

#82 Sandy Koufax                                    #89 Matt Kemp

#92 Yasiel Puig

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Blog Kiosk: 2/25/2014 - Dodgers Links - A Catcher Rule, SportsNet LA Starts Tonight and Kershaw to Start Exhibition Opener

Clayton Kershaw checked in at short stop yesterday.  Hanley Ramirez told him to leave.  Pic above via @Dodgers on twitter.
"The one thing I hate about the rule is it takes away the game-changing or game-saving play. It's something we train for, we prepare for, and can be the difference between a win or a loss. It's similar to robbing a home run or turning a tough double play in the middle. Those are plays that are at risk for injury and I don't see those plays being taken away."
  • BTW, SportsNet LA officially goes live tonight.  For those with Time Warner cable here are the channels:
    (graphic above via @alannarizzo on twitter)
Burke's homosexuality was an open secret in big league circles by the time he was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Oakland A's in 1978 and contributed to his eventually getting blackballed from baseball.  The man who invented the "high five," the player who led off the 1977 World Series, and the human being that suffered the indignation of losing his place on a big league roster because of his homosexuality, was out of baseball as he entered what would have been the prime of his career.
"Any time you go out and have success, it feels good," he said. "I was amped up. But I still have quite a few things to work on." 
The 2010 edition, the fifth update, was thought to be the last. However, popular demand, contributions and encouragement from supporters – and a whole new crop of players along with World Baseball Classic participation – has led to a new, 2014 edition, available now for preorder.

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