Friday, March 28, 2014

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: March 28, 2014 vs. Angels

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.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Garrett Richards vs. RHP Zach Lee
Friday, March 28, 2014, 7:10 p.m. | Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
TV: SportsNet LA RADIO: AM 570 KLAC (ENG), KTNQ 1020 AM (SPAN)

(Pujols, Mota, Puig and Gonzalez, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

BACK TO SPRING TRAINING: After opening the 2014 Major League regular season with a pair of games against the D-backs in Australia last weekend, the Dodgers returned to exhibition play last night, losing 7-5 to the Angels. The clubs meet again tonight at Dodger Stadium before the series shifts to Anaheim for the Freeway Series finale tomorrow evening. Los Angeles won the Freeway Series last year, 2-1, and then the clubs split their four regular-season meetings, with each club protecting their home field. The clubs will play four times during the regular season this year, two games at Dodger Stadium, August 4-5, and two games in Anaheim, August 6-7.
  • The Dodgers open their North American slate on Sunday evening against the Padres on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Los Angeles will also battle the Padres on Tuesday and Wednesday before its home opener on Friday, April 4 at 1:10 p.m. against the Giants.
(At Camelback Ranch, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

LIFE IN THE DESERT: The Dodgers went 6-10-5 during Cactus League play as they matched a Los Angeles record for Spring Training ties set in 2006 (15-13-5). In 12 home dates at Camelback Ranch – Glendale, the Dodgers drew 114,402 fans, with an average crowd of 9,534, their highest average since moving to Arizona in 2009.

HIGH NUMBERS: The Dodgers’ roster will be supplemented by minor leaguers RHP Matt Magill (#36), C Tim Federowicz (#26), RHP Sam Demel (#38), RHP Zach Lee (#64), RHP Red Patterson (#78), C Jose Capellan (96), INF Miguel Rojas (#72), INF Corey Seager (#94), INF Darnell Sweeney (#87), OF Joc Pederson (#65), OF Trayvon Robinson (#90) and LHP Tom Windle (#97).

GONE HOLLYWOOD: For the second consecutive season, the Dodgers will treat their fans to baseball-themed movies after three games – Saturday, April 26 “Field of Dreams” (6:10 p.m. vs. COL), Saturday May 31 “A League of Their Own” (4:15 p.m. vs. PIT) and Saturday, August 16 “The Natural” (6:10 p.m. vs. MIL). These three iconic and family-friendly baseball films will be screened for fans following each game and screenings are free with a game-day ticket. Fans sitting in the right field pavilion and left field pavilion will be invited down to the field postgame for a better viewing experience.

: All three of the Freeway Series games will be televised by SportsNet LA, the exclusive new 24/7 TV network of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The network takes fans behind-the-scenes with the team and offers in-depth access to the organization, providing an immersive experience with never-before-seen content and thousands of hours of comprehensive Dodger programming. SportsNet LA will televise more than 140 live, regular-season Dodger games, plus a full slate of original, classic and live studio programming that focuses only on the Dodgers, covering the team in a way that it’s never been covered.

JOB FAIR: Tomorrow, the Dodgers will host their 19th annual Community Job Fair starting at 10:00 a.m. and more than 100 companies will be on hand to meet with members of the Los Angeles community. Last year, more than 5,000 job seekers from throughout Southern California gathered at the stadium to meet potential employers. This year’s Job Fair features training providers, government agencies and employers including: Kaiser Permanente, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Fairplex, Lowe’s and many more. Parking at Dodger Stadium and admission to the job fair is free. Also, free shuttle service into the stadium will be provided from the corner of Elysian Park Ave. and Sunset Blvd. Participants are encouraged to dress in business attire and bring their current resume. 

CHECK IT OUT: Tomorrow, Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game, a new exhibition exploring the team’s storied past through four players and a Hall of Fame manager, will open at the Japanese American National Museum. Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and Tommy Lasorda—each of whom made history in his own right—will be prominently featured, as will owners Branch Rickey, Walter O’Malley, and Peter O’Malley. The exhibition continues through September 14.
(Bullpen overlook, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodger 2014)

NEW AND IMPROVED!: The latest round of stadium improvements are being unveiled this week, including:
  • Expansion of the entries at the field level, with two new 25,000 square-foot plazas in right and left field.  Each plaza houses a 5,000 square-foot new team store, tickets and concessions space, as well as memorabilia to celebrate Dodger history.
  • Seating and lounging areas at bars and drink rails overlooking the bullpens in the outfield, giving focus to pitchers warming up, as well as infield game views. 
  • Two new restaurants in the outfield entrance plazas; Tommy Lasorda’s Italian Trattoria, in the right-field area of the plaza, and THINK BLUE BBQ in left-field.
  • A new public wireless system.
  • Sunset Blvd. Gate A, along Elysian Park Avenue, will feature a dedicated pedestrian entrance with new lighting in an effort to encourage fans to utilize parking lots 13 and 14.

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: MLB’s new instant replay system will be on display for the Freeway Series games as managers will have the ability to challenge one call through the sixth inning (and receive another challenge if successful) and be able to request a review of any play after the seventh inning. Los Angeles had five test runs with the system in Cactus League play.
(Zack Greinke, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodger 2014)

ZACH ATTACK: Minor league right handed-pitcher Zach Lee will make his third start of Cactus League play tonight and posted a 1-0 record with a 5.79 ERA thus far. Lee last started in an exhibition game against Team Australia on March 20 and struck out six, allowing one run on three hits in 4.0 innings, which did not count toward Cactus League stats. The 22-year-old, who was selected by the club in the first round (28th overall) of the 2010 MLB draft, went 10-10 with a 3.22 ERA in 28 games (25 starts) with Double-A Chattanooga last year, ranking among the Southern League leaders in wins (T-9th), innings pitched (142.2, 9th), strikeouts (131, 3rd) and WHIP (1.17, T-3rd).
  • Kenley Jansen is scheduled to make his eighth appearance of the spring and has allowed only two hits in 7.0 innings in his previous outings. Jansen earned his first save of the 2014 regular season on Saturday night in Australia after finishing the 2013 campaign with a career-high 28 saves in 32 opportunities and ranked among the NL relief leaders in saves (T-11th), ERA (1.88, 6th), opponents’ batting average (.177, 7th), WHIP (0.86, 2nd) and strikeouts (111, 2nd).
  • Also scheduled to pitch today are Jamey Wright, Chris Perez and Chris Withrow.

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Job Fair This Saturday at Dodger Stadium and a 'Ballgame and a Movie' at 3 Games this Season

There is a Job Fair tomorrow at Dodger Stadium, and you are all invited.   More than 100 companies who will be on hand Saturday, March 29. This year’s Job Fair features training providers, government agencies and employers including: Kaiser Permanente, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Fairplex, Lowe’s and many more.

Parking at Dodger Stadium and admission to the job fair is free. Also, free shuttle service into the stadium will be provided from the corner of Elysian Park and Sunset Blvd. Participants are encouraged to dress in business attire and bring their current resume.

WHEN:           Saturday, March 29
                        10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


Back by popular demand, the Dodgers will offering a ballgame and a movie to fans in attendance at three games this season.  As you may recall, they showed 'The Sandlot' and the Jackie Robinson biopic '42' last year.
“We’re excited to provide fans with family-friendly entertainment on the field and on the big screen with the Dodger Stadium Movie Series,” said Dodger Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen. “Last season’s screenings were so popular, we are delighted to once again offer Dodger fans the opportunity to watch their favorite baseball films here at Dodger Stadium. There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of an iconic baseball stadium as a venue to watch some of the greatest sports films.”
Here is the schedule:
  • Saturday, April 26: “Field of Dreams” (6:10 p.m. game start against Colorado)
  • Saturday, May 31: “A League of Their Own” (4:15 p.m. game start against Pittsburgh)
  • Saturday, August 16: “The Natural” (6:10 p.m. game start against Milwaukee).
We do not know yet if any actors or others involved with these films will be making an appearance that afternoon.  At both games last season, several actors and persons involved in the making of 'The Sandlot' and '42' were on hand.

Below is a pic shared by a fan (@MEGrube) on twitter from last seasons showing of The Sandlot at Dodger Stadium.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A New Martin for the Collection

I declare that Russell Martin is the best defensive catcher in Baseball.  Really, he's that good.

So good, in fact, that I believe he helped stabilize a fledgling pitching staff that had floundered in the past.  The Pittsburgh Pirates went from losing 83 games in 2012 to winning 94 the next.  It was a spectacular turnaround that saw the team become playoff contenders for the first time in recent memory.  Not one of their regular starting pitchers had an ERA above 4, and team ERA improved by over half a run.  He also helped keep base runners at bay by throwing them out at a 40% clip.

With all of this in mind, I am happy to share the newest Russell Martin autographed card for my collection.  It is a 2007 Bowman Best card.  It is super shiny.

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Spotting a Unique Ryu Patch Relic

With Opening Day about to begin in the States and Hyun-Jin Ryu the odds-on favorite to be our starting pitcher for the game, I thought it would be fun to take a look at Ryu card that striked my fancy.

I was recently perusing eBay and came across a 2013 autographed Triple Threads relic card of our Korean starter.  Check it out below.
(eBay Auction Link)

As you can see, the game-used uniform piece does not include your typical Dodger Blue patch in it.  Instead, it sports camouflage brown, and I had to find out more about it. 

(Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)
As you may recall, on Memorial Day last year (May 27th, 2013) the Dodgers wore commemorative camouflage uniforms in honor of the armed forces, and Topps was able to acquire Ryu's uniform to put into some of his cards.  Like the various cards of Puig and Kershaw that have popped up with St. Patrick's Day green uniform pieces, this Ryu card captures a unique time in Dodger history on cardboard.

Due to the wonderful work of Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo we can see photos from that day.  Go here to check them out.  I wonder if the Dodgers will wear similar uniforms later this year.
(Hyun-Jin Ryu, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

BTW, it appears that Topps has decided to use these unique Memorial Day Ryu patches on cards with very limited print runs, so they appear to be scarce.  Below is another card (this time a '1 of  1') with the camouflage brown patch.
(eBay Auction Link)

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Feels Like We're Treading Water - Kasten Speaks About Cable Impasse

Prior to Thursday's exhibition game, Dodgers President Stan Kasten spoke with the press regarding the frustrating mess the current cable TV negotiations have been.  As you surely know, besides a handful of smaller providers, only Time Warner Cable customers have the ability to enjoy the Dodgers television channel - SportsNet LA.

Facing the pressure of an unhappy fanbase, Kasten made some comments, and I'm sure you'll want to check them out.  So, here they are.  BTW, I also added my own comments.

Please keep in mind, these quotes were provided to me by Time Warner Cable's PR group, so take this with a grain of salt.  I'm certain that this press conference was a desire to express some real frustration and part orchestrated PR move.

  • "I've been in the cable TV business my entire professional life, including 27 years at TBS, and I have never seen a better quality baseball broadcast than the one SportsNet LA now puts on."
OK, so Kasten is laying it on thick... And, I don't blame him.  SportsNet LA has been good, but I do see room for improvement. 
  • "I am disappointed that deals haven't been closed yet...With the first regular season game coming on Tuesday, I am now concerned that some fans are going to start to not be able to see the games. And that's disappointing and shouldn't be happening.
Frankly, I find the above a bit dishonest.  What did they expect would happen when they signed the mega-tv deal?  Hasn't it been the norm for carriage disputes to last unit the very last moment?  What we are seeing now between TWC and all the carriers should have been expected.
  • "I do occasionally see rhetoric that is disappointing because it's disingenuous. For instance, when some cable providers say, 'Gee, we think the Dodgers should be a la carte.' All these providers know that there is not another team in all of baseball whose games are a la carte anywhere. Including, interestingly enough, on the cable systems owned by these same providers with their own RSNs. They don't do it for themselves and by the way those same providers have their deals at higher prices for bigger packages than have been offered to them right now.
I agree with the above.
  • "The other thing that's particularly irritating in terms of disingenuous rhetoric is when some of them say, 'We're not really seeing the demand for the Dodgers.' That doesn't pass the laugh test because you know about the attendance not just here, but we also led baseball in road attendance. We have the highest number of season tickets we've ever had; it is the highest in all of Major League Baseball.  Last year our TV ratings didn't go up by 2% or 4%, they went up by 40% and look to be higher this year. So come up with some other excuse because the reality is, in the history of this franchise, it is likely that right now is the time with the greatest interest that our team has ever had."
All of the above is true.  The Dodgers have signed up 35,000 season ticket holders and have already sold 3,000,000 total tickets before the season has even started.  The demand for the Dodgers is there, and I suspect the fans will roar when they realize the season has started and they can't watch Dodger Baseball.
  • "My suggestions to the fans that still do not have Dodger games is to tell your provider that you want the games. If you do that, you will get the games. They  have to be told as many times as necessary that you want the games, that's what they're in business for. If you tell them that, they will provide it. And if it's not happening quickly enough for you, my other suggestion is to go to a provider that is providing it....Letting your provider know is at the end of the day what's going to get all of the games on TV."
Unfortunately, the burden of this mess falls on the fans.  We are left to scream and beg, while at the same time knowing that it is all out of our hands.  If cable providers haven't heard the demand from fans yet, I suspect they will once the season starts. 

Heck, I know of more than one fan who is willing to cut cable out of their life entirely if they can't get SportsNet LA.  Who needs cable if you can watch all your shows online, and its only benefit is sports?
  • On price: "Let me assure you that we're talking about market rates and very consistently what's out there now, and that's what's disappointing...This is not about price, the price is consistent with the market place. In fact, to be blunt, some of these people, and they know who they are, are already on their own systems paying more than the price that's out there to teams in smaller markets. That's the truth. This is not about price, it's about the negotiating game."
Unfortunately, this whole situation puts egg on everybody's face.  They all look bad.

Pic at the very top of Stan Kasten, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014

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Blog Kiosk: 3/28/2014 - Dodgers Links - Guerrero Strained a Muscle, Kershaw UNder Watch and AGon Leaves Game Early

Check out Trout and Puig at the Freeway Series, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.
  • Via Howard Cole at LA Weekly, "10 (Mostly) Dodgers Books to Get You Through the TV Blackout".  It's a good list.  I think my favorite of the bunch is the Charles Conlon book of vintage photographs.  Conlon was a photographic master, and his photos of the game from the early part of the 20th century are a must see for any fan.
  • Via Dan Arritt at, "Guerrero latest to suffer an injury".
Alex Guerrero had strained the intercostal muscles that run along his ribs, sidelining him indefinitely. 
  • Via Matt Snyder at CBS Sports, "Dodgers ticket sales are ridiculous, per Stan Kasten".  The Dodgers have already sold 35,000 season tickets and 3,000,000 total game tickets before the start of the regular seson.  Wow!
  • True to the Blue shares their experience at the TWC SportsNet Dodger viewing party for the games in Australia.
  • Scott Miller at, "Dodgers wait to reevaluate Kershaw's status".
"[Friday] he's allowed to play catch, so we'll see where he's at," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's really on hold."
"He had two at-bats, he was going to get one more, [but it] didn't seem to be worth it," Mattingly said. "Might as well get ice on that thing and try to keep the swelling down." 

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