Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Never Really Easy - The Dodgers Win a Scrappy One This Afternoon

What a performance by Ryu on the mound today.  He went 7 strong innings, allowed 4 hits, struck out 3 and gave up 0 runs.  (Watch highlights here) He's been absolutely phenomenal in his sophomore season, and continues to prove that he is much better than a #3 pitcher.  Heck, going back to last year, Ryu has pitched 27 straight scoreless innings on the road.  Wow!

And boy, did we need him to continue his dominance.  The Dodgers offense sputtered for the 3rd straight game against the Giants.  Some may bicker and scream that the Dodgers are on a road to batter's hell, but I think otherwise.  I think it's likely that the Giants are just that good. They have a great pitching staff, and I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to butt heads with them throughout the year.  That being said, it's nice to be leaving the Bay Area tied up with them in the Western Division.

As you surely know by now, Yasiel Puig had quite a day in the 2nd inning out on the field.  First, with a man on 1st base and Brandon Hicks at bat this happened:

Video Link:

Puig tried to make a one-handed catch, bobbled, dropped it, scrambled, then threw out the advancing runner on a force-out.  Wow!

Then, later on, this happened:

Video Link:

Holy Moly!  What was that?  And, could anything be stranger than that half inning?

I think not!

Anyway, the Dodgers scrapped to take a 2-run lead on the Giants on some timely hitting.  Then, the Dodger relievers decided to make it interesting by allowing runners into scoring position in their two innings.  Fortunately, Brian Wilson (who pitched for the first time since coming off the DL) and Kenley Jansen held their own.  It wasn't pretty, but I've come to understand that what Vinny said is true.
“Throughout the history of the organization... Over the years... Nothing has come easy.”
Don't you know it Vin!

Pic at the very top via @Dodgers on twitter.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Go Kings Go! Game 1 is Tonight!

I love this time of year.  The coming of Spring denotes not only the start of a new Baseball season, but also the beginning of the NHL second season. 

Tonight is Game 1 for the Kings, and I am beyond excited.  Heck, my emotions are bouncing off the walls in anticipation of tonight's match-up between the Kings and San Jose Sharks.

It's a reprise of last years playoffs.  These two teams met each other in Round 2 last year, as the Kings beat San Jose by taking advantage of home ice and winning every game at the Staples Center. 

This year, San Jose has home ice advantage, and I suspect we'll see much of the same game play we witnessed last season.  They'll be checking each other at every opportunity.  Skirmishes along the boards will no doubt be frenzied. 

San Jose will attempt to use their speed to coax the Kings to play a run-n-gun style.  They clearly have the better brand of forwards - like sparkly crystals with a luster that is difficult to scratch.  The Kings will try to continue their disciplined play centered around defense and puck possession.  They have the best goalie in the NHL, and have a defense that gave up the fewest goals in the entire league. 

We are about to witness a majestic battle between two foes that have no love for one another, and I think it's safe to say that the hard feelings that exist will not be satisfied when the dust settles.

All I know is that the Kings are a scrappy bunch.  They will scratch, claw and fight for every inch. 

So, get ready to be entertained with the best hockey you can imagine.

BTW, the Sharks are already whining and complaining about Kings Captain Dustin Brown; as if he's the son of satan and hockey's version of Yasiel Puig.  All I gotta say is STOP crying and just play! 

Finally, I'll leave you with the below tweet from Adam Bretz.

Puck possession stats is the key sabermetrics stat in hockey, and fortunately the Kings rule in that department.  Of course, anything can happen in the playoffs, but this sure does put a smile on my face.  You'll know things are going well for the Kings if you notice that they are winning face-offs and can control the pace of play by skillfully managing the puck.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A Couple of Johnny Podres 2014 Supreme Cards from Asia

Last year, Topps release a couple of card sets exclusively to the Asian market.  Actually, at first (if I remember correctly) they produced several 2013 Topps Museum Baseball cases that had a distinctly Asian flavor to them.  It had all of the same cards available in the North American cases, but had some added cards and parallels included that were meant to appeal to Asian area fans.  For instance, there are numerous Yu Darvish autograph and relic cards that can only be found in Asian edition cases. 

Assuming this was a success in their sales strategy, Topps decided to create a new Baseball card brand that would be available only in Asia.  They called it 2013 Topps Supreme.  Go here to check out my post from last year featuring Dodger cards in the set. 

Naturally, I had to seek them out and add a few to my collection.  What I found was a great design and cards that were very inexpensive in the secondary market.

Check out the two new Johnny Podres autographed cards that I added to my collection in this post.  The above card is a base Supreme Autographed card of Podres, and below is a Supreme Stylings autographed card.  I was able to snag them for about $15 bucks total, and shipping from Asia was cheap - meaning, much cheaper than I imagined and comparable to US shipping prices.

I've got a couple more cards coming my way, and I hope to find some more deals in the future.  Unfortunately, autographed cards from a player like Puig or Koufax remain extremely high, so there's no chance I'll be able to snag one of them.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2014 Gypsy Queen Baseball - The Dodger Rarities

This is my last post featuring Dodger cards that can be found in packs of 2014 Gypsy Queen.  See my previous post on this set here.  Below are the scarce insert Dodger cards.

Clear Mini cards are all "1 of 1's," and 8 Dodger players are available.  Below is a checklist of Dodger players available.  I also have photos of the Sandy Koufax Clear Mini card.  As you can see, the background of the Koufax photo is clear.

Clear Mini Base Cards

  • #105 Hanley Ramirez
  • #243 Matt Kemp
  • #244 Carl Crawford
  • #250 Sandy Koufax
  • #276 Duke Snider
  • #300 Clayton Kershaw
  • #314 Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • #350 Yasiel Puig
#250 Sandy Koufax

Below are the two Dodger Original Art Patch cards in the Gypsy Queen set.  Both cards were painted by noted Baseball artist Monty Sheldon.  He was kind enough to forward along photos of both of the cards to me.  Check out his Facebook page (here) for more great pics of his artwork.  Also, I shared an interview with him last year that you can check out here.

Original Art Patch Cards

#OAP-CK Clayton Kershaw                         #OAP-YP Yasiel Puig

The next group of insert cards are manufactured patch Hometown Flag cards.  They are numbered to just 5 copies for each player, and 7 Dodger players are represented in the set.  Below is a checklist, and photos of the cards that have been found so far.

Hometown Flags

  • #GQHF-AG Adrian Gonzalez
  • #GQHF-CK Clayton Kershaw
  • #GQHF-HR Hanley Ramirez
  • #GQHF-HR Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • #GQHF-SK Sandy Koufax
  • #GQHF-YP Yasiel Puig
  • #GQHF-ZG Zack Greinke

#GQHF-HR Hyun-Jin Ryu

#GQHF-SK Sandy Koufax

#GQHF-YP Yasiel Puig

I love these relic cards with uniform buttons attached to them.  There are two Dodger players with Mini Button Cards.  Only the Puig card has surfaced, and it is currently available at auction, here.  The other card is of Zack Greinke (#GMB-ZG).

Mini Button Cards

#GMB-YP Yasiel Puig

Triple Button Cards

#TBC-KPR Puig, Kershaw & Ramirez

The next group of scarce insert cards are Mini Birth Year Penny cards.  The inserted penny has a print date that corresponds to the players year of birth.  Seven Dodger players have a card.  Below is a checklist, and photos of the cards that have been found so far.

Mini Birth Year Pennies

  • #GBY-AG Adrian Gonzalez
  • #GBY-CK Clayton Kershaw
  • #GBY-HR Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • #GBY-HR Hanley Ramirez
  • #GBY-Sandy Koufax
  • #GBY-YP Yasiel Puig
  • #GBY-ZG Zack Greinke

#GBY-CK Clayton Kershaw      #GBY-AG Adrian Gonzalez

#GBY-YP Yasiel Puig

Bat Barrels

#GQBB-HJR Hyun-Jin Ryu

#GQBB-HR Hanley Ramirez

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Blog Kiosk: 4/17/2014 - Dodger Links - Puig's Statement, Billingsley's MRI is Good News and Hanley's X-Rays are Negative

Mark told a funny!  Pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  Check out more pics from yesterdays game from Jon here.
  • Cary Osborne at the Dodger Insider provides a Week 2 minor league report.
  • Teenage Dodger pitching phenom Julio Urias is on the cover of Baseball America.  See it on the right.  Click on pic to embiggen.  Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider tells us that Urias will be on the cover will be featured in a story in Dodger Insider Magazine in May.
  • Yasiel Puig released a statement through his agent regarding the recent revelations reported at LA Magazine.
“I’m aware of the recent articles and new accounts. I understand that people are curious and have questions, but I will have no comment on this subject. I’m represented on this matter, and I’m only focused on being a productive teammate and helping the Dodgers win games.”
Billingsley felt a popping sensation 10 days ago in a Minor League rehab assignment. After letting the discomfort dissipate, he resumed throwing off a mound Tuesday but cut short the bullpen session after eight pitches because of elbow tightness.
  • Via Mark Saxon at, "Dodgers come within an X-ray of disaster."  Hanley was hit in tha hand in yesterday's game and had X-rays done.  They were negative.
"Everyone knows what I went through last year," Ramirez said after the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. "To get hit in the hand ... the hand is a spot where it's easy to get any damage. I was wondering."
“I was in the hobby/industry for 35 years,” Lipset wrote last year in a letter to Judge Ronald A. Guzman. “I have never met anyone as despicable as Bill Mastro.”
As you may know, Mastro pleaded guilty to mail fraud and still awaits sentencing.  I've placed numerous bids with Mastro, and have won and lost.  Have I ever been the subject of shill bidding?  I don't know.  The one occasion I suspect worked in my favor - bidders remorse.

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