Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Yasiel Puig will be in Home Run Derby

Hopefully, Yasiel Puig can out-slug the competition like how Germany manhandled Brazil this afternoon.  Doh!

It has just been reported, via a tweet from Ken Gurnick, that Yasiel Puig has accepted an invitation from National League team captain Troy Tulowitzki to be in this years All-Star Game Home Run Derby. 

I don't know how Puig will do, but I do believe he'll make the event more interesting.  As you know, the guy has a uncanny ability to rise to any occasion.  Furthermore, several top end sluggers have already bowed out of the event; i.e. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera, so they need some big-time name recognition in order to really sell the event.

On the other hand, the derby is often considered harmful to a batters swing.  Per Mike Axisa at CBS Sports, Miguel Cabrera, for example, said that he doesn't
"want to mess with my swing anymore. I've got enough issues."
So, I don't want Puig going through a swing adjustment just for the derby.  It could have longstanding affects for the remainder of the season.

Personally, I'm agnostic about the whole thing.  All-Star weekend is just a big mid-season vacation for the players, and an opportunity to have a little fun before the season gets into a real grind.  The fact that the game counts is something that I find terrible.  Is the All-Star Game really so important that it has to matter when it comes to the playoffs?  It's just an idiotic exhibition game, and treating it as anything but that is just plain stupid.

Anyway, as you know, each side will have 5 sluggers in the derby.  For the National League side, only Tulowitzki and Giancarlo Stanton (along with Puig) are confirmed participants.  For the American League only team captain Jose Bautista is slated to be there, so far.  (UPDATE:  Adam Jones of the Orioles is also confirmed, Justin McGuire at The Sporting NewsGo here for more details about how the derby will operate.

UPDATE:  BTW, Puig had this to say about his inclusion and potential worries about the derby, via a tweet from OC Register reporter Bill Plunkett:

UPDATE II:  Via a Dodger press release:
Eight of the 10 participants for the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby were announced today. The A.L. competitors who will join Bautista include 2013 Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and second baseman Brian Dozier of the host Minnesota Twins. Joining Tulowitzki as representatives of the N.L. will be Puig, N.L. home run leader Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and third baseman Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. The final competitor in each league will be announced on Thursday
Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2013.

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2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions - All the Dodger Cards

If you thought Upper Deck had completely stopped making cards with Baseball players in it then you'd be wrong.  Last week, Upper Deck put out their 2014 Goodwin Champions set, and several Dodger players are available in it.  BTW, this set is a multi-sport filled offering, so just about every sport imaginable is represented.

Like Panini America, Upper Deck does not have a MLB license, so there are no team logos.  Heck, even notations about where a ballplayer played are not included.  Instead, the base cards indicate only the sport they played, and as you can see below they use paintings instead of photos on the cards.

Overall, the cards in this set are aesthetically horrible.  If there was an award for the ugliest set of the year, this one would be the favorite to win it.  Its only saving grace is the inclusion of a couple of long forgotten former Dodger players... Oh, and the card I describe below.

Easily, the best Dodger card in the base set is the Ron Cey card directly below.  He is shown in a tux and fancy top hat.  Maybe it's an homage to his nickname as "The Penguin".  After all, isn't that outfit often referred to as a penguin suit?

Base Set

#4 Ron Cey

#69 Steve Garvey

#129 Mark McGwire

Below is a card of old-tyme former Dodger Oyster Burns.  He played for Brooklyn during the franchise's early years, from 1888 to 1895, and was one of the clubs earliest stars.  Oyster batted .300, OPS'd .810 and stole 172 bases during those 8 seasons.  He lead the league in home runs and RBI's in 1890 with 13 and 128, respectively.  Also, during that season he became the first Dodger to hit for the cycle.

His real name was Thomas, but he was nicknamed Oyster because he sold shellfish during the winter.  Oyster Burns was also an loud and obnoxious sort of fellow.  He was described by the New York Clipper as:
"the noisiest man that ever played on the Brooklyn team. His voice reminds one of a buzz-saw."
Ouch!  That hurts, eh?  Of course, considering that he once stabbed a sleeping teammate during a break in a doubleheader the above description might be too soft.

Base Short Prints SP

#133 Oyster Burns

I decided to include the Joe Kelley card below as a Dodger even though he spent a majority of his Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Orioles.  He played in Brooklyn from 1899 to 1901, and batted .317 during that time period.  Kelley was also an important cog to a club that won 2 pennants while he was with the Superbas.

Base Super Short Prints SSP

#178 Joe Kelley

I know Mark McGwire never played for the Dodgers, but he is our batting coach.  So, I decided to include all of his cards in this post.  Check out a couple of his Goudey cards below. 

Goudey Set

#2 Mark McGwire

Goudey Autographs Set

#2 Mark McGwire

Sport Royalty Autographs Set

#SRA-MM Mark McGwire

Baseball Prospect Autographs

#183 Chris Anderson                                    #195 Joc Pederson


#A-GA Steve Garvey

Memorabilia Set

#M-PE Joc Pederson

Memorabilia Platinum Series Set

#M-PE Joc Pederson

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Blog Kiosk: 7/8/2014 - Dodger Links - Honeycutt, Kersahw and Ryu

One of Topps most popular Baseball card sets officially comes out on Wednesday - 2014 Allen & Ginter.  Featured above is a pic of the Pop Star Relic booklet card of Yasiel Puig.  Go here to check out a bunch of preview pics from the set at Topps facebook page.  BTW, individual cards are already showing up for sale on eBay.  In fact, Chris Olds at Beckett tells us about a unique relic insert card featuring clippings of Daniel Nava's playoff beard.  I kid you not.  Check out that story here.
“I think Rick’s just solid at everything he does, from preparation to mechanics,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “One thing nobody talks a lot about is Rick had pretty much every role in his career. He was a starter, he was a long man, he was a late-inning situational lefty. He went through all the stages in his career. His stuff was one way when he was younger. He got older and was pitching through some stuff when his arm wasn’t exactly right.” 
The year is 2005. America is being rocked to the sweet sounds of Hollaback Girl. Millions wear giant Bluetooth earpieces without being called out for looking like a giant dingus, and Hee-Seop Choi pounds five home runs en route to a 5th place finish at the Home Run Derby. Why do I bring this up? Because it's by far the greatest Home Run Derby performance in Dodger history.
Well there you have it. Clayton Kershaw was the best, richest, most feared pitcher in baseball five months ago and then decided to get even better. A few weeks ago I asked around regarding which current starting pitchers had a clear path to the Hall of Fame. Verlander, Hernandez, and Kershaw were consensus picks. Some others got votes, but think about this for a second. Kershaw is 26 years old. He's not dominating the league by as much and as young as Mike Trout, but he's not that far off.
I might also have tried to sneak Hyun-Jin Ryu on to the roster; he's top-10 in the NL in fWAR, getting great results with his new curveball, and having a Korean-born player in the game would give the game's ratings in Korea an enormous boost.
  • Via Mike Petriello at Dodgers Digest, "Carl Crawford’s Rehab Progressing Well."
  • Via Vincent Samperio at Dodgers Nation, "Dodgers Sign Outfielder Roger Bernadina To Minor League Deal."  The Dodgers add some depth to the outfield position.  Bernadina signed a minor league deal, so unless there's a rash of injuries I doubt we'll see him in Dodger Blue.  The story was first broken by Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish, via twitter.
  • Via Andrew Powell-Morse at Data Visualizations from Best Tickets puts together a great graphic looking at, "The Winners and Losers Of North American Sports."  What I learned, that I didn't know before, is that the Lakers have the best franchise winning percentage of any professional club in North America.  Wow!  The Clippers, who inexplicably sold for $2Billion, is one of the worst of all-time.  The Dodgers are 3rd best in Baseball; behind the Giants and Yankees.  The Kings, not surprisingly, have not been a model franchise historically, but I suspect their overall win percentage will get significantly better over the next several years.
  • You sir, are a whiny little child.  Via AM570, "Sleeping Fan Sues ESPN, MLB For Defamation."

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