Saturday, August 23, 2014

Joc Pederson is a 30/30 Man

Congrats, Joc!

With a steal of second base in the sixth inning tonight, Joc Pederson did something that hadn't been done in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years and only done three times before.  Joc Pederson is now a member of the exclusive PCL 30/30 club. 

Via a Isotopes story at
The 22-year-old phenom swiped his 30th base in sixth inning of Saturday night's game at Colorado Springs. He walked with one out in the inning, and after a pitching change, stole second on the first pitch to Tim Federowicz. Sky Sox catcher Dustin Garneau didn't even attempt a throw after Pederson got such a good jump.

Pederson's 30th home run came off right-handed pitcher Donovan Hand of the Nashville Sounds in the third inning on Monday, August 18. It was the second of back-to-back homers after fellow outfielder Mike Baxter provided the first.
The last ballplayer to accomplish this feat in the PCL was former Cubs standout Frank Demaree in 1934.  Also, Yankee Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri did it in 1925 and slugger Lefty O'Doul did it in 1927.  Pederson also joins former Dodger prospect Chin-Feng Chen as the only former franchise farmhands to have accomplished the feat.  Chen did it in 1999 with the San Bernardino Stampede.

In celebration of Joc's accomplishment I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo taken by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers at an preseason exhibition game against the Angels this past Spring and the 1971 Topps Baseball card design (template provided by Alex Markle at Chavez Ravining).

Hopefully, Joc can continue his exploits on the big stage with Dodgers.  He will be called up by the team when the rosters expand on September 1st.  Although, he is not expected to get a lot of playing time, he'll certainly get his chances to prove he is ready for the "Show."
(Graphic via @TripleABaseball on Twitter)

UPDATE: Below is a video of his 30th stolen base.

Video Link:

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Nomo and Hasegawa Open Up Japan-USA Youth Exhibition Series in Compton

This afternoon was the start of the Japan-USA International Junior High School Baseball Federation exhibition series at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, and a couple of former Major Leaguers were on-hand to open it up.

Former Dodger Hideo Nomo (who manages the All-Japan 15-U team) and ex-Angel Shigetoshi Hasegawa (who manages the MLB Urban Youth Academy USA team) threw out the ceremonial first pitches. 

The series continues tomorrow with a doubleheader starting at 1:00 PM.  The second game is slated to start at 3:00 PM.  Tickets are priced at $10 per game and children under 12 get in free.  Tickets available by calling 310-373-4888 or by email at  I do not know if tickets are available at the gate, but I'd be surprised if they weren't.
Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy
El Camino College, Compton Center
901 East Artesia Blvd.
Compton, Calif. 90221
UPDATEBen Platt at wrote a great story about the event here.
The Japan-USA International Junior High School Baseball Federation Series has been a showcase event at which young players jointly learn about the culture of both countries since it began six years ago. The series, which takes place at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton and which welcomes ballplayers age 15 and under, is hosted by two trailblazing players who made a name for themselves on both continents.

"In Japan, Major League Baseball is such a big presence in the world of baseball," said Hideo Nomo, who broke the glass ceiling for Japanese League players in 1995 when he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. "Having our kids come over here and play with local kids their same age has been a great opportunity and experience for them."
Photo at the very top and below via Ben Platt/
Hideo Nomo and Shigetoshi Hasegawa throw a ceremonial first pitch Saturday before the opener of the Japan-USA International Junior High School Baseball Federation Series at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, CA - Photo credit: Ben Platt/

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Are You Ready for some Ping Pong? - Kershaw's Challenge "Ping Pong 4 Purpose" Charity Event

It's no secret that Clayton Kershaw is a shark on the mound, but did you know that he also rules the ping pong table?

In fact, he likes to say that he dominates the game.  Don't believe me?  Then check out this video on Yahoo Sports where he shows Graham Bensinger what he can do, here.

(Pic via Jon SooHoo/Dodgers 2013)
Unfortunately, he kinda played it easy on Bensinger, so we hardly got a display of his skills.  Nevertheless, it's obvious he has a passion for the game, and it's only natural that he would parlay his love of ping pong into a worthwhile cause.

Next Thursday, September 4th from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM will be the second annual "Ping Pong 4 Purpose" fundraising tournament at Dodger Stadium.  You can hobnob with a bunch of Dodgers and some celebrity guest.  Go here for some details, or here to get involved.  Tickets are not cheap, at $1,250.00 per person, but keep in mind that event proceeds will benefit the efforts of Kershaw's Challenge in Los Angeles and Zambia to transform at-risk communities and the lives of children. 

Last years tournament raised over $300,000 for Kershaw's Challenge, and from the looks of it everybody had a great time.  Check out a bunch of pics taken at the inaugural event last year by Jon SooHoo here.  Below are a couple of my favorite photos.

And check out who is ready for the upcoming ping pong tournament.  Vin Scully just got his specially made paddle, and I suspect he'll be ready to compete for the crown.  Again, go here to sign up.
(pic link: @Dodgers on twitter)

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Blog Kiosk: 8/23/2014 - Dodger Links - Haren's Sharp, No More Isotopes and Seager is Cal League MVP

Haren does it again.

Just when you thought his effectiveness on the mound was done, he comes back and pitches a gem.  In seven innings of work against the Mets last night he struck out six, walked none and gave up just three hits; including an opening batter solo home run to Curtis Granderson (his 25th of the season). 

Haren was quick and efficient, and according to Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, he earned a $250,000 bonus for reaching 150 innings pitched this season.  BTW, at 180 inning pitched his contract automatically vest for next season. 

Via Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times, Haren had this to say about a contract for next year:
"I couldn't care less," Haren said. "It might sound stupid, but who knows if I would want to play next year? I'd rather throw 179 2/3 and us win the division, honestly. I've made enough money in my life. I've been blessed. Hopefully, my kids' kids are set up. It's a lot of money, I don't want to devalue that and sound like a snob, but my goal is for this team to achieve what we set out to."
The photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Go here to check out more pics from yesterday's game from Jon.

Thankfully, the Dodgers offense came alive as they spread around eleven hits to score six run and earn a victory.  Dee Gordon was superb.  He knocked in the first Dodger run in the third inning on a single and recorded his Major League leading eleventh triple in the seventh inning.

With the 6 to 2 victory over the Mets they hold onto an 3.5 game lead over the Giants.  Now, here are some more links to check out below.
A group affiliated with the Dodgers is on the brink of purchasing the local pro baseball team. The group is in the final stages of contract negotiations that began several weeks ago with Mandalay, which announced earlier this year it would be selling its five minor league baseball properties.
Looks like the cat got out of the bag too early.  Apparently, this is all news to the Isotopes GM John Traub (via a tweet from Albuquerque Journal writer Rick Wright) and Dodgers Assistant GM De Jon Watson (via a Wright tweet).  The Albuquerque Journal has a report on it right here.
  • Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider takes a look at, "The top Dodger bench players of the 21st century."  Chad Kreuter and Alex Cora top the list.  My all-time favorite was Olmedo Saenz - "The Killer Tomato."
  • BTW, Jon also tells us that Corey Seager has been named the California League MVP.
  • Now, you can win Joc's hooptie!  Via an Isotopes press release, "Joc Pederson's Car To Be Given Away Next Friday."
One lucky fan at the Albuquerque Isotopes game next Friday, Aug. 29, will drive away (or tow away) outfielder Joc Pederson's luxurious 1994 Buick Century. Fans will not want to miss the chance to win this one-of-a-kind car driven by the next Los Angeles Dodgers superstar.

The car, nicknamed "Little Chucky," has only 166,000 miles on it and has at least one operable window, which is really all you need. It is perfect for cruising around during the New Mexico summers with its "awesome" stereo system and lack of air conditioning. Kelly Blue Book estimates the value at nearly $1,000 (depending on if it has a full tank of gas). Little Chucky will also come with two complimentary air fresheners and whatever else Pederson forgets to clean out.

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