Thursday, October 02, 2014

NLDS Series Against Cardinals Starts Tomorrow - Scheduled Autograph Signings, Game Give Aways and Other Stuff!

Welcome to the playoffs.  The NLDS series starts tomorrow afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinal, and several olde-tyme Dodgers will be in the house to sign free autographs for fans.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this series.

BTW, I only have full details for Fridays game at this time.  As soon as I receive details for Saturdays game I will update this post (likely Friday night).  I will be out of town on Saturday, so I'll miss the game (but will hopefully get updates).  If you're a Kings fan then you know where I'll be.

You can listen to the games on the Dodgers radio network at AM570.  Vin Scully will call the first three innings and the final three innings of each Dodger postseason game.  Steiner and Monday will call the middle three innings.   The Dodgers’ Spanish-language radio broadcast on Univision America KTNQ 1020 AM will be led by Jarrín with Valenzuela, color commentator, who will call all postseason games along with Yñiguez. The games also can be heard in Korean on Radio Korea AM 1540.  “Dodger Talk” on Dodgers Radio AM570 will also continue throughout the postseason and will feature Jorge Jarrín, Kevin Kennedy and David Vassegh.

If you are driving to any of the games please purchase your parking tickets in advance.  Prices for advance purchase is $10 and parking at the gate is $20 for the Division Series.  The Dodgers also will offer premium parking in advance at $35 and for $50 at the gate for Division Series.  For further information on Dodger parking, visit or call the Dodgers’ ticket office at 323-DODGERS.  

Dodger Express Shuttle:
As always, fans can use the Dodger Express shuttle bus to get to the games.  It will run from the usual location at Union Station and also expands to the Harbor Gateway Transit Center in the SouthBay.  Go here for more information.

Umpire Info:
In case you were curious the umpire crew chief for the series will be Dale Scott, who will be on the field with Eric Cooper, Rob Drake, regular season crew chief Jerry Layne, Jerry Meals and Alan Porter.  CB Bucknor, Chris Conroy, Ed Hickox and Brian O'Nora will serve in the Replay Center during the Division Series.

Extreme Loaded Dog:
BTW, the Extreme Loaded Dog concession stands will be making the Playoff Dog, an all-beef hot dog on a Pretzel Roll topped with Pastrami, pickle spears and Oktoberfest mustard.  It will be available Monday through Wednesday at extreme loaded dog concession stands on the Field, Loge and Reserve levels.  See a pic of it on the right.

Friday, October 3rd at 3:37 PM
Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw

Tonight's game starts at 3:37 PM.  Auto gates open at 12:37 PM, and stadium gates open at 1:07 PM.  It will be televised on FoxSports1. 

The first 50,000 fans in attendance will receive a blue rally towel.  See it on the left.

Hall of Fame Manager and Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda will throw the ceremonial first pitch tomorrow.  One hundred fifty members of the Armed Forces representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard will unfurl a giant flag in center field prior to the national anthem. Mother, daughter, sister, actress, dedicated philanthropist, NY Times best-selling author and five-time GRAMMY award winning artist Wynonna Judd will perform the national anthem.

Former Dodgers Al Ferrara (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Tim Leary (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 1:00 PM to 3:15 PM.  Pregame entertainment will also include face painters in the left-field pavilion plaza and musical entertainment in the right and left-field reserve plazas. Dodgers Radio KLAC AM 570’s Petros and Money show will broadcast live from the left-field pavilion plaza from 3:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Colonel Matthew Ruedi. Ruedi is the 916th Support Brigade Commander at Fort Irwin National Training Center in San Bernardino County. He has served deployments to Kosovo and three deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) will hold a silent auction on the Club level by the Vin Scully Press Box. The auction ends at 5:15 p.m. with more than 25 items up for bid, including a Vin Scully autographed baseball, Clayton Kershaw autographed photo and Yasiel Puig framed autographed LA Dodger jersey. All proceeds will benefit LADF and its programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy and health and wellness which help children and families throughout the greater Los Angeles region.
  • There will also be a BBQ Beef Brisket Burger (one-third pound burger topped with American cheese, Think Blue BBQ beef brisket, Stout BBQ sauce and fried onions and pickles) available at Elysian Park Grills on the Loge, Reserve and Top Deck levels and Field level Dodger Dog Stands at sections 22 and 23.   A Think Blue BBQ “Grand Slam” Playoff Platter (beef brisket, pulled pork, roasted corn, potato salad, coleslaw and corn bread) is avaialble at Think Blue BBQ at the left-field pavilion plaza.  A Gelato Ice Cream Sandwich, Lasorda’s gelato ice cream smashed between two chocolate chip cookies, will be available at Tommy Lasorda’s Trattoria located at the right-field pavilion plaza.
Saturday, October 4th at 6:37 PM
Lance Lynn vs. Zack Greinke

Tonight's game starts at 6:37 PM.  Auto gates open at 3:37 PM, and stadium gates open at 4:07 PM.  It will be televised on the MLB Network.

To be updated when information is available!

Sorry!  I lied.  I posted up information for Game 2 in a new post.  Go here to check that out.  The Dodgers are giving out different rally towel for the game.

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My Choices for the 2014 Baseball Blogger Alliance Post Season Awards - It Might Surprise You

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is a five-year old organization that brings together hundreds of Baseball blog writers from throughout North America to foster communication and collaboration.  We are encouraged to use one another to deepen our understanding of the game and the teams that play it. It is for this reason that I enjoy being a part of the group

A side benefit to membership is having an opportunity to vote on end of the year awards; much like the more established BBWAA.  Take note that, like the BBWAA, we are tasked with choosing the best three for the manager, rookie and reliever awards, the top five for pitcher, and the top ten for MVP.  I have included a little write up for my top pick for each award.  Check out my choices for the years best in the National League. 

The Willie Mays Award is given to the top rookie each year.

Jacob deGrom.  This man came out of nowhere to take the spotlight from highly touted prospect Billy Hamilton.  Jacob deGrom had a phenomenal rookie season on a team that provided little offensive support.  He finished the season with a 2.69 ERA, an impressive FIP of 2.67 and had a struck out per nine innings ratio of 9.2.  DeGrom was also the NL Rookie of the month in July; where he went 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA and threw 38 strike outs in 32.1 innings.
  1. Jacob deGrom, Mets
  2. Billy Hamilton, Reds
  3. Ender Inciarte, Diamondbacks

The Goose Gossage Award is given to the top reliever each year.

Craig Kimbrel. If there is any one player who deserves to be considered Kershaw-like at his position it is Craig Kimbrel. For the fourth straight season he lead the National League in saves, and posted an ERA under 2.00 for the third straight year (leading all other top-flight relievers).  In 2014 he recorded 47 saves, a 1.63 ERA, a WHIP of 0.91 and a batting average against of just .139.  Even more amazing, he gave up only two home runs in 63 appearances.  BTW, if you haven't seen the video of the fans in Philadelphia making fun of him just this past Saturday then you're missing out.  To see what I mean go here.  BTW, even with those fans making fun of him he still recorded a save.
  1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
  2. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
  3. Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals

The Walter Johnson Award is given to the top pitcher each year.

Clayton Kershaw.  I think it's safe to say that there is no doubt about this pick.  Clayton Kershaw has been an absolute beast this season.  Even after missing over a month worth of games to start the year, Kershaw still lead the Majors in wins with 21.  He also lead in ERA with 1.77, WHIP with 0.857 and complete games with 6.  When you also consider that he threw his first career no-hitter this season and pitched 41 scoreless consecutive innings this choice becomes even more obvious.  There was not a better pitcher in all of the Major Leagues.
  1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  2. Johnny Cueto, Reds
  3. Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals
  4. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
  5. Zack Greinke, Dodgers

The Stan Musial Award is given to the top player each year.

Clayton Kershaw. You can call me a homer all you want, but this was clearly one of those seasons where not a single non-pitching position player established themselves as the leagues best.  So, it's only appropriate that a pitcher of Kershaw's class be considered for MVP.  After all, no batter came close to eclipsing Kershaw's 8.0 WAR for the season, and no player was more impactful to their teams regular season success.  Consider this, when Clayton started his 41 inning scoreless innings streak on June 13th the Dodgers were 8 games back of the Giants.  By the time the streak was over they had a 0.5 game lead in the division.

Of note, back in late-July there was a series of incidents during a game against the Cardinals where Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch around the head by the infamous Joe Kelly.  Kershaw, seeing the lack of respect that pitcher had for his own abilities and the Dodgers, retaliated in the most professional of ways.  He threw a purpose pitch in the perfect spot - on Matt Holliday's bum.  No harm, but a slight foul.  Then later on he said this:
“But what I will say is, though, it’s tough when you see Hanley get hit like that so many times. It’s one thing to miss in[side], but when you’re missing up and in at a guy’s face like that, that’s really scary. … When you throw that hard, you need to have a better idea where the ball’s going.”
That's the kind of message your best player, a leader and the MVP candidate has to make.  Enough is enough, and nobody is better at delivering that kind of message than Clayton Kershaw.
  1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  2. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
  3. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
  4. Buster Posey, Giants
  5. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
  6. Anthony Rendon, Nationals
  7. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
  8. Johnny Cueto, Reds
  9. Josh Harrison, Pirates
  10. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers

The Connie Mack Award is given to the top manager each year.

Don Mattingly.   I know exactly what you're thinking.  This Ernest guy is a huge HOMER... Like, big time!  And, for the most part, I kinda am... But keep this in mind, when I first thought about who I believe should win this award Don's name did not first come to mind.  In fact, I considered just about every winning manager in the National League before I finally realized what an incredible job he really did this season.  Not only did he have to contend with the expectations of a team with a huge payroll, but he also had to do it with a ownership filled with Wall Street behemoths looking over his back.  Furthermore, he had to juggle huge egos in the clubhouse.  No other manager had to deal with what he had to; while at the same time improving on his record from last season. 

Do you remember back in early June when the Dodgers were treading water and playing .500 ball?  They were 8.5 games back of the Giants and most national prognosticators were already calling the division for our foes up north.  Well, Don gave a rather exasperating press conference in Chicago after finishing up a lackluster roadtrip and declared that the Dodgers were "shitty."  S-H-I-T-T-Y-!  He complained that the club just wasn't very good and that selfishness had taken hold in the clubhouse.  His public shaming of the Dodgers was not seen by the players as Don's failure.  Instead, they appeared to realize it was all on them, and they responded by taking out their bats.  Over the next five games they scored 29 runs, and went on to erase a 10 game deficit in the standings to overtake the Giants less than a month later.

I call that a BIG BRASS BALLS move by a skipper willing to risk his job to motivate the club the only way he thought they would respond - by kicking their proverbial butts for all to see.  And you know what, it worked.  For that alone he deserves to be the Manager of the Year.
  1. Don Mattingly, Dodgers
  2. Matt Williams, Nationals
  3. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

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Blog Kiosk: 10/2/201 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends

The October edition of Dodger Insider magazine is now available.  Check out the cover featuring Matt Kemp above.  Jon Weisman at the Dodger Insider blog has details about what's inside.

Below are some links to check out:
  • You gotta check this out.  Jon Wesiman put together a list of the Top-50 best Dodger plays of the second half of the season, and he has video for all of them.  Go here to check them out.
  • Via Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider, "Clayton Kershaw a finalist for four Players Choice Awards."
  • Just a reminder, the Dodger Express shuttle bus will be picking up fans in the South Bay for the upcoming playoffs.  It'll pick up fans at the Harbor Gateway Transit Center.   Go here for the Dodger press release that has information.
  • Via Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest, "Carl Crawford could be ‘X-Factor’ for Dodgers in NLDS."
Crawford is coming off his best season (119, according to wRC+) since his final year in Tampa Bay (2010, 134 wRC+). He’s also coming off an incredibly torrid September in which he slashed .448/.473/.716. In fact, Crawford has been the best hitter in baseball over the last month, again according to wRC+. For a guy who slashed just .163/.245/.209 in July, that’s almost unbelievable.
“The arm was beautiful,” said Dodgers vice president for player personnel Vance Lovelace. “He was a big-bodied catcher who’d drop to his knees and he had an 80 throwing arm (the highest scouting grade). It wasn’t hard to see. It was, ‘OK, if you don’t hit pretty soon. We’re going to make you a pitcher.’”
  • GCRL shares even more Steve Garvey oddball Baseball cards here.
  • I wonder if this recent ruling will have any effect on MLB and the Dodgers.  From what I understand, though, it primarily applies to the NFL.  Via Travis Waldron at Think Progress, "FCC Votes Unanimously To End TV Sports Blackout Rule."
  • Via the LA Daily News, "Bryan Stow again sues the Dodgers, accuses team of conspiring to deprive him of adequate care."
The suit alleges the team and ACE (Stow’s insurer) are fraudulently trying to recover $3.4 million from the plaintiff regarding his health care. Representatives of Anthem and the Dodgers could not be immediately reached.
  • Panini's 2014 Hall of Fame 75th Anniversary Baseball card set is coming out next, so they released some preview pics on their blog to check out.  Go here to see those.  Above are cards of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.

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