Friday, July 31, 2015

Bring in the Clown - A LA Dodger "Bums" Sculpture by Ron Lee


It's been awhile since I've shared any unique Dodgers' finds I've come across on eBay, so I figured I'd get back into the grove by sharing something a little fun.  Featured here is an eight inch painted solid bronze sculpture by an Southern California artist named Ron Lee found on eBay. (check out his website here)  He is noted for creating numerous clown based statues, and one of them features what looks like an LA Dodgers "Bum" on the pitching mound.

The left-handed pitcher is not wearing an actual Dodger uniform (I'm sure copyright issues prevented that), but it's clear to me that this little fellow is supposed to be a Dodger.  On his cap is "LA Bums," a clear reference to Emmett Kelly's Brooklyn Dodger "Bum" depiction, and on his back is the number 53 (likely for Dodger Hall of Famer Don Drysdale).  Strangely, the name on his back is "Lefty," and as we all know Drysdale was a right-hander.  BTW, the statue weight 10 lbs!

According to the seller this statue is a part of Ron Lee's Emmett Kelly Jr. collection.  In 2002 Ron Lee received a license from Emmett Kelly Jr. to depict him on limited edition statues.  As you may know, Emmett Kelly Jr. is the son of the great Emmett Kelly that used to grace Ebbets Field in the 1940's and 1950's.  He followed his father's footsteps and became just as famous.  Unfortunately, I don't think this is a part of those works by Lee.  The seller states that this statue was produced in 1987 - many years before Lee's license with Kelly Jr.

I have no idea what something like this is worth, but I do know I would never pay the over $3K asking the price the seller is seeking.  That just seems steep.  Way too steep.

What I do know is that I would love to add something like this to my collection. 

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

2015 Panini Cooperstown - All the Dodger Insert Cards

Now that you've seen the base cards take a look at the Dodger inserts that are available in packs of 2015 Panini Copperstown below. 

The below "Etched in Copperstown" inserts have very unique parallels available.  As you can see, the normal silver card has a silver metallic look to them.  The parallels come in different shades, and also can include actual gems embedded within them (diamonds, emeralds or sapphires)

As an example, take a look at the Leo Durocher card below.  It is a Gold Emerald parallel card.  Look closely to the right of the bill of Durocher's cap.  That little green circular thing is a tiny emerald.

Etched in Cooperstown Silver

#16 Don Drysdale                                  #17 Duke Snider

Blog Kiosk: 7/31/2015 - Dodger Links - Friedman, Pablo Fernandez and Kershaw's Ping Pong 4 Purpose


Clayton Kershaw's Ping Pong 4 Purpose charity event last night appears to have been a smashing success.  The ballplayers came out to play, stars were there to lend their support and a bunch of money was raised for a good cause.  Featured in the pic above were probably the two biggest goofballs in attendance.  Via a pic tweeted by Kike Hernandez is Kike with his ping pong partner Ken Jeong.  You can check out more photos from AM570 here.  Via Steve Bourbon at MLB.com:
"It's humbling for us to see the turnout, not to mention we get to raise money for two incredible causes. It's just so cool," Kershaw said. "It keeps getting bigger and bigger every year."

While Kershaw was paramount in organizing the event, he wasn't able to participate in the pingpong competition. Kershaw has a sore hip that caused him to miss his scheduled start on Wednesday.

"I probably could [play], but it's the smart thing to do, as much as I'd like to," Kershaw said. "I'll get to trash talk and watch."
BTW, the duo of Orel Hershiser and actor Josh Henderson won the tournament.  Check out the Kershaw's Challenge website here to learn more.  Below are some links to check out:
"Money factors in, just like players do," Friedman said. "Everything is negotiated. There are times we've given up players, times we've taken on contracts. We have that ability to do that and/or supplement that with players, and that increases the likelihood of getting a deal done. Having that added flexibility increases your chances of [making a deal]."

The Yankees sashayed into free-agent meetings like fat cats, paying big dollars for big names and big splashes. They were old money acting like new money. The Dodgers positioned themselves in diametric opposition, fundamentally against larding their roster with aging players, using their cash as judiciously as the filthy rich can, exploring every creative nook and cranny possible.
It “doesn’t look like we’ll get additional distribution for the Dodgers network this season,” Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus told analysts this morning in a call to discuss Q2 earnings.
"He's got five, maybe six quality pitches and that translates better to starting than relieving," Loons pitching coach Glenn Dishman said. "He was a reliever in Cuba, but in the Majors here they like having a reliever or closer with one or two dominant pitches throwing 100."
  • GCRL, a Dodger collector blog, is calling it quits.  You were one of my favorite daily destinations.
  • With the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago in full swing I though I would share the below pic from twitter with you.  It's a display from SCP Auctions of some Don Drysdale items that will be for sale in their upcoming offering.  BTW, I have personally consigned items from my own collection with SCP, so I'll be sure to write about that soon.



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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Welcome to the Blue - Wood, Johnson, Peraza, Avilan and Arroyo! The Trades are Done!

It's done!  It is finally done!

As it turns out, it isn't a 3-way deal after all.  The Dodgers first put together a trade with the Marlins featuring Mat Matos and Michael Morse.  Go here to see my post from yesterday on that one; including some fantasy Baseball cards celebrating the transaction.  The three Dodger prospects going to Miami are Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham and Kevin Guzman.

The Braves trade (and the purpose of this post) includes eight players changing teams - five of them to Los Angeles.  Per the Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired left-handed pitcher Alex Wood, right-handed reliever Jim Johnson, left-handed reliever Luis Avilan, minor league infielder Jose Peraza, right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo and cash considerations from Atlanta in exchange for infielder Hector Olivera, left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez and minor league right-handed pitcher Zach Bird.
So, the rumored 2016 draft slot bandied about yesterday plays no part in either the Marlins or Braves trade.  (Apparently, the above is incorrect, or so I've read.  The Dodger press releases made no mention of a 2015 draft pick, and in fact they sent out two separate press releases for the trades - one dealing with Miami and another dealing with Atlanta.  But everyone seems to still be reporting that Atlanta did get Miami's draft pick, so I guess I'll just accept that?)  For some detailed analysis on both trades check out the links below:
Overall, I like what the Dodger front office has done.  They basically traded some lower level prospects including a better than decent Zach Bird, an oft-injured lefty reliever in Paco and a 30-year old Cuban prospect in Olivera (highly touted, mind you, but old) for two starting pitchers who will slot in nicely into our rotation, a nice infield prospect, two relievers and a couple of high dollar'd has-been's.  Basically, we took in a bunch of unwanted contracts to solidify the rotation and bullpen.  Heck, we even got a prospect and a potential right-handed off-the-bench power bat in Morse (he was valuable for the Giants last year).  Although, it does appear likely that Morse and/or Arroyo will be released.

A negative is seeing Paco Rodriguez leave the franchise.  I really liked that kid.  It's also disappointing that we won't have a chance to see that Hector Olivera can do for us.  Nevertheless, we got a whole bunch for very little.  That's assuming you consider the Dodgers spending wads of cash no big deal.

As for not getting a top-line starter like Price or Hamels... Well, I'm a bit disappointed, but not angry.  We probably could've gotten Hamels (considering what they got), but Price ended up being way too expensive.  Detroit made out like a bandit in their trade with Toronto. 

In celebration of the Dodgers adding these five new players (some of whom may never actually wear Dodger Blue) I made the below fantasy Baseball cards in honor.  Check them out below.  I've also included some information about each of them, as well.


Alex Wood is probably the crown jewel of the trade for the Dodgers.  He was basically the staff ace for a bad Braves team, and will fit in nicely in the middle of our rotation.

From the Dodger press release:
Wood, 24, has gone 21-20 with a 3.10 ERA in 86 games (55 starts) in three big league seasons with the Braves, including a 7-6 mark with a 3.54 ERA in 20 starts this year. Since making his big league debut in 2013, Wood ranks among the NL leaders (min. 350.0 IP) in ERA (9th) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.12, 15th), while posting a 47.7 groundball percentage and forcing an average of 1.03 groundball double plays per 9.0 innings (4th). The North Carolina native was selected in the second round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Georgia and quickly ascended to the Majors, while posting a 9-5 record with a 1.68 ERA in 26 minor league starts over three seasons.
Below are Woods's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:



Adding Jim Johnson to the bullpen can only be a good thing.  He's a right-handed reliever with plenty of experience and past success.

From the Dodger press release:
Johnson, 32, has gone 2-3 with nine saves and a 2.25 ERA in 49 games with Atlanta this year in his 10th big league season. The 2012 All-Star and Rolaids Relief Man Award winner has a 25-31 career record with 133 saves and a 3.45 ERA with the Orioles (2006-13), Athletics (2014), Tigers (2014) and Braves (2015). He was one of the American League’s top closers in 2012-13, topping the American League in saves in consecutive seasons and posting back-to-back 50-save seasons with the Orioles. He was originally selected by Baltimore in the fifth round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft out of Union-Endicott (NY) High School.
Below are Johnson's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:




Luis Avilan is a lefty reliever.

From the Dodger press release:
Avilan, 26, has a 12-5 record with a 2.77 ERA in 218 career games in four big league seasons with Atlanta from 2012-15, limiting opponents to a .225 batting average and posting a 1.16 WHIP. He has appeared in a team-high 50 games this year, going 2-4 with a 3.58 ERA, while limiting opponents to a .245 average. Avilan was signed by the Braves as a free agent in 2005 out of Venezuela.
Below are Avilan's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:


Peraza is probably the best prospect that changed hands (not including the Cuban Hector Olivera).  He's fast and is basically a new version of a young Dee Gordon.  Per Chris Mitchell at FanGraphs:
Peraza excels in the speed and contact departments, but provides very little when it comes hitting for power and drawing walks.
From the Dodger press release:
Peraza, 21, has a .303 career batting average with 203 steals, eight home runs and 178 RBI in 439 games over seven seasons in the Braves’ minor league system, including a .294 mark with 26 stolen bases, three homers and 37 RBI in 96 games this year with Triple-A Gwinnett. Entering the 2015 season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 54 overall prospect in baseball after earning selections as a MiLB.com Atlanta organization All-Star in 2013-14 and to the MLB All-Star Futures Game in 2014, when he ranked third among all minor leaguers with 60 steals. He was originally signed by the Braves in 2010 as a free agent out of Venezuela.
Below are Peraza's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:



Not only has Arroyo not ever worn a Braves uniform (he came to them this past June in a salary-dump trade with the Diamondbacks), but he is unlikely to ever wear Dodger Blue either.  Bronson Arroyo is currently on the DL, and has a $4.5Mil buyout on his contract for next season. 

From the Dodger press release:
Arroyo, 38, last pitched on June 15, 2014 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on July 15, 2014. The 2006 All-Star has gone 145-131 with a 4.19 ERA in 405 games (369 starts) in 15 Major League seasons with the Pirates (2000-02), Red Sox (2003-05), Reds (2006-13) and D-backs (2014).
Below are Arroyo's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:


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Angels Series Starts Tomorrow - Scheduled Autograph Sessions, Pregame Info and Other Stuff!


The next homestand starts Friday evening against the Anaheim Angels.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

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Friday, July 31st at 7:10 PM
SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

Friday's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:40 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:10 PM. It is Friday Night Fireworks, so fans will be able to go down onto the field after the game to watch the spectacle. The theme will be 80's music.  Go here for information about future firework themes.

Actor Shemar Moore will throw the ceremonial first pitch.

Dodger alumnus Lee Lacy will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • The Military Heroes of the Game are U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Rodriguez of Los Angeles and U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Joseph Henneman of Toledo, Ohio.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) conducts silent auctions throughout the season featuring more than 25 signed pieces of memorabilia from Dodger players, coaches and alumni. Auctions will take place behind the Vin Scully press box on the club level. The items up for auction on Friday include a Zack Greinke autographed photo, Howie Kendrick autographed baseball and Joc Pederson autographed Dodger jersey. The auction will end at 8:45 p.m.

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Saturday, August 1st at 1:05 PM
 SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

Saturday's game starts at 4:05 PM.  Auto gates open at 10:40 PM, and stadium gates open at 11:10 PM.  The first 5,000 ticketed kids 5-years old or younger will receive a Dodgers sippy cup.  Check it out on the left.

Actor Frank Grillo will throw the ceremonial first pitch. DJ Adam will provide entertainment in the right-field pavilion plaza, DJ Anthony Valdez will provide music in the left-field reserve plaza and a classic rock band will play in the right-field reserve plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Dodger alumnus Billy Ashley will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • The Military Heroes of the Game are U.S. Army National Guard Warrant Officer Kyle Brantner of Camarillo and U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Brian Huff of Los Angeles.

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Sunday, August 2nd at 1:10 PM
 SNLA/AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

Sunday's game starts at 1:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 10:40 AM, and stadium gates open at 11:10 AM.  The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a Dodgers cap.  See it on the left.

Viva Los Dodgers will be at the historic 76 station at Dodger Stadium starting at 11:10 a.m.  Dodger alumnus and broadcaster Manny Mota will sign autographs for fans from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Musical entertainment will be provided with BB Bronx and Sinverguenza. 

Caroline Wozniacki, professional tennis player, will throw the ceremonial first pitch. Cruel Intentions the musical singers will perform the national anthem.

Dodger alumnus Mickey Hatcher will sign autographs in the left-field pavilion from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • The Military Heroes of the Game are U.S. Army E-7 Nicholas Cottrill and U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Pastor McGill.
  • The first-ever Dodger Wives Mystery Bag fundraising event benefiting the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), will take place when stadium gates open at 11:10 a.m. For a $40 cash donation, fans will get to pick a mystery bag containing an autographed baseball from one of more than 20 Dodger players, coaches and alumni. Several Dodger wives along with LADF staff will be working the sales booths located at the left-field plaza, right-field plaza and the club level by the Vin Scully press box. There are more than 1,400 mystery bags available with baseballs featuring signatures from Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson, Kik√© Hernandez, Mark McGwire, Davey Lopes and Steve Yeager, just to name a few.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) conducts silent auctions throughout the season featuring more than 25 signed pieces of memorabilia from Dodger players, coaches and alumni. Auctions will take place behind the Vin Scully press box on the club level. The items up for auction on Sunday include an Adrian Gonzalez autographed photo, Yasiel Puig autographed baseball and Clayton Kershaw autographed Dodger jersey. The auction will end at 2:45 p.m.

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2015 Panini Cooperstown - The Dodger Base Cards

Panini Baseball card sets are more confusing than a trade with the Dodgers.

Their newest offering, called 2015 Cooperstown, features a 100-card base set filled with nothing but Hall of Famers.  What makes the set confusing is the makeup of the base cards in the set.  Each player has three different base cards available (variations, if you will) and they are all numbered the same, but are considered a part of a different set.

There is the normal base set, a set called "HOF Chronicles," and a third set titled, "HOF Induction."  As for which card belongs to which set... I haven't a clue.  Although, it's easy to guess which ones are likely the "Induction" card based on the photo used on some of them.  Go here for a complete checklist.

As you can see, there seven Dodger players in the set.  You can check out all three of the different variations to the base set below; with exception of a third Lasorda card which I have yet to see. 

#25 Don Drysdale

Blog Kiosk: 7/30/2015 - Dodger Links - Newcombe, Gilliam and Joc Pederson


Don Newcombe is looking good.  A couple of weeks ago he fell ill at Dodger Stadium and had to go to hospital.  Now, he's doing well enough to visit the boys at the stadium.  Above, he is featured with old friend Fernando Valenzuela, via a pic by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.

Below are some links to check out:
"I stopped playing soccer video games," Puig said. "I've found that when I play baseball video games, I do better."
(pic via @backupslider on twitter)
Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Sounds will unveil a name change for First Tennessee Park's address on Tuesday, from 401 Jackson Street to 19 Junior Gilliam Way.
  • Via Gemma Kaneko at Cut4, "Joc Pederson shares cereal power rankings, is miffed Taylor Swift didn't invite him to her concert."
"I'm just kind of jealous she put on that good of a concert and didn't invite us," he said, referring to the show she played at Nationals Park just before the Dodgers came to town. You know, the show Max Scherzer blamed for causing the power to go out in the stadium on July 17. "If she's gonna blow the lights out, she should invite us," said Pederson. 
Dodger pitcher Mike Bolsinger agrees that fans are more aggressive.

“It’s crazy now, they’re not hesitant to just scream out and ask for the autograph,” Bolsinger said with a laugh. “They yell ‘gimme the ball,’ and I'm just like, ‘wow, I guess.’”

Still, Bolsinger takes time before each game and even signed during a rain delay on day he was pitching in Washington, D.C., recently.

“It’s pretty fun to meet and talk to people from every city we go to,” he said.
  • Via John Baker at Just a Bit Outside, "Edwin Jackson: Consummate professional, teammate, friend."  I always like this kid.
  • Panini America shares a whole bunch of pics from Day 1 from the National Sports Card Collectors Convention in Chicago here.
  • This is hilarious... And disgusting... And wrong... But, it's mostly hilarious!  Via Sky 105 at The Sky Post, "Golf club is desperately trying to find culprit who has been pooing in holes for last 10 years."
‘We know it is a man because the poos are too massive to be from a woman,’ he explained.
  • Fox reporter Andrew Carter briefly interviews Dodger prospect Julio Urias; with the help of Jose DeLeon in the video below:

Video Link:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Scott Van Slyke and the Homestand Auto' Schedule

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

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Here's a listing of Dodger free autograph guest appearing prior to the start of each game during the current brief homestand against the A's and Angels:
  • Wednesday, July 9th against the A's: Tim Leary will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
  • Friday, July 11th against the Angels: Lee Lacy will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, July 12th against the Angels: Billy Ashley will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  
  • Sunday, July 13th against the Angels: Mickey Hatcher will sign autographs in the left-field pavilion from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 13th against the Angels: Manny Mota will sign autographs for fans from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Viva Los Dodgers

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Hopefully his recent incident in a New York taxi cab doesn't hamper his ability to show up.  Dodger outfielder Scott Van Slyke will be making a free autograph appearance at a Food 4 Less in Pasadena this coming Friday, July 31 from 11:00 AM - Noon 12:00 PM.  Go here for more information.

    Kellogg's Appearance
    Food 4 Less
    1329 N. Lake Ave.
    Pasadena, CA 91104

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Welcome to the Blue, Mat Latos & Michael Morse! - With UPDATES!


Impatient Dodger fans finally have a trade to vex over.  Rumors swirled all morning about a pending trade with the Marlins that adds a mid-rotation starter and a journeyman outfielder/first baseman for a handful of low level prospects.  As originally announced via twitter by Chicago Sun-Times Cubs reporter Gordon Wittenmyer:


This ain't a bad start, and I suspect (as has been rumored recently) that the Dodgers are not yet done.  They are said to still be interested in adding a top-line starter to the rotation, so a pitcher like Hamels or Price coming to LA might still be in the picture. 

As for this trade, Mat Latos provides a middle of the rotation arm for the stretch run.  Over the past couple of years he has dealt with numerous injuries; including a bone spur in his elbow and a tore cartilage in his left knee.  He is said to be 100% healthy now.  BTW, he will be a free agent at the end of this season, and is unlikely to be anything more than a rental player for the Dodgers.  Via Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors:
While he’s battled injuries and struggled early in the season, Latos has increased his velocity and upped his results since returning from a DL stint. All told, the 27-year-old Latos owns a 4.48 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 over 88 1/3 innings on the year. But ERA estimators view him more as a mid-3.00 ERA contributor, and that has shown up in his last seven starts, over which he’s allowed 15 earned runs in 45 2/3 frames with a 43:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
On a side note, Mat Latos has a cat named "Cat Latos."  I kid you not!

The addition of Morse is a bit puzzling.  He's an first baseman and outfielder, and goodness knows we've got plenty of that on the team already.  Not too long ago he was a fantastic slugger with the Nationals, but has struggled since leaving Washington due to injuries.  Morse had rebounded when he played for the Giants last year, but regressed in Miami this season.  His addition make me wonder if it sets a foundation for a trade that sends a Dodger outfielder out of town (or maybe he was the price for Latos without giving up a some good prospects).  On the other hand, maybe Morse's exploits with the Giants in last years World Series earns him a spot on the roster as a pinch-hitter.  I dunno.  What I do know is that he is in the first year of a two-year contract he signed with the Marlins over this past winter, and it appears the Dodgers will be on the hook for the remaining contract.  (See Update Below)

In celebration of Latos and Morse's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy cards for them.  I used a photo taken by Denis Bancroft/Marlins for Latos and a Miami Herald photo for Morse. The Cat Latos card used a photo grabbed from Deadspin.

Below are Latos' career stats, via Baseball-Reference:


Below are Morse's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:


UDPATE:  It appears that Michael Morse isn't coming to the Dodgers.  Rumors are swirling that another team (a third team) is in the mix, and Morse is expected to go there.  Per Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, "Marlins Flip Mat Latos to Dodgers for -1 Prospect."
Don’t be thrown by the presence of Morse. While nothing’s impossible, he’s unlikely to ever suit up. His addition doesn’t have 25-man roster implications, as he’s probably going to be dumped right away. He’s in here because he’s a little expensive, through next season, and the Marlins hate signing paychecks. He’s this trade’s equivalent of Carlos Quentin in the Craig Kimbrel trade from April. Quentin was accepted by the Braves and immediately designated for assignment. Morse will probably land somewhere in the American League, or with the Phillies.
UPDATE II:  Uh-Oh!  This deal appears to be far from done.  Via a tweet from Miami Herald reporter Clark Spencer:


What a mess.  I wonder what's holding things up.

UPDATE III:  The potential third team in the trade has been identified as the Braves, via a tweet by Ken Rosenthal:
Regardless, the original Marlins-Dodger trade will happen anyway, via a tweet by Jon Heyman:
UPDATE IV: WHAT IS GOING ON!!!  Word is now spreading that HEctor Olivera is going to the BRaves and the Dodgers might be getting a package of Alex Wood (starter), Jim Johnson (reliever) and Jose Peaza (2nd base prospect). Wha???!!!  Via a tweet from MLB Trade Rumors:
UDPATE V:  Here's the official press release for the Marlins part of the trade:
 The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired right-handed pitcher Mat Latos, infielder/outfielder Michael Morse and cash considerations from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league right-handed pitchers Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham and Kevin Guzman.

Latos, 27, has a 64-52 career record with a 3.43 ERA in 169 starts with the Padres (2009-2011), Reds, (2012-14) and Marlins (2015). During the course of his career, Latos has limited opponents to a .235 batting average and posted a 1.17 WHIP, while striking out more than three times as many as he’s walked with 938 Ks against only 308 walks in 1040.1 innings. Since making his big league debut with San Diego in 2009, Latos has posted a 2.67 ERA (92 ER/310.0) in 48 starts against NL West opponents, pitching well in every ballpark in the division: Dodger Stadium (3.34 ERA), AT&T Park (1.62 ERA), Chase Field (1.33 ERA), Coors Field (3.49 ERA) and PETCO Park (2.98 ERA). He was originally selected by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Broward (FL) Community College.

This year, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Latos has gone 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts with the Marlins, but regained his form with a 2.96 ERA (15 ER/45.2 IP) and a .198 opponents’ batting average in seven starts since returning from the disabled list on June 13 (left knee inflammation). In six starts against NL West opponents this season, Latos has a 3-1 record with a 3.05 ERA (13 ER/38.1 IP) and a 1.02 WHIP.

Morse, 33, has a .276 career batting average with 103 home runs and 345 RBI in 757 games over 11 big league seasons with the Mariners (2005-08, 2013), Nationals (2009-12), Orioles (2013), Giants (2014) and Marlins (2015). During the course of his career, Morse has played outfield (409 games, 385 starts), first base (209 G, 174 GS), shortstop (57 G, 50 GS) and third base (9 G, 2 GS) and, in 82 career pinch-hit appearances, he has hit .282 (20-for-71) with a home run and 16 RBI. He played a key role in the Giants’ 2014 World Series championship run and has a .282 batting average with two homers and seven RBI in 15 career postseason games. Morse was originally selected by the White Sox in the third round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Nova High School in Davie, FL.

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Blog Kiosk: 7/29/2015 - Dodger Links - Turner, Joc Pederson and Kosher Food at Dodger Stadium


So... Another Clipper came to Dodger Stadium to throw out the first pitch last night, and like many before him was roundly booed by the fans.  Paul Pierce, who went to Inglewood High School, had just signed a contract to come home to play, but gets little love from the Lakers obsessed city.  At least one person in the stadium was happy to greet the newest Clipper, though.  As evidenced in the photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015, Dodger reliever Kenley Jansen was all smiles when they shook hands.  BTW, Pierce bounced his throw; which only elicited even more jeers from the peanut gallery.  (You can watch it here)

Below are some links to check out:
  • Are you Kosher?  Well, now you can go to Dodger Stadium and eat foods more to your liking.  Starting this homestand will be a Kosher food stand that will offer three kinds of Kosher hot dogs.  It'll be located adjacent to Lasorda's Trattoria in the right-field pavilion.  The menu: Kosher Dog and a Jalapeno Kosher Dog for $9 each, and a Kosher Italian Sausage for $10.  The stand will be open at Dodger home games, except Fridays and Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
  • Justin Turner has had a difficult past 24 hours.  There had been reports all day yesterday that he went to the ER for a bad infection due to a pimple.  Well, Dodger Talk host David Vassegh shares what really happened, via his twitter:
Ouch!
"I didn't think he would strikeout this much. It's more than I want," manager Don Mattingly said. "But you still see the huge upside. Everything about Joc is really what I like, as far as his work ethic, what kind of teammate he is, and how he goes about his business. When you have the talent and you work at it, you're going to see improvement. It's not always easy during the course of the season."
  • This is for any lid collectors out there.  Via LA Taco, "Four Unique Dodgers Hats For the Stretch Run."  (Hat Tip: r/ LA_ALLDAY on reddit)
  • Check out who's on the cover of Beckett's newest magazine/guide called Vintage Collectors magazine - Jackie Robinson.  It debuts at the upcoming National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.  Check it out on the right.  Click pic to embiggen.
  • Bob Lemke shares some Baseball history about a former Brooklyn Dodger, and it ain't pretty: "Former MLB pitcher (Jim Jumbo) Elliott part of lynch mob."
James (Jumbo Jim) Elliott, former pitcher with the Browns, Dodgers, Phillies and Braves, who made his last Organized Baseball appearance with the Indianapolis American Association Indians in 1936, was one of 13 named in an indictment in East St. Louis, Ill., July 14, in connection with the killing of a Negro by a mob near Paris, Ill., last Oct. 12.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 Allen & Ginter Baseball - The Dodger RIP, Boxtoppers and other Rarities

Here is a last look at the Dodger cards found within packs of 2015 Allen & Ginter.  Go here to check out all of my previous post on this set.

Featured directly below are the Dodger RIP cards.  There are single, double and mini RIP cards available.  As the name suggest, there is a card hidden within that has to be ripped out, via a tab at the top.  These hidden cards are typically scarcer and more sought after in the hobby.  Of special note are the mini-RIP cards that has an even smaller card hidden within it (typically numbered #/2).  You can watch a Rip card getting ripped here.

Rip Cards

#RIP-43 Adrian Gonzalez                 #RIP-44 Clayton Kershaw

Blog Kiosk: 7/28/2015 - Dodger Links - Puig, Olivera and Farhan Zaidi


I think with the silly season in full gear it is important to note that a vast majority of rumors you hear are just a bunch of bunk.  You've got competing interest at play; from agents looking to position their clients, to GM's trying to outplay their competitors, to reporters looking to create buzz and pageviews.  So, you should take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt.  Heck, the most likely trade to happen are the ones you don't hear about.  (Case in point, were there any rumors about Tulo getting traded before he was?)

That being said, I can totally envision the Dodgers trading Yasiel Puig should the right offer come along.  The thing is, I highly doubt that kind of offer comes.  He is an economic asset (look at his contract) and a player with the ability to put up huge numbers.  In order for a trade to make sense we would have to get premium value with cost certainty for a good amount of time, and no amount of rumors focused on any clubhouse antics should play a part in subsequent discussions.  Nevertheless, with all of the talk focused on him he had to respond, via Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times:

If Puig had a say, he would go nowhere.

"Players never want to be traded from their first team," he said. "But that's not our decision."
Puig raised the example of Dee Gordon, the All-Star second baseman who was traded to the Miami Marlins over the winter.

"Dee Gordon didn't want to be traded from here and they traded him," he said.

Puig said that if he is traded, he would like to respond the way Gordon did. Gordon, who was sidelined by a thumb injury earlier this month, is second in the National League with a .338 batting average.

"I'll play anywhere," Puig said. "I came to the United States [from Cuba] to play baseball. Baseball is the same anywhere. If they want to trade me, that's their decision. I can't do anything about that."

I hope the Dodgers keep him in the outfield.  He's still young and learning as he navigates the world he lives in now, and I'd hate for his numbers to explode in another uniform when maturity sets in.

The photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.  Below are some links to check out:
  • Take a look at the upcoming August issue of Dodger Insider magazine on the right.  It features Yasmani Grandal on the cover and in-depth articles on Yasiel Puig and Rick Honeycutt.  It goes on sale at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.  Click on the pic to embiggen.
  • Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com, "Olivera 'doing great,' Frias healthy after rehab start."
"Hector is doing great," said Kapler. "He's recovering beautifully, running to increase speed and stride length. Working his tail off. Taking swings off the tee and looks strong and fluid."
  • PETA declares that Dodger Stadium is the #1 most vegetarian friendly Baseball stadium in the league.  Check out their top-10 list here.
  • GCRL shares even more Steve Garvey cards in his collection - all of his book "fold-out" cards.
  • I hate hearing stuff like this - even when the victim is a Giants fan.  Via Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily, "(Willie) Mays Rookie Stolen from Rob Schneider’s Home."
  • With the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago is just days away Panini shares even more cards from their wrapper redemption program at the show; including the Joc Pederson jersey button cards below.  Go here to see even more photos of the cards available.
  • Check out this recent interview (this past weekend) from the DOHA conference between Molly Knight and Farhan Zaidi below.  (Hat Tip: r/thedude596 on reddit)

Video Link:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Monday, July 27, 2015

A's Series Starts Tomorrow - Scheduled Autograph Sessions, Pregame Info and Other Stuff!


The next homestand starts tomorrow against the Oakland A's, and several former Dodgers are scheduled for an autograph session with fans.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

------------------

Tuesday, July 28th at 7:10 PM
SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

Tuesday's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:40 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:10 PM.

It is also Clippers Night at Dodger Stadium.  Folks who ordered a special ticket package in the All You Can Eat Right Field Pavilion or Infield Reserve will get an exclusive Clippers t-shirt.  See that on the left.  If not already sold out go here for information.


As part of Clippers night, 10-time NBA All-Star, four-time All-NBA team selection and 2008 NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce, recently signed by the Clippers, will throw the ceremonial first pitch. Members of the Clippers’ Spirit Dance team will be in the right-field plaza beginning at 5:10 p.m. where DJ Adam will also provide entertainment.  There will be an exclusive Clipper Nation drink that can be purchased at the right-field plaza bar and features half-red and half-blue frozen Margarita in a Dodger Cup.

Dodger alumnus Al Ferrara will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • The Military Hero of the Game is U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Eric Reyes of Riverside.

------------------

Wednesday, July 29th at 7:10 PM
SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

Wednesday's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:40 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:10 PM.  The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a Yasiel Puig bobblehead.  See it on the left.


Puig’s mother, Maritza, will throw the ceremonial first pitch. Jack of Jack in the Box will also be on hand to throw a first pitch.  Beach Volleyball Olympians April Ross, a 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, and Sean Rosenthal, a two-time Olympian, will throw a first pitch ahead of the 56th Annual Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Manhattan Beach Open. Both Ross and Rosenthal represent their teams as defending champions of the prestigious tournament which will be held again August 13-16 on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Dodger alumnus Tim Leary will sign autographs in the left-field plaza from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • The Military Hero of the Game is U.S. Air Force Sergeant Joseph A. Quintos.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2015 Allen & Ginter Baseball - Autograph, Relic and Some Dodger Insert Cards

Following up on the Dodger base cards I shared in a post on Friday, below are the autograph, relic and "Starting Points" insert Dodger cards that are available.  Of note, Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp and Adrian Beltre have Dodger cards in the "Starting Points" set.

Autographs

#AGA-CKE Clayton Kershaw 
(redemption)


#AGA-JPE Joc Pederson                    #AGA-YGA Yimi Garcia

Blog Kiosk: 7/27/2015 - Dodger Links - Uribe, Greinke and Kenley Jansen


I ain't even mad.

Juan Uribe is just a winner - a clubhouse leader who has a knack for knocking in the winning run while making you smile at your misfortune.  And last night he did just that against the Dodgers.  Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"It was straight over the plate," Jansen said of the 95-mph cutter that didn't cut. "I tried to elevate it, but it didn't move. He was a good teammate, he's a good friend and he was the best man today."
I miss you Uribear! 

Photo above is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.  Below are some links to check out:
  • Congrats to the new family.  Welcome to the Blue, Bode Nicholas Greinke! Via a @Dodgers tweet:

“If anything, I feel negative about it,” Greinke told reporters after his streak ended on Sunday afternoon at 45 2/3 innings. “Now I don’t have to answer questions all the time.” 
  • Via Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs, "The Fringe Five: Baseball’s Most Compelling Fringe Prospects" includes two Dodger players: Jharel Cotton and Tim Locastro.
  • Via Murphy Powell at Beyond the Boxscore, "Kenley Jansen is doing everything better than before."
  • The 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention is coming next weekend, so Panini shared some more cards that will be inserted into their wrapper redemption program for the show; including the Joc Pederson autograph card on the right.  Go here to check out more preview pics.
  • Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy shares a bunch of pics of the Clayton Kershaw / Josh Beckett "no-hitter" bobblehead the RC Quakes gave out a couple of months back.
  • Stealing Home at All Trade Bait, All the Time shares his experience at the recently held Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals Induction Ceremony; including a whole bunch of great photos.
  • David shares his experience at the Masanori "Mashi" Murakami book signing in Whittier a couple of weeks ago, here.  As you may know, Mashi was the very first MLB'er from Japan.

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Allen & Ginter Baseball - The Dodger Base Cards

The ever popular Allen & Ginter Baseball card set is now on store shelves, and I've got pics of all of the Dodger base cards below.  Go here for a complete checklist of the set.

I've also included a checklist and examples of several of the other mini parallel cards that can be found; including the cloth (silk), metal and glossy mini cards.  These three sets have their own unique checklist.  I've also included the "Mini Exclusive" cards that can only be found in RIP cards.  Unfortunately, at the time of this posting I have yet to see the Yasiel Puig card.



#3 Adrian Gonzalez                          #88 Carl Crawford

#91 Howie Kendrick

Blog Kiosk: 7/24/2015 - Dodger Links - Kershaw, Greinke and Joc Pederson


The unhittable Clayton Kershaw.  He was magnificent... No, he's been magnificent for quite some time now. 

Last night he threw a complete game three-hit shutout to extend his scoreless innings streak to 29 innings, and I think it's fair to say that all the troubles he faced at the start of the season are now over.  Heck, he might be pitching better than he ever has in the past.  Consider this, via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
Kershaw is the first MLB pitcher with three straight games of at least 10 strikeouts and no runs or walks allowed.
In over 100 years of history no pitcher has ever done what Kershaw is currently doing.  That's amazing.

The above photo of Kershaw and Joc Pederson in midst of a "high-five" is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to take a look at more photos from yesterday's game from Jon.  Below are some links to check out:
  • I gotta get on this right away.  Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy tells us about a limited edition Dodger pin giveaway at 76 gas stations, here.
  • Hey!  Congrats to the expecting family.  I guess Greinke's scoreless streak will have to wait a bit.  He is likely to miss his scheduled start today, but could pitch over the weekend.  Via a tweet from Alanna Rizzo:

JM:  You mentioned breakfast; I'm wondering, when you're out with your teammates, who picks up the check?
JP:  I went with [Scott] Van Slyke the other day, and we got to play credit card roulette, and that was cool. Adrian Gonzalez, I go with him a lot, and I always ask him to let me pay but he never lets it happen. It's kind of awkward at times. He's done so much for me that I really want to pay – it would be nice to buy one breakfast or something.
  • Kudos to the Indians.  Via Ian Denomme at Big League Stew, "Report: Indians won’t trade Mike Aviles, whose daughter is battling leukemia."
  • Here's a great interview Drake Witham at SportsNet LA.com with Robin Knight.  She was previously cast as one of the ballplayers in "A League of Their Own" and currently works at Dodger Stadium on the Pitch F/X system and as a stats stringer.  Check it out here.
Madonna and I were pals during the shoot ... great ensemble. Mo, that’s what I called her, was one of the hardest working people. She did not want anyone doing her baseball stuff for her, Geena was the same way. Plus they worked their butts off on any down time, a small group of us would go out and practice practice practice.  I teased her that she played baseball like a dancer and she picked on me when we had to do the jitterbug. She said, “yeah, well you dance like a baseball player.” We both learned.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Check Out the Kershaw Challenge Auction at MLB

Clayton Kershaw, past winner of both the Roberto Clemente and Branch Rickey Awards for his humanitarian work, currently has an auction up at MLB Auctions that benefits his Kershaw's Challenge charity.  There's a bunch of great stuff to check out.  Go here for a complete listing. 


Below are a handful of items that stuck out to me.
(pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

Below is Sandy Koufax's complete Old-Timers Game uniform he wore on May 16th, 2015 at Dodger Stadium. 
(Auction Link)

And below is Clayton Kershaw's game worn jersey worn in the Civil Rights Game honoring Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium April 15th, 2015.  Notice the patch on the right shoulder.  It has also been signed by both Kershaw and Sandy Koufax.
(Auction Link)

The next three items are all canvas prints by noted sports artist Stephen Holland.  They have all been signed by the player (with exception of the Jackie Robinson... obviously).

Clayton Kershaw (link)
(Auction Link)
Fernando Valenzuela (link)
(Auction Link)

Jackie Robinson (link)
(Auction Link)

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *