Thursday, March 05, 2015

2015 Topps Heritage - All the Dodger Base, SP's & Variations

For the longest time I wasn't looking forward to seeing this Heritage branded flashback set.  The 1966 design is just bland and uninspiring.  There are no action photos, only portraits and posed shots.  The set screamed out, "I'm boring!"  And gosh darnit, my younger self didn't want to identify with that.

But as the years have gone by I've gained a surprising amount appreciation for it.  It's consistent and simple.  There's no unwarranted flash to get in the way, and who doesn't want a nice mug of your favorite players?  My older self has learned to accept that this minimalist approach is exactly the kind of thing I strive for.  And dammit, I sure do like it.

There are 20 Dodgers' in the base set, and it includes the very first cards of several new Dodger players.  Brandon McCarthy, Howie Kendrick and Jimmie Rollins get Dodger cards.  Strangely, Matt Kemp remains in Dodger Blue even though he was sent packing at roughly the same time we got Rollins and Kendrick.  Man, I tell ya, it's tough to be a Padres fan 'cause they get no respect.

There are several variations to chase if you're into that kind of thing; including a unique "Gum Back Damage" variation that has me intrigued.  For most of us older folks we had to accept the fact that the last card in any pack would always have wax/gum stains.  So, Topps decided to memorialize that with a variation that includes a "Gum" stain on the reverse.  Best yet, they also happen to smell like gum, so I guess you can call it a "scratch and sniff" card.  Anyway, go here to check out a complete checklist for this set and below are all of the cards.

#11 Michael Taylor & Joc Pederson

#43 Juan Uribe                                    #55 Justin Turner

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 2 / Away Game 1 - Kershaw on the Mound

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

Los Angeles Dodgers (0-1)  vs. Chicago White Sox (1-0)
LHP Clayton Kershaw vs. LHP John Danks

Thursday, March 5, 2015 – 12:05 p.m. PT | Camelback Ranch – Glendale
 TV: SNLA/MLB Network Radio: AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)
(today's starting lineup, via Colleen Kane on twitter)
(Clayton Kershaw, via @Dodgers on twitter)

JUST ONE GAME: The Dodgers dropped their Cactus League opener yesterday, in a 6-4 loss against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The Dodgers are the designated road team in today’s game, a rematch against the White Sox, which is the Dodgers’ first of 19 road spring training games in Arizona. Starting pitcher, Erik Bedard took the loss in his Dodger debut yesterday, allowing one run on two hits in 2.0 innings. Designated hitter Joc Pederson went 2-for-2, with a double and a run and first baseman O’Koyea Dickson, who went 1-for-2 in the game, blasted a home run to left field in his first at-bat after entering the game in the 5th inning.
  • The Dodgers are now 2-6 in their Cactus League openers since re-locating Spring Training to Camelback Ranch in 2009, including dropping both split-squad contests in 2011.

HILLTOPPERS: The Dodgers will send reigning NL Cy Young and MVP winner Clayton Kershaw to the mound today for his 2015 debut, coming off of a remarkable season, in which he topped the Majors with 21 wins (21-3) and a 1.77 ERA in 27 starts. He won his third-career Cy Young and became the 11th Dodger to win the NL MVP award, the first National League pitcher to be honored as MVP since the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson. He has led the Majors in ERA every season since 2011, becoming the first-ever pitcher to win four consecutive ERA titles. Since making his debut in 2008, Kershaw leads the Majors in ERA, winning percentage (.667), opponents’ average (.209) and WHIP (1.06).
  • 25-year-old RHP Joe Wieland will make his Dodger debut today after being acquired by Los Angeles in a five-player trade with the Padres. Wieland made his Major League debut in 2012 for the Padres and was a September call-up again in 2014, posting a 1-4 record in nine big league games (seven starts). Wieland, who played in seven minor league seasons, threw a no-hitter for Double0A Frisco (Rangers) on July 29, 2011 in the Texas League.
  • RHP Brandon League will make his first appearance of the spring today. In 2014, League did not allow a home run in 63.0 IP, the most homerless innings by any NL player. Since 2004, he ranks first among Major League relievers (min. 475.0 IP) with a 61.1 ground ball percentage.
  • Hard-throwing RHP Chris Hatcher is expected to make his first appearance as a Dodger after being acquired in a seven-player trade with the Marlins on Dec. 10, 2014. Hatcher, who made his Major League debut in 2010 with Miami as a catcher was returned to the big leagues the following season as a pitcher in 2011. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player since Art Doll of the Boston Braves in 1935 to play his first Major League season as a catcher and return in a subsequent season as a pitcher.
  • LHP Daniel Coulombe, who made his MLB debut with Los Angeles last year as a September call-up, will also make his first appearance of the spring today. Coulombe who appeared in five games for the Dodgers, posted a 4.15 ERA and recorded five strikeouts. In his three years in the minors, Coulombe has gone 7-3 with eight saves and posted a 3.43 ERA in 126 games.
  • (Dodger billboard, pic via Matthew Moreno on twitter)
  • LHP Ryan Buchter will make his first appearance of the spring today. Buchter, one of the newest Dodgers, made his Major League debut with Atlanta last season, which was his only big league appearance. In nine minor league seasons he has posted a 32-18 record with a 3.44 ERA in 327 games (two starts) in the Nationals (2006-08), Cubs (2009-11) and Braves (2011-14) organizations.

COME ON UP: The Dodgers will have five minor leaguers joining the club today against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch: infielder Luis Mateo (No.86), outfielder Joey Curletta (No.96), outfielder Travis Witherspoon (No.85), LHP Jeremy Horst (No.97), RHP Jeremy Kehrt (No.87) and RHP Steve Smith (No.95)

A SAD FAREWELL: The Dodgers mourn the passing of long-time Dodger scout John Keenan, who died this morning. Keenan was a scout in the Kansas area and was involved in the signing of many former Dodgers, including infielder Bill Russell and outfielder Mitch Webster. His grandfather, Bert Wells, was also a well-known Dodger scout.

MARK YOUR CALENDER: The Dodgers and the Padres have agreed to move the start time for their March 12 Spring Training game to 6:15 p.m. at Peoria Sports Complex. This adjustment from the original 1:05 p.m. time slot is to accommodate a request by Major League Baseball, which is collaborating with HBO to film a special that day in Arizona.
(Mattingly & Rollins, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/5/2015 - Dodger Links - Joc has Good Start

So, who got the first Dodger hit of Spring Training?

Highly rated rookie Joc Pederson, of course!

He hit a single to the right side with one out in the third inning of yesterdays game.  It was off former Dodger hurler Brad Penny, and through a shift (as described by JP Hoornstra on twitter).  Pederson would also score the first run of Spring later that inning on a par of singles by Jimmy Rollins and Carl Crawford.  Overall, he went 2 for 2; adding a double off the centerfield wall in his next at-bat.  BTW, the photo above was tweeted out by his older brother Tyger (a one-time Dodger draft pick-33rd round in 2013).

It looks like he was able to battle through any nervous energy, via a tweet by JP Hoornstra.

I should add, although I always wonder if it's necessary, that you shouldn't take too seriously the results of an early spring game.  This is practice, and many ballplayers (especially regulars) spend the early going retooling for the season.  That means focusing attention on minute details of the game that may not necessarily lead to a positive result at that time, but will hopefully lead to success once the season begins.  It's all about preparing for the season.

That being said, though, Joc Pederson's fast start out of the gate can only bolster his confidence.  Via a quote shared by Mark Saxon at from Don Mattingly:
“Obviously, it probably helps him if he gets a couple hits early so he can relax instead of starting out 0-for-15 or something.”
FYI, the Dodgers lost the game to the White Sox 6-4. Ho-hum.

Below are some more links to check out:
Their offer to pay down the contract to the point where Ethier is making only about $10 million a year, or perhaps a bit less than that, may seem more than reasonable. But it apparently hasn't enticed teams to the point of a trade.
I don't want to pile on more negative thoughts onto Andre since just about everyone else has or will.  Instead, I'd like to say that I firmly believe he still has value.  It's just that finding a sweet spot that makes both economic and baseball sense can be a difficult endeavor.  I trust a solution is at hand, and we just need to allow the process to continue.  Ethier can still play ball, and he could just surprise the lot of you.
“I know where I stand. It feels fine,” Bedard said. “The game’s still fun and I like playing baseball is, basically, what it comes down to.” 
  • Panini releases their first Baseball card set of the 2015 season next week.  It is their Donruss brand.  Check out a sneak peek preview of one of the subsets here.  The Yasiel Puig card is on the right.  On a side note, I've never liked the original 1981 Donruss design (that Panini uses for this set), but I gotta say that they look nice in the photos.
  • Vie Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig highlight Dodgers' Thursday lineup."
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Ramon Martinez joins Orioles as special assignment pitching coordinator."
  • Via Ken Gurnick at, "(Bruce Hurst named field coordinator for Dodgers' Dominican academy."
  • Via Chris Long at The Players' Tribune, "The Creepiest Mascot in Sports."  I would put that new Dodger mascot thingy (the giant Dodger bobblehead man) in the top 10; without a doubt.

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