The Dodgers kicked off the first leg of their "Love L.A." Community Tour yesterday with visits to several schools throughout the Southland. Via former Dodger Al Ferrera in a story by Austin Laymance at MLB.com:
"This is as important as any hit I ever got," Ferrara said after a busy day back in grade school. "There's something about a child and the glint and the smile in their eyes that makes a big guy like me sort of fold a little bit."The photo above via @Dodgers on twitter. Below are more links to check out:
Ferrara also fielded a number of baseball-related questions from the kids, mixed in a story about Jackie Robinson, signed autographs and posed for pictures.
"I got a kick out of it," he said. "Sometimes I get more intelligent questions from them than I do from adults. They were very into baseball, which makes it easy for me."
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports passes along an interview with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and briefly addresses the SportsNet LA issue (link here):
The distribution problem in L.A. is the product of a negotiation at a table where we don’t have a seat. You can rest assured that we are continuing to have dialogue with the Dodgers, who desperately want that distribution. And also with distributors that we have relationships with in order to get that resolved.
This is hardly surprising. The Time Warner/SportsNet LA/Dodgers situation is largely seen as a club issue that needs to be resolved on that level. As I see it, the only thing that fixes the problem is the closing of Time Warner's merger with Charter. If that gets done then I think things move swiftly. Unfortunately, this isn't likely to happen very soon. The various regulatory agencies (both on the state and federal level) are still in the process of their approvals.
BTW, I forgot to mention that the California Public Utilities Commission is having a public hearing on the proposed merger today. No action is expected at this time. This is just an opportunity for groups to officially voice their views on the matter. The administrative law judge, though, will likely issue a recommendation (deny, grant or modify the proposal). It appears things are moving along more swiftly than I initially thought a few weeks ago. On a side note, the New York Public Utilities Commission has already approved the deal.
- Card Collectors Universe has preview pics of Topps 2016 Tribute Baseball set; including the autographed Sandy Koufax card seen on the right. Go here to see more pics. This set is slated to hit stores on February 24.
- Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Dodgers extend 16 non-roster invites to MLB camp for Spring Training." Included on that list are top prospects Julio Urias and Jose De Leon.
- Newly acquired second base prospect Micah Johnson is ranked as the seventh best prospect at his position by MLB Pipeline via Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com.
Don't use Johnson's brief trial as the White Sox's regular second baseman as a measure of who he can be in the big leagues. He may never be more than an adequate defender, but he can hit, he can get on base and he can run, as evidenced by his .301 average, .368 OBP and 153 stolen bases in 385 Minor League games. Perhaps the change of scenery in Los Angeles, courtesy of the three-team trade that brought Todd Frazier from the Reds to Chicago, will help.
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