Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Look at some Vintage Brooklyn Dodgers China

Given how often these pop up at various auctions throughout a year, I thought I would take a moment to briefly write about them here.  Featured is a vintage set of 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers National League Champions china that includes a plate, cup and saucer.  The exact set shown in the pic above is currently available at Hunt Auctions (Auction Link Here).

These were originally given to players, coaches, Dodgers employees and even the press in appreciation for the work done that past season.  In 1952 the Dodgers won the pennant by 4.5 games over the Giants, but lost the World Series to the Yankees that Fall.

The china includes a spiffy looking pennant logo emblazoned on front, and a Delano Studios mark and formal thank you from the Dodgers on its reverse.  It says:

Blog Kiosk: 5/31/2016 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

The Dodgers thought that they'd lucked out yesterday.  That afternoons starter, Jason Hammel, left the game early due to an hamstring cramp.  So, they wouldn't have to face one of their best starters so far this season.  Unfortunately, the Cubs bullpen was up to the task of shutting down Los Angeles.  Via Brian Hedger at MLB.com:
"Once Hammel goes out there and we're into the bullpen in the third inning, you're thinking you can grind some at-bats and wear out the bullpen," Turner said. "It's Game 1 of a four-game series. [Wood] did a good job of pounding the zone and getting quick outs, and I think he went four innings. You have to tip your cap to him."
Five Cubs pitchers combined for a one-hit shutout victory; including seven no-hit innings by their relievers.  The lone Dodger hit was a single by Justin Turner in the first inning.  The Dodgers lost 2-0.

Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2106Go here to check out more pics by Jon from yesterdays game.  Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History: This is remarkable.  In 1948, Tommy Lasorda, as a member of the Schenectady Blue Jays of the Phillies system, struck out 25 batters in a 15 inning game to defeat the Amsterdam Rugmakers.  Lasorda has said in the past that he likely threw more than 300 pitches that day.  In 1965 the Dodgers, for the first time in history, field an all switch-hitting infield in a game against the Reds.  The players were Wes Parker, Jim Lefebvre, Maury Wills and Jim Gilliam.  In 1968 Don Drysdale hurled his fifth consecutive shutout to extend his scoreless innings streak.  This is the game where a Giants batter was called out on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch since he was ruled to have not made an attempt to get out of the way of the pitch.
  • Happy Birthday, Dave Roberts!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Blog Kiosk: 5/30/2016 - Dodgers Links - Bonds on Joc, Ryu and Clayton Kershaw

That's the look of steely determination.

Clayton Kershaw was a workhorse again last night; going 7.2 innings, giving up four hits, striking out ten and walking none.  Per Doug Padilla at ESPN:
"To say it's a luxury (to have him) is an understatement," manager Dave Roberts said of that fifth day, when his ace takes the mound. "I think every time he takes the mound, you're looking at penciling in 10-12 strikeouts, eight innings. The pen is going to get rested. It's something that we don't take for granted around here. We appreciate Clayton."
Unfortunately, the bullpen failed to maintain a win for Kershaw intact.  Nevertheless, he did keep the Dodgers in the game long enough to allow then a chance to win the game.  Adrian Gonzalez drove in the winning run for the Dodgers in the ninth inning.  BTW, we did get a bit of an injury scare to Clayton.  Via Ken Gurnick and Troy Provost-Heron at MLB.com:
Kershaw nearly became the latest Dodgers pitcher injured while batting in the fifth inning. As he grounded out, the bat broke and the barrel struck him on the right side of the neck. He never left the home-plate area while being put out, but was uninjured and continued.

"It just scared me," Kershaw said. "I've never really done that before, it was just shocking. I wanted to make sure I didn't have any stab wounds. It just stunned me."
Both photos above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016Go here to check out more pics bu Jon from yesterdays game.  Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History: In 1946 Boston Braves outfielder Bama Rowell became the first player to hit a Baseball that hit the Bulova clock located above the right field scoreboard at Ebbets Field.  in 1962 Maury Wills becomes the 7th player in history to hit home runs from each side of the plate in a single game.  It was against the Mets.
  • Happy Birthday, Manny Ramirez!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Julio Urias 2016 Topps Now Card - #102

Topps has issued a limited edition Topps Now card.to commemorate Jullio Urias' start last night.  Go here to check it out and order.  They are only available til Sunday afternoon.

Since Urias didn't have a great start I wonder if that will harm the number of cards collectors will order.  I suspect, though, that the ceiling placed on the young left-handed prospect will remain high regardless of the recent results last night.  So, the production numbers should be better than average.

UDDATE:  There are 2,992 copies of this card.

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

Blog Kiosk: 5/28/2016 - Dodgers Links - All About Urias

That didn't go as planned.

Julio Urias was thrown to the wolves and got bit.  He lasted just 2.2 innings against the Mets; giving up three runs, five hits and striking out three.  Having given up an uncharacteristic four walks, Urias struggled in every inning he pitched. In fact, many of his pitches were up in the strike zone.  No doubt he was showing signs of nervousness.  Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"I was," he admitted. "I'm not going to lie, when I went out there, I started thinking of everything I've had to go through to get here. But when I was on the mound, I was able to settle down, be a little more comfortable. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the results we wanted."
He added further:
"There was a big difference," Urias said of the quality of hitters. "They were looking for specific pitches, and sometimes I tried to fool them and I wasn't able to. Today, it didn't work out, but I'm going to continue to work hard and try to get results."
That was quite an inauspicious beginning for the kid, but I have no doubt he'll have much better outings in the future.  The photo above is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016Go here to check out more pic by Jon from yesterdays game.  Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History: In 2001 Paul LoDuca records six hits in an eleven inning victory over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium.  His feat tied an NL record for hits in an extra-inning affair.  In 2011 several sections in the reserve level at Dodger Stadium are evacuated due to a small fire in an storage area.
  • Happy Birthday, Kirk Gibson!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Julio Urias Checklist of his Early Baseball Cards - From 2013 to 2014

Since Julio Urias is on everyone's mind I thought I would take a moment to put together a checklist of Baseball cards for the left-handed phenom.  Below are pics (of the front and reverse) of most of his early Baseball cards.  I focus on cardboard from 2013 and 2014.  I might follow up on this checklist with pics of his cards from 2015 over the weekend, so stay tuned.  As always, there are numerous parallel cards available, but I've done my best to show only the normal base version of each card below.

If I missed anything please let me know. In fact, this listing includes some of his minor league team issued cards, but not likely all of them.  So, if you happen to have a pic available of anything I am missing please pass them along.  I also include a handful of oddball related collectibles.

For a 19-year old kid he sure does have a lot of cardboard available.  His very first officially licensed card is the below 2013 Bowman Sterling autographed card.  Although, it is not his most sought after card.  That is reserved for the always popular Bowman Chrome brand.  Specifically, his 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph card.  Those cards in high-grade and as a low-numbered parallel sell for premium dollars.  In fact, the below 2013 Bowman Sterling card is a relative bargain in comparison.

BTW, the below cards are listed in chronological order from their time of release.  The only exceptions are the minor league team issued sets/memorabilia.

2013 Bowman Sterling

Prospect Autograph Insert
#BSAP-JU Julio Urias  

2013 Great Lakes Loons Team Set

 #26 Julio Urias

Blog Kiosk: 5/27/2016 - Dodgers Links - Sandoval, Utley and Julio Urias

I've got that #JulioFever.  So much so, I decided to make a few more Urias fantasy cards last night.  Check them out above.  The photo used on the left is from SportsCenter on twitter, and on the right is a Getty pic grabbed from Last Word on Sports.

It is becoming more clear that the Dodgers youth brigade is coming, and today's surprise starting pitcher is just one of many we should expect in the near future.  How sweet it is that we get to enjoy the fruits of our patience.

Last night Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman answered several questions from the press corps, and Urias was the main topic.  Fortunately, Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider shares it in total.  Check it out here.  Below is a snippet:
Is this a spot start? Or is Urias in the big-leagues to stay?
We’re going to assess where things are after this start and go from there. We haven’t made any long-term determinations at this point. Obviously, we have to be mindful of his workload for the season. On the one hand, you want to make sure he gets the range he wants. On the other hand, you want to balance the “right now” part of the season with potentially September as well, having as many capable arms as we can have then. So we’re just going to get through tomorrow night and continue to assess it.
I suspect that he will eventually bounce around from AAA and Los Angeles throughout the season; much like how Stripling and Bolsinger are doing that right now.  Heck, he might even spend some time in the bullpen to lessen the number of innings he throws.  BTW, Ken Rosenthal shared some words of wisdom from Zach Greinke on Julio Urias on twitter:

Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodger History:  In 1888 fan favorite Adonis Terry pitched his second no-hitter for Brooklyn at Washington Park. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Welcome to the Blue, Julio Urias! A Boatload of Fantasy Cards

As you no doubt know by now Julio Urias is coming to "The Show" tomorrow.  On the mound he'll be sporting Los Angeles Dodger Blue in that evenings game against the New York Mets, and I think every Dodger fan in the world will be glued to their television set to witness it.  It's the kind of event that will be remembered and spoken about by fans for years to come.  Hopefully, he can rise to the occasion and not get bogged down by unrealistic expectations.

Not that you shouldn't expect the world from him.

Urias has been spectacular since he turned pro just three years ago (at the age of 16).  In fact, today marks the third anniversary of his first professional game. Here's a quote by Urias after that game with the Loons, per Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider:
“With the first couple guys, I was feeling kind of nervous. After that, I was really happy because I was making my debut and things ended up going well for me,” Urias said after the game. “I just wanted to do what (Loons pitching coach Bill Simas) told me. I just wanted to throw strikes and keep the ball down. If you do that, you can pitch in any league.”
On his recent play in the PCL for the Oklahoma City Dodgers Dave Cameron at FanGraphs makes note of how dominating he's been there:
Urias, though, is running a 1.10 ERA/2.89 FIP in his first 41 innings in the PCL (a notorious hitters league), and four of the five runs he’s allowed came in one appearance, back on April 16th. He allowed the fifth run in his next outing on April 22nd, a five inning affair where he gave up just two hits, walked one, and struck out eight. He’s pitched in five games since then, and posted the following line.

2016 Topps Pro Debut - All the Dodgers Insert Cards

Following up on pics of all the Dodgers base cards found in packs of Topps 2016 Pro Debut set, here is a look at the insert cards.  Unfortunately, there are no Dodgers autograph cards available in this set.

Pennant Patches

#PP-GH Grant Holmes                 #PP-JDL Jose De Leon

Blog Kiosk: 5/26/2016 - Dodgers Links - No All Star Game for Vin, Dodgers Sweep and Julio Urias

"If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky!"

As a part of Adrian Gonzalez's bobblehead night Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellarcame out to perform the national anthem before the game.  You can see them in the photo at the very top, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016.  Their appearance was the start of an festive affair that included an outstanding performance by Scott Kazmir on the mound, an attempted inside-the-park home run by a Reds player that ended with a perfect relay to home to get him out (watch it here), and a welcome sweep at a time when the Dodgers sorely needed it.  The Dodgers are now two games above .500.

Following up on the sombrero theme, it has been announced that Dodgers left-handed prospect Julio Urias will be called up from Oklahoma City on Friday to pitch that evenings game in New York.  Oh Boy!  The 19-year old will be the youngest player in the league when he comes in.  He'll be taking over for Alex Wood in the rotation, who is currently experiencing arm soreness but is expected to pitch again on Monday.  I suspect this will only be a spot start for the kid.  Although I have my reservations about bringing the kid up this soon I certainly welcome the opportunity to see what he can do on the big league level. 

 Go here to check out more pics by Jon from yesterdays game.  Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History: In 1971 Maury Wills records his 2,000th career hit against the Giants.  In 1996 former Dodger Mike Sharperson died in a car accident in Nevada at the age of 34.  He was an All-Star for the Dodgers in 1992.  Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider wrote a great story about him today.  Check it out here.  It is worth your time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Kirk Gibson and Flipper Anderson

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.


2016 Topps Pro Debut - All the Dodgers Base Cards

Certainly related to the wealth of talent currently within the farm system, the Dodgers have eight base cards within the recently release 2016 Topps Pro Debut Baseball card set.  As you know, this brand highlights the best and brightest prospects in the game, and features these players on the flagship Baseball card design.  I love the fact that they are all wearing the uniforms of their minor league teams.  Go here to see a complete checklist.

Below are pics of the eight Dodgers prospects in the set.  Of note, this set includes the very first licensed card of right-handed pitcher Josh Sborz.  He was drafted 78th overall by the Dodgers last year, and is currently pitching in high-A ball for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

#26 Alex Verdugo                                #46 Cody Bellinger

Blog Kiosk: 5/25/2016 - Dodgers Links - That Strange Game

Last nights game was a mixed bag.

It started out with a fantastic ceremony in honor of the men and women in the armed forces, and included an enlistment ceremony for all four branches.  The photo above, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016, features the ceremony.

Then Mike Bolsinger came in to start his second game of the year and was fantastic.  He went 5.2 innings and gave up three hits, two earned runs and recorded six strike outs to win his first game of the season.  During the game, though, a bunch of weird things happened.  In the sixth inning Yasiel Puig came up to bat with two men on and rocketed a deep fly to right field.  In fact, it was so deep he thought he hit a homer, so instead of running hard out of the box he stood and admired it.  When the ball fell short of the wall he traipsed onto first base instead of the base he should have ended up at.    For his transgression he was benched for the rest of the game. Via Chad Thornburg at MLB.com:
"In my opinion, he should have been on second base," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "When we talk about playing the game the right way, we've got to be accountable. So that was the decision that I made."
BTW, that was a great call by Dave Roberts.  Listen to him talk about it briefly towards the end of this video (video link).  Via Dan Arritt at ESPN:
"I thought it was a home run, and then I didn't run out the ball, obviously," Puig said through an interpreter. "It was [Roberts'] decision to take me out of the game. It was a decision well made, because all my teammates are out on the field working hard, and I should have run out that ball."
(pic via Cespedes BBQ on twitter)
Then in the seventh inning something funny and strange happened.  A paper airplane landed on the infield with the Dodgers at bat, so the resident "no-fun" ballplayer Joey Votto let everyone know what he thought of that.  He stomped on it like an insolent child.  You can watch a gif of it here.  Obviously, Dodger fans booed him.  Then something incredible happened.  They started chanting "airplane stomper."  I kid you not!

I hope quirky chants like this become a tradition at games.  Heck, maybe decades from now fans will still chant this at the Reds... Just for fun.  It'll be like NY Rangers fans who still chant "Potvin Sucks" nearly 30 years after his terrible check against an Islanders player.

Oh... The Dodgers offense came alive and scored eight runs to win their third straight game.  Go here to check out a bunch of great photos from Jon SooHoo from the game.  Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 2002 Diamondbacks starter Randy Johnson struck out Shawn Green to record his 3,509th career strike out to surpass Hall of Famer Walter Johnson on the all time list.  BTW, Green also hit two homers in the game to become the first Major Leaguer to hit seven round-trippers in three consecutive games.  In 2014 Josh Beckett threw his only career no-hitter against the Phillies.  Watch highlights from the game here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Deja Vu! Kershaw gets Fourth Topps Now Card - It Looks Just Like his First One

When Clayton Kershaw does something magnificent on the mound you want to release a Topps Now card featuring him pitching.

I get it.  That makes perfect sense.

But come on now!  Can't we find a more unique photo?

This newest card is basically a carbon copy of his very first 2016 Topps Now card that was issued in early May.  Take a look at that card on the right (original post link).

The new card, featured above and below, uses the exact same pose.  In fact, the only difference is that the latter card is from a day game, and this new card is a night game - which I assume Night Owl Cards would appreciate.

Blog Kiosk: 5/24/2016 - Dodgers Links - Urias, Calhoun and Clayton Kershaw

This is a tradition that I'm sure many are going to miss.  Featured above, via a pic by Jon SooHoo, are the umpires from last nights game tipping their caps to the Vin Scully.

For years umpires from throughout the league have honored the man behind the mic with this symbolic gesture before the start of a game, and it'll be strange to not see this ritual once he's gone.

As for the game... Well, Clayton Kershaw is the best.  Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"It speaks to Clayton. He knows where we're at, where our bullpen is at, how taxed they've been," said A.J. Ellis, who caught all 17 innings Sunday and was back in there Monday with Yasmani Grandal nursing a bruised foot. "For Clayton to meet that challenge and expectations every night, it seems like every time he's pitching it's coming off a tired bullpen. What he's done so far, giving those guys a blow, you should have seen the reception he got coming in from those guys. Expectations are off the charts, they seem unmeetable and he keeps meeting them. His consistency is mindblowing. Our expectations are unfair, what we expect him to do. Yet, he meets them.
"We all know how fortunate we are. I hope all of baseball realizes what they're watching right now. I know Los Angeles, with the ovation he gets going out there for the ninth inning, appreciates his work and completing his job. We don't take it for granted. We see what he puts into it. We are in awe with the consistency, and it's fair to say we all raise our game on the day he pitches."
Dodgers defeated the Reds 1-0.  The only run in the game scored on a double-play ball in the sixth inning.  Go here to check out some pics from the game via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016.  Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1973 Willie Davis recorded six hits in an 19 inning loss to the Mets.  BTW, both teams established a NL record for hitting into an combined nine double plays.
  • Happy Birthday, Brad Penny!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Welcome Back to the Blue, Mike Bolsinger and Luis Avilan!

The Dodgers shuffle both the starting rotation and relief staff this afternoon.  They have recalled right-handed starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger and left-handed reliever Luis Avilan.  They replace right-handed starter Ross Stripling, who has been optioned to AAA-Oklahoma City, and right-handed reliever Chin-Hui Tsao, who has been placed on the 15-Day DL with a right triceps strain. 

Blog Kiosk: 5/23/2016 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

In honor of his 128th birthday, check out the above vintage image of Brooklyn Hall of Famer Zach Wheat in a spiffy 1916 home white "checkerboard-style" Dodgers uniform.  He was born on this day in 1888.  Photo above via the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ggbain-22484.

Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1895 the Louisville Colonels forfeited a game against the Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Dodgers due to not having enough Baseballs on hand for the game.   In 1981 Ron Cey hit his 200th career home run against the Reds.  In 2002 Shawn Green becomes the 14th player in history to hit four home runs in one game.  It would happen against the Brewers in Milwaukee, and he would record 19 total bases (a new record at the time).  Watch every at-bat here.
  • Happy Birthday, Zach Wheat and Augie Galan!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Reds Series Starts on Monday - Pregame Info and Other Stuff!

(pic via @DodgersDining on twitter)
The next homestand starts on Monday evening against the Cincinnati Reds.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

The Cincinnati Dog will be available for this homestand only against the Reds at the Extreme Loaded Dog concession areas located on the field, loge and reserve levels. It features a quarter-pound, all-beef hot dog topped with Cincinnati chili, diced onion, cheddar cheese and oyster crackers.

The fourth 2016 issue of the new Dodger Insider magazine, featuring Chase Utley on the cover, will be available at Dodger Stadium.  (see it on the left.  The Dodgers merged their previously separate Playbill and Dodger Insider magazines into one publication (at least 80 pages per issue) with a new edition available each homestand.  They are distributed at auto gates (one per vehicle) and via Fan Services for those who use alternate transportation.


Monday, May 23rd at 7:10 PM
SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

Blog Kiosk: 5/21/2016 - Dodgers Links - Puig, Scully and Frankie Montas

Although the Dodgers got beat in the late innings last night it was nice to see a couple Dodgers briefly break out of their hitting slumps.  Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig, both of whom who've struggled at the plate, slugged two-run homers at separate times to give the team a lead.  Via AJ Cassavell and Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"You saw the results from all the work I've been doing," said Puig. "There is a difference in my at-bats. I'm hitting strikes and not swinging at bad pitches. Today I was swinging at pitches in the zone and that's why I was able to hit a home run."
You can watch Puig's homer here, and Turner's homer here.  Unfortunately, their good fortune at the plate was all for naught.  The typically reliable Kenley Jansen gave up his first walk-off home run of his career and his first blown save of the season.  He was working on a 25-game consecutive save streak.  Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"Tonight was one of those for sure head-scratchers," said Roberts. "Kenley has been lights out. You can't expect him to be perfect. I expect to have a lead tomorrow and use him again and I expect him to rebound. It's not an easy game. Got to be a man about it and turn the page."
Photo above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History: In 1952 the Dodgers would score 15 runs in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field.  Pee Wee Reese would get on base three times in that inning alone.  In 2000 Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green of the Dodgers would hit grand slams to join a cavalcade of grannies hit this day throughout the league.  For the first time in history there are six grand slams hit throughout the league.

Friday, May 20, 2016

eBay Unearths some Pics of the 1997 Dodgers

I was window shopping on eBay this afternoon when I came across a series of photographs that I thought I'd share here.  These aren't exactly vintage in nature, but they do elicit some old memories.

Featured are a bunch of scans from original 35mm color slides that were taken by a photographer named Thearon Henderson - who was on assignment for the Upper Deck Company at the time.  From what I understand, he is currently with Getty.  All of the pics where taken during the 1997 season, and it includes several players you hardly ever see.

More Dodgers Goodies at Lelands Auctions - Erskine's No Hit Game Ball

Earlier this week I wrote a bit about a Brooklyn Dodger themed prayer/mass card that Lelands Auctions has available for sale (link here).  Now I take a look at some other notable Dodgers collectibles that are available.

Directly below is a 1977 Dodgers National League Championship pendant that was given to Jodie Doggett, the wife of longtime announcer Jerry Doggett. (Auction Link Here)

Even more thrilling is the below, dated October 4, 1949, vintage photograph featuring the Brooklyn Dodger players and front office personnel at the steps of Brooklyn's Borough Hall in celebration of their National League pennant. (Auction Link Here)  The next day they would face the Yankees for the first game of the World Series at Yankees Stadium.  As you know, the Dodgers would lose to the Bronx bombers four games to one.

Blog Kiosk: 5/20/2016 - Dodgers Links - Dieter Ruehle and the Angels Honored Vin Scully

Forget about the game.  Let's talk about the Angels (Los Angeles South?) class act.  Yesterday, several players and coach's - many of whom are former Dodgers - payed tribute to Vin Scully in a small get together prior to the start of the game.  They greeted him like an old friend and passed along numerous gifts as a sign of their affection.  Via Fabian Ardaya at MLB.com:
"This is no fanfare," Scioscia said as he surprised Scully in front of a small group consisting of former players, coaches and members of the Angels organization. "All the words have already been said about you and your career."
Scioscia spoke fondly of Scully, who called most of his games throughout his playing career when he was a catcher for the Dodgers.

"I've never considered myself a neighbor," Scioscia said. "I've always considered myself a part of the Dodger family."
Along with Scioscia, also on-hand was Mike Trout, Jared Weaver, Dave Hansen, Ron Roenicke and Alfredo Griffin.

As for last nights game, I think Dodgers starter Ross Stripling said it best.  Via Fabian Ardaya and Jack Baer at MLB.com:
"Another frustrating game. It just feels like I'm always battling," Stripling said. "I couldn't get the first guy out to lead off an inning and was constantly in the stretch. Felt like the game was at a snail's pace for me, couldn't imagine what it feels for you guys."
The photo above via @Angels on twitterGo here to check out a bunch of great pics by Jon SooHoo from the game.  Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1971 Al Downing shut out the Astros, 3-0, in a game that lasted just one hour and 30 minutes - a record at Dodger Stadium.  In 1979 Don Sutton defeated the Reds to become the winningest pitcher in Dodgers franchise history.  He won his 210th game in Blue.
  • Happy Birthday, Jason Werth!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Welcome Back to the Blue, Chin-Hui Tsao!

I get the feeling that the retooling of the Dodgers relief staff is just beginning.  The Dodgers announced this afternoon that they are bringing back right-handed reliever Chin-Hui Tsao.  Mike Bolsinger, who started last nights game, has been optioned back to Oklahoma City. 

As you'll recall, the Dodgers initially signed Tsao as a free agent last winter.  He pitched well enough that Spring to be invited to stay with the club in the minors.  Quickly, he worked himself back into Major League shape (after having been out of the Majors for eight years), and eventually pitched in five games for Los Angeles that July with mixed results.  This season he started the year with the Oklahoma City Dodgers and did quite a bit of closing for them. 

Per a Dodgers press release:

2016 Topps Finest - All the Dodgers Insert Cards

Now that you've seen the base cards, here is everything else.  Unfortunately, the Kenta Maeda autographed card is available only through a redemption card.

Finest Autographs

  • #FA-KMA Kenta Maeda (via a redemption card)

Finest Firsts

#FF-CS Corey Seager

Blog Kiosk: 5/19/2016 - Dodgers Links - Yadier Alvarez, Mike Bolsinger and Louis Coleman

Mike Bolsinger returned to the Dodgers rotation and did the best he could.  He scattered six hits and gave up only a lone home run to Mike Trout before the dreaded fifth inning came around.  That's when the wheels fell off.  Bolinger got into another jam, and what could only be called 'bad luck' then sunk the team.  Per Jack Baer at MLB.com:
"I thought Mike had did what we had hoped," Roberts said. "There were 60 pitches that he threw in that last rehab start ... and where he was at with the third time through, I thought he gave us a chance to win."
(Coleman via Jon SooHoo/Dodgers)
In that fifth inning, Bolsinger left the game with two men on and one out when Louis Coleman was called in.  As you may know, Coleman has been one of the more effective relievers on the Dodgers staff.  Since April 25th he had not given up an earned run and allowed just one inherited runner to score in 10.1 innings pitched.  Over that span he has recorded 12 strike outs, walked only two and the opposition was slashing .088/.139/.118/.257.  Of course, this is a small sample size, but you had to like the results so far, and you had to figure he was the right man for the job.  Unfortunately, sometimes a version of Keystone Cops erupts on the field.

First he walked Pujols to load them up.  Then the next batter, CJ Cron, hit a infield single between Seager and Turner to score a run.  Following that was a little dribbler that was mishandled by Kendrick, the evenings 1st baseman, to score another.  Then, Rafael Ortega hit a 'Texas Leaguer' to left that Thompson dove for and missed.  Another fly ball to right scored the last run of the inning.  Overall, four balls where hit with Coleman on the mound, and only one was hit hard - the sacrifice fly.  Nevertheless, five runs crossed the plate to seal the game for the Angels.

Photo at the very top via SportsNet LA on twitterGo here to check out more pic from yesterdays game by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo.  Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodger History: In 1988 Tim Leary threw his second shutout of the season against the Montreal Expos.  He had been winless in his past five starts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Topps Finest - The Dodgers Base Cards

Topps decided to change things up with the 24th edition of their Finest Baseball card brand.  For the first time ever collectors could order boxes/cases directly from Topps online.  They also sold cases to Topps MVP direct stores on a preorder basis.  The pre-online sales to collectors occurred from April 257th to May 9th, and I understand that more boxes/cases are now available for order from Topps.  Go here or here to check that out.

As for the cards themselves, there are five Dodgers' in the base set, and an handful of inserts available.  Go here for a complete checklist.

Below are the Dodgers' base cards.  The Montas card is a green refractor parallel numbered to 99 copies.  I should have pics of the inserts in a day or two.

#8 Frankie Montas                                 #19 Joc Pederson

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Scott Schoenweis and Several Dodgers in Rancho Cucamonga

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.


That Makes it Three - Clayton Kershaw Gets his Third 2016 Topps Now Card - #80

At this rate he'll finish with over twenty Topps Now cards this year.

Clayton Kershaw has just been awarded his third 2016 Topps Now card - joining Trevor Story, Bryce Harper and David Ortiz as the only players with three or more cards (Story and Ortiz have four cards in this years set and Harper has six).  Go here to order or check it out.

Kershaw continues his march through the record books. Last night he recorded his sixth straight double digit strike out and one walk or less game streak by stifling the hapless Angels.  Via Alden Gonzalez at MLB.com:
"All his pitches move late," Calhoun said. "That's the biggest thing."

"You come out aggressive, ready to hit," Giavotella added, "but sometimes those strikes are in different spots than they appear to be."
Clayton Kershaw is on his way to having one of the more dominating seasons the game has ever seen.  He is currently striking out 22 batters for ever walk (an unheard of percentage) and leading the league in complete games, shut outs, strike outs, WAR, pitching WAR, FIP and WHIP.  His ERA is a minuscule 1.67 in 70 innings pitched.  It's hard to believe, but after five straight fantastic CY Young worthy seasons he just might be getting better.

UPDATE:  This issue has a print run of 421 copies.

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

Blog Kiosk: 5/18/2016 - Dodgers Links - Kershaw, Maeda's Bobble and the Time Warner/Charter Merger is Done

Kenta Maeda finally got a look at the promotional bobblehead the Dodgers are giving out on Tuesday, July 26th against the Tampa Bay Rays.  As you can see, in the photo tweeted out by the Dodgers, he definitely got a kick out of it.  On the right is a better look at the bobble, via another tweet by the Dodgers.

BTW, Clayton Kershaw was fantastic once again last night.  For the sixth straight game, resetting the MLB record, he recorded double-digit strike outs and had one or less walks.  Overall, he went eight innings, allowed four hits, struck out eleven and walked none to record his sixth win of the season.  Via Ken Gurnick and Fabian Ardaya at MLB.com:
"When you see [Mike] Trout walking up to the batter's box and he looks at me and shakes his head like, 'I'm going to take my medicine,' that respect is earned," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "There's that novelty, that respect that Clayton has from other players, so when you get in there, you're almost defeated."
On another note, the Dodgers youngsters continue to wreck the ball.  For the third straight game one of the kids hit a couple long balls in the game.  On Sunday, Corey Seager hit two homers.  On Monday, Trayce Thompson hammered two of his own.  Then last night, Joc Pederson pocketed a couple while Seager hit another. 

Go here to check out a bunch of great pics from yesterdays game from Jon SooHoo.  Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History: In 1931 Dodgers outfielder Babe Herman would hit for the cycle for the first time. He would do it against Cincinnati, and accomplish this feat three times in his career.
  • Happy Birthday, Eric Young!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Brooklyn Dodgers Themed Prayer/Mass Card at Lelands Auctions

Here's something you don't see everyday.

Featured at Lelands Auction is the above 1956 prayer/mass card extolling its adherents to pray for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  As you can see, on the reverse it makes reference to the "death" of the "Brooklyn Dodger Bums" on October 10th - the day the team lost Game 7 of the 1956 World Series to the New York Yankees.  It adds:
"We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them, until we have conducted them by our prayers, into the house of the Lord."  - St. Ambrose
The melding of religious devotion and local team fanaticism was one of the hallmarks of the old Brooklyn club.

In fact, there is a great story about how one Catholic priest asked his parishioners to pray for Gil Hodges during a Sunday homily in 1953.  As the story goes, Hodges was suffering through a slump for the ages.  He had gone hitless during the last eleven games of the prior year (including the entire seven game World Series against the Yankees) and basically began the new season right were he left off.  By the 29th game he was slashing a lowly .193/.360/.227/.588.

Naturally, the Brooklyn faithful did all that they could to help him turn things around.  Gil received countless letters, postcards and telegrams.  He even received numerous good-luck charms from fans.  Then, Father Herbert Redmond of St. Francis Roman Catholic Church decided to reach towards an higher authority, saying one Sunday afternoon:
"It's far too hot for a homily. Keep the Commandments and say a prayer for Gil Hodges."
Soon thereafter, Gil Hodges started to hit again, and eventually ended the season slashing a greatly improved .302/.393/.550/.943.  Furthermore, he never again struggled in the postseason.

Of course, this is not to say that a higher power had anything to do with Gil's improved fortunes.  After all, I've read that a minor adjustment to his batting stance did wonders for him that year.  I do wonder, though, if just a little bit of faith that things will turn out fine is all we need to see the fortunes of several current Dodgers turn around.

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