Thursday, March 17, 2016

2016 Topps Opening Day - The Dodgers Base and Variation Cards

The most superfluous Topps set of the year has just been released.  It is their "Opening Day" brand and it features a product that looks exactly like their flagship set released a couple of weeks ago -- except with a snazzy little "Opening Day" logo.  The set is smaller in terms of the number of cards, typically uses the exact same design and photos as the flagship set and is a bit cheaper to purchase since it doesn't include an overabundance of inserted relic and autographs cards.  We do, on the other hand, get an early peek at the cards of an handful of players not included in the Series 1 offering.  So, there's that.  Go here for a complete checklist

There are eight Dodgers players in this base set, and we get a look at the Jansen and Montas base cards for the first time.  The other six players use the exact same photo as the Series 1 set -- boring!. Below are all of the Dodgers base cards and I decided to show pics of the "Blue Foil" parallels since they are so cool looking.  Also, there is one short-printed photo variation available, and it's of Kenley Jansen.  Check that out at the very bottom of this post.

#OD-5 Kenley Jansen                          #OD-48 Corey Seager

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 16/Home Game 8

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.
Kansas City Royals (7-10) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (10-3-2)
Thursday, March 17, 2016 – 1:05 p.m. MT | Camelback Ranch
RHP Kris Medlen (0-1, 5.40) vs. LHP Alex Wood (0-1, 9.00)
TV: None Radio: AM 570 (English)
(Kiké Hernandez, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

(Pic via @Dodgers on twitter)
GET YOUR GREEN ON: The Dodgers, winners of four of their last five games, take on the World Champion Kansas City Royals today at Camelback Ranch in the first of two Cactus League meetings between the clubs. Yesterday, Los Angeles improved to 10-3-2, tied for the second-best record of any MLB team this spring, with a 7-3 win over the Rockies. Yasiel Puig hit his first homer of the spring and Shawn Zarraga went 2-for-2 with an RBI to raise his batting average to .533. On the mound, Zach Lee allowed one run in 3.0 innings in his third start of the spring and Julio Urias picked up the win in relief.
  • In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Dodgers will wear special green hats and jerseys with green script for today’s game.
  • (Zach Lee, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)
  • The Dodgers and Royals last met during the regular season in 2014 in Kansas City, when Los Angeles took two of three games. Kansas City holds a 4-5 advantage in the all-time series.
O’FFENSE: The Dodger offense has been clicking on all cylinders this spring, ranking second among NL clubs with a .292 batting average, a .361 on-base percentage and a .498 slugging percentage. Individually, Scott Van Slyke ranks among the NL’s best in average (.385, T-5th), home runs (3, T-6th), on-base percentage (.484, 4th) and slugging percentage (.808, 5th), while Austin Barnes and Rob Segedin are tied for second with four Spring Training homers.
(Puig's Home Run Trot, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

LUCK OF THE IRISH: Good luck to Adrian Gonzalez and Team Mexico in their WBC qualifier tonight against the Czech Republic! Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela, who served as a pitching coach for Team Mexico in the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic tournaments, will throw a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game in Mexicali.

MARCH MADNESS: There’s always buzz in camp for the start of the NCAA basketball tournament, but more so this year with many of the players’ schools making the field of 68. A.J. Ellis’ Austin Peay Governors and Chris Hatcher’s UNC Wilmington Seahawks will look to be this year’s Cinderella squads against powerhouses Kansas and Duke, respectively, while Yasmani Grandal’s Miami Hurricanes, Micah Johnson’s Indiana Hoosiers, Ross Stripling’s Texas A&M Aggies, Joe Blanton’s Kentucky Wildcats, Ian Thomas’ VCU Rams and J.P. Howell’s Texas Longhorns hope for deep tournament runs.
(Dodgers St. Patrick's Cap, pic via David Vassegh on twitter)

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/17/2016 - Dodgers Links - Verdugo, Ryu and Yasiel Puig

Adrian Gonzalez is now in Mexicali for the WBC qualifying tournament games, and was kind enough to share a pic of Team Mexico's jersey on twitter.  See it above.

Below are more links to check out:
  • To the surprise of no one who's been paying attention, MLB will not be suspending Yasiel Puig for an alleged domestic-violence event this past winter.  Via a statement issued by MLB:
“The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball has concluded its investigation into an alleged incident involving Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and his sister in a Miami-area nightclub on November 26, 2015. The investigation included interviews of witnesses, including Puig and his sister, as well as a review of video footage from inside the nightclub at the time of the alleged incident. The Office of the Commissioner’s investigation did not uncover any witness who supported the assault allegation; both Puig and his sister denied that an assault occurred; and the available video evidence did not support the allegation. Thus, barring the receipt of any new information or evidence, no discipline will be imposed on Puig in connection with the alleged incident.”
Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors has a good rundown of the entire sordid mess, here.
BTW, the Dodgers released the following statement:
“The Dodgers are pleased with MLB’s findings following their thorough investigation. Yasiel can now put this matter behind him and focus solely on the season ahead.”
And it probably should not be a surprise that Puig hit his first home run of the Spring yesterday.  Check it out via a tweet from the Dodgers below: How much do you think you have improved compared to when you signed not quite two years ago?
Verdugo: It's unreal. From the first day I signed to now, I think the most improved part of my game is the mental side. Last year was the first time in my life I had struggled and I didn't know how to deal with it. I had a lot of meetings and conversations and realized I've got to cool myself down. Baseball is a game of failure, it's about grinding and getting through it. Physically, I feel like I've always been there, but the ball is getting off my bat better, my speed and my defense are getting better.
“He was a guy that we penciled in at the top of the rotation,” (Dave) Roberts said before a workout at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday. “You’ve got to adapt. Things are going to happen that we’re not too excited about. But obviously, that’s our reality.”

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