During the old days ballplayers had to keep various side-gigs during the winter off-season. Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto sold suits, John McGraw had a vaudeville show for a short time, and Waite Hoyt was a mortician. Sometimes players spent their winter, especially if they were younger, going to school. Proof of that is featured in the photo above. It is a International News Photo taken by Hugh Broderick, dated Monday, October 11, 1947 of Ralph Branca getting back to the books less than a week after losing the 1947 World Series. Per the descriptor on the reverse:
On the Mound for Fair ScienceThe above photo recently sold at RMY's auction (link here). Below are more links to check out:
This studious young man engaged in a chemistry experiment in the laboratory of New York University is Ralph Branca. Who, as pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the recent World Series against the New York Yankees, made his share of headlines. Branca is a sophomore student at the university, majoring in physical education.
- This Day in Dodgers History: In 1946 the Dodgers and Montreal Royals (with Jackie Robinson in the lineup for the first time) played a spring training game in Daytona Beach. This marked the first appearance of an integrated club in organization baseball that century. Four decades later they would rename the field in Daytona Jackie Robinson Ballpark. In 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers traded pitcher Erv Palica to the Orioles for infielder Frank Kellert.
- Happy Birthday, Whitey Ock, "Pistol" Pete Reiser & Bill Mueller!
- Video: Alanna Rizzo caught up with Dave Roberts to chat about Ryu after the Dodgers loss to the Cubs on Thursday. (Link Here)
- BTW, Ralston Cash and Scott Van Slyke defeated Clayton Kershaw and Darnell Sweeney in the finals of the 2017 Dodger ping-pong tourney yesterday morning. Cash and Van Slyke won 2-1 in the best of three sets to take home bragging rights.
- ICYMI: The Dodgers will be playing WBC semifinalist Japan this coming Sunday, March 9th at Camelback Ranch as they prepare for their match-up the following Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
- Per Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider; "For Stripling, any opportunity is right."
“I think my mentality has to be the same — when you get the ball, you have to go out and get people out and have success,” Stripling said. “And that’s the way to pitch yourself into a job. I don’t think I want to view it as I have a spot and I’m going to lose it. I want to view it as the other way — like I don’t have a spot, and I have to pitch my way to it because it keeps you hungry and fighting for something.”
- Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA; "Darnell Sweeney making most of second opportunity with Dodgers."
"We're going to get him out there in center field. He made a nice play at short, and at third base, and we know he can play second base,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He's really impressed us as a baseball player. I really hadn't put eyes on him before.”
- Here's a fascinating look at Justin Turner's new swing adjustment. Per Ken Gurnick at MLB.com; "Creating more loft means more pop for Turner."
"I don't think it's necessarily a change in swing to create loft," Turner said. "You're just trying to get to the bottom of the ball more versus the center the ball. Hit the bottom of the ball, it's easier to make the ball go up."
"If you hit down on the ball and hit the top of the ball, you're still hitting a ground ball," said Turner. "If you hit the center of the ball, the margin of error is so tiny to create backspin, you have to be really, really good to do that. That's where this new swing plane comes in. This loftier swing plane makes it a lot easier to hit the bottom of the ball. It's definitely a mindset.
- Via ESPN.com news services; "Dodgers' Scott Kazmir struggles with velocity in simulated outing."
"We've still got to see some improvement in the velocity at some point in time," Roberts told reporters. "And I think he'll say the same thing. I don't know if there's a certain number of miles per hour that he needs to pitch at. I think he was 82-84 today. ... That's not the number, and he'll be the first to tell you that."
- You've all heard of Loot Crate, right? Well, they have started a new monthly subscription service called "Sports Crate" and it launched this week. Go here for information. (Hat Tip: The Post Game) For its first month they are offering ten different team specific crates; including the Dodgers, and it includes an unique action figure of Clayton Kershaw. Check it out below:
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