Friday, March 23, 2012

The Dodgers Link to Sanford, Florida

There is a great article today at The Nation written by Dave Zirin that provides a interesting history lesson about Sanford, Florida- where Trayvon Martin was recently killed. (Hat Tip: Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy)

Zirin takes a step back to recount the days when Baseball was still a segregated sport. Jackie Robinson had just been signed by Branch Rickey to play for the Montreal Royals and they were about to start their spring Baseball in Sanford, Florida. As you'll read, Sanford has a very ugly history when it comes to race.

From "Jackie Robinson, Trayvon Martin and the sad History of Sanford, Florida":
As Jean West, a school teacher in Florida, wrote, "Branch Rickey had miscalculated the degree to which Jim Crow was entrenched in Sanford. As an example, an inanimate object, a second-hand piano, purchased in 1924 from the courthouse for use in a segregated school in nearby Oviedo, was filed as a 'Negro Piano' in the school board's record; living human beings challenging segregation certainly would not be tolerated."
It's a fascinating read about what happened in Sanford in 1946; especially when considering what's going on in Sanford today.

It's amazing how much things can change and stay the same.

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training- Game 20

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS (9-6-4) at Chicago White Sox (7-11)

Friday, March 23, 2012 – 1:05 p.m., Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium

RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod

Spring Game 20/Road Game 10

Todays Starting Lineup:
Dodgers: SS, M Ellis 2B, CF, Ethier RF, Rivera 1B, Gwynn LF, Hairston 3B, C, Fields DH
White Sox: Saladino 2B, Morel 3B, Dunn DH, Alexei Ramirez SS, Fukudome RF, Flowers C, Viciedo, LF, McPherson 1BDanks CF
Upcoming Spring Training Schedule:

There is a split squad games this afternoon. The Dodgers also play the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, AZ at 1:05 PM. Below is that starting lineup:
Dodgers: Angle CF, Sands RF, 1B, Uribe 3B, Kennedy 2B, Treanor C, Oeltjen LF, Sellers SS, Harang P
Royals: Dyson 8 Escobar 6 Maier DH Butler 3 Moose 5 Yuni 4 Bourgeois 7 Golson 9 Quintero 2 Hoch 1
(Don Mattingly signing for fans, pic via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)
  • IN LOVING MEMORY: The Dodgers and White Sox will meet for game three of their five-game Cactus League series, but the importance of today’s game in Tucson reaches far beyond baseball. All of the proceeds from the game at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium this afternoon will go to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation. The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund was established by Dodger scout John Green and his family to honor the life and memory of his daughter, Christina-Taylor, through charitable and educational projects that reflect and embody her interests, values and dreams. This is the second consecutive year that the Dodgers have played a benefit game in Tucson to help raise funds for the victims and families affected by the tragic events of January 8, 2011. The Dodgers are 2-0 against the White Sox this spring. The rest of the club is in Surprise today, taking on the Royals.

  • ONE DAY LULL: Despite getting shut out on Wednesday by the Padres, the Dodgers enter play today with the third best on-base percentage among National League teams (.347) and the fourth-best slugging percentage (.444). On the hill, the club’s team ERA is 3.46, which ranks fourth among NL squads.

(Tony Gwynn Jr signing for fans, pic via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)

  • NATE THE GREAT: Dodger right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will start for the club in Tucson today after tossing 3.0 scoreless innings in his last start on March 17 vs. the Rockies in Scottsdale. Eovaldi has made three appearances this month (two starts) and allowed just one run in 7.2 innings of work. The Texas native was selected in the 11th round of the 2008 draft and signed after originally committing to pitch at Texas A&M. Following Eovaldi to the mound in Tucson today will be:

    ● LHP Allen Webster is set to make his Cactus League debut, along with several other Dodger minor leaguers. Webster enters 2012 ranked by Baseball America as the club’s No. 2 prospect after combining to go 11-5 with a 4.03 ERA at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (nine starts) and Double-A Chattanooga (17 starts) last season.

    ● RHP Ethan Martin was the Dodgers’ first round draft choice (No. 15 overall) in 2008 and was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga on June 26 last season. With the Lookouts, he went 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 21 games (three starts).

    ● LHP Chris Reed was the club’s first-round draft choice (No. 16 overall) in 2011 after earning Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors for Stanford last year. Reed made three appearances for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last year after finishing out his collegiate career.

    ● RHP Zach Lee was taken with the No. 28 pick in 2010 and signed despite having a shot to play quarterback for the LSU Tigers. According to Baseball America, Lee is the top prospect in the Dodger system and the No. 62 prospect overall. The Texas native went 9-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 24 starts for Single-A Great Lakes last season.

    ● RHP Angel Sanchez is a native of the Dominican Republic and went 8-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 20 games (16 starts) for Single-A Great Lakes in 2012.

    ● RHP Shawn Tolleson made his Cactus League debut last Saturday night vs. the Giants and allowed a run in his 1.0 inning. Tolleson was the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year last season after going a combined 7-2 with 25 saves and a 1.17 ERA in 57 appearances over the three levels.

  • ROSTER MOVE: Yesterday, the Dodgers designated RHP Ramon Troncoso for assignment and reinstated RHP Ronald Belisario from the restricted list. Due to Major League rule 16(d), Belisario had to be removed from the restricted list 30 days after reporting to Spring Training. The native of Venezuela will serve a 25-game suspension in 2012 due to a violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention Program.

(Dee Gordon turing a double play, pic via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)

  • BOUNCE BACK: The Dodgers lost to the Padres, 3-0 on Wednesday, mustering just four scattered singles and a double by Jerry Hairston Jr. On the mound, RHP Jamey Wright fired 2.0 scoreless innings while Mike MacDougal, Scott Rice, Kenley Jansen, John Grabow, Ronald Belisario and Fernando Nieve each tossed a scoreless frame.

  • Los Angeles’ four draws this spring tie for the second-most all time by the club along with the 2002 and 2008 campaigns. The Dodger record for Spring Training ties was set in 2006, when the team went 15-13-5.

  • RUN THIS TOWN TONIGHT: The 7th Annual LA Sports Awards will air on FOX Sports West tonight at 10:30 p.m., immediately following the Lakers game. The show was recorded March 15 and National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw received the 2011 Sportsman of the Year award. In addition to Kershaw’s honor, the Dodgers also were involved in two of the Top-10 moments for 2011. Kershaw’s Cy Young Award-winning season was No. 2, while Matt Kemp’s MVP runner-up campaign was the No. 4 Los Angeles sports moment in 2011.

The Koufax Auto's Do Exist- Have Any Been Pulled?

Yesterday, I posted up pics of some of the Dodger "hits" available in 2012 Topps Heritage and noted that the checklist indicates that autographed Sandy Koufax cards exist, but that I had yet to see one for sale on eBay or anywhere on the net.

That is... until this morning. Apparently, I am not the only one who has noticed its absence. One twitter user asked Topps yesterday, "do they exist?" They responded with photographic evidence.

See the pic below of a red ink Sandy Koufax 2012 Topps Heritage autographed card numbered to 10. Please note that this is the same card photo Topps released back in February on Facebook.
(Pic link: twitter @ToppsCards)

On top of that, Topps provided pics of the more common blue ink version. The actual number of cards signed of this version are unknown, but based on the lack of them showing up on the eBay marketplace tells me they may be very scarce.
(Pic link: twitter @ToppsCards)

So, we know Koufax signed a bunch of them, but has anyone pulled a Koufax auto? Are they even in the packs? Maybe I'm searching eBay wrong, but I show only the dual Koufax/Kershaw auto's have been for sale. Where are the Koufax's like the one above? It just can't be possible that one of them has not popped up on eBay. Can it?