Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Pitchers & Catchers Workout #1

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.
(pic link: twitter @Dodgers)
  • LACE ‘EM UP: The Dodgers opened their fifth Spring Training at Camelback Ranch – Glendale today with 29 pitchers (seven non-roster) and five catchers (three non-roster) working out for the first time. Non-roster catcher Eliezer Alfonzo is the only pitcher/catcher yet to report to camp due to family reasons.
  • HILLTOPPERS: Clayton Kershaw, the winner of MLB’s last two ERA titles, was among the first group of 14 Dodger hurlers to throw bullpens on the first day of workouts this morning. While Kershaw finished second in the NL Cy Young voting in 2012, he picked up one of baseball’s most prestigious honors this offseason with the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw’s Challenge, a charitable organization that encourages people to make a difference by giving back to at-risk children and communities in need. The charity has provided assistance to a variety of organizations, including to its cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” which helped the Kershaws build and now sustain an orphanage for children in Lusaka, Zambia called “Hope’s Home.”
  • Also throwing their first official bullpens of the spring were Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, Matt Guerrier, Javy Guerra, Shawn Tolleson, Paco Rodriguez, Kelvin De La Cruz, Chris Withrow, Gregory Infante and Mark Lowe.
(pic link: twitter @Dodgers)
  • BATTERY POWERED: Pitching has traditionally been a strength of the Dodger organization and last season, the club ranked third in the Majors with both a 3.34 team ERA and a .238 opponents’ batting average. In addition, Los Angeles pitchers surrendered just 122 home runs, the lowest total in the big leagues and seven less than their closest competitor, the Washington Nationals (129 homers allowed). Despite the staff’s success a year ago, the Dodgers were active in the free agent market, adding:
  • Zack Greinke: The 2009 American League Cy Young Award Winner and All-Star signed a six-year contract with Los Angeles. The 29-year-old, who will enter his 10th Major League season, has a 91-78 career record with a 3.77 ERA and has posted double-digit wins in five consecutive seasons.
  • J.P. Howell: The left-handed reliever and seven-year Major League veteran signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers after going 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 55 appearances with Tampa Bay last season. Since 2008, Howell, 29, ranks seventh in the American League (min. 200 games) with a .209 opponents’ batting average and has averaged more than a strikeout per inning in that span with 239 Ks in 237.0 innings.
  • Brandon League: After originally being acquired in a midseason trade with the Mariners, League signed a three-year free agent contract to return to Los Angeles. In 28 appearances with the Dodgers, the 29-year-old went 2-1 with six saves and a 2.30 ERA, finishing the season by tossing scoreless relief in 20 of his last 21 outings.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu: The seven-time Korea Baseball Organization All-Star and five-time KBO strikeout leader signed a six-year deal with the Dodgers after being posted by the Hanwha Eagles. The 25-year-old left-hander has a 98-52 record and a 2.80 ERA in 190 career games as a professional in Korea.
  • MISSED THE BUS: Yesterday, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Spring Training Bus Tour rolled through Camelback Ranch – Glendale as Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly were interviewed by Karl Ravech, Tim Kurkjian, Curt Schilling and Rick Sutcliffe, which have been airing on ESPN over the last 24 hours. In addition, Kemp, Kershaw and A.J. Ellis were filmed with ESPN’s 360-degree slow motion cameras for features that will air during the club’s appearances on Sunday Night Baseball this season.
(pic link: twitter @Dodgers)
  • TUNE IN: Dodger Talk – Offseason Edition continues tonight at 7:00 pm PT (8:00 pm in Arizona) on AM 570 Fox Sports Los Angeles with Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon joining Dodger broadcaster Jorge Jarrin at 7:15 pm PT and right-handed pitcher Javy Guerra calling in at 7:40 pm PT.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2013 Topps Baseball Cards - Dodgers Base Insert Cards

After what has felt like forever, I finally received my 2013 Topps Dodgers Baseball cards.  They arrived in the mail the other day, and I finally had a chance to scan them.  Check out my past blog post on this set here.

Today, I start with the base insert cards.  Tomorrow, I'll have pics of both the front and reverse of each Dodger card.  As always, click any pic to embiggen.

These are the 1972 Topps Mini Cards, and 4 Dodgers are in the 50 card set.

TM-10 Adrian Gonzalez

The best part about Baseball cards is the writing on the back.  In the below Ethier card we find out that he has stroked 30 doubles in 6 consecutive season, and if he does it again this year he'll break a club record.

TM-22 Andre Ethier

Remember, Clayton's nickname is "The Claw," or so says on the reverse.  It says, "'The Claw' features mid-90s velocity and a hammer of a curveball."  

TM-23 Clayton Kershaw

TM-49 Matt Kemp

Below are the Chasing History Insert Cards.  As you can see, each player achieved some notable milestone.

CH-22 Matt Kemp

CH-46 Hanley Ramirez

CH-49 Jackie Robinson

CH-50 Sandy Koufax

The last card is a Greats Insert card of Sandy Koufax.  He is the lone Dodger representative in this 30 card set.  This card is approx. 3x thicker than a normal 2013 Topps card, and has the look of a premium card like the Topps Museum or Marquee sets.

TG-24 Sandy Koufax

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 2/13/2013 - Happy Birthday Negro National League

Today is the first day of real workouts for the Dodgers, so they start it off with a brisk run.  PIc via LA Time reporter Dylan Hernandez on twitter.  Even better, Dylan shares a tweet that consist of a quote from Hyun-Jin Ryu.
(twitter link)
Luis Cruz is already his favorite teammate. “He was really easy to get to know. He downloaded a Korean translating app on his phone and he’s been texting me in Korean.”
Kershaw acknowledged that he has an idea of what kind of deal he wants but said his focus is on preparing himself for the upcoming season.

“For me, that’s really my concern at this point, getting ready for April 1,” he said. “All that stuff will take care of itself.”
"Now that spring training has begun, I think it's time to show what I have," he said. "I obviously have to compete for the job, and if I compete, I absolutely have to win. I will try to secure a high spot in the starting rotation."
  • Today is the 93rd Birthday of the Negro National League, via Agate Type.  The very first meeting to establish the Negro National League occurred on this date in 1920 in Kansas City.

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My 2013 Spring Training Fantasy Baseball Cards

How excited am I about the start of Spring Training?

Well... I'm so excited, I decided to make my own fantasy Baseball card design to celebrate the occasion.  Man-O-Live, was I bored last night!

I was inspired by the always excellent photographic work of Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo.  He posted up a bunch of pics yesterday that focused on Day 1 of Spring Training, and I immediately started imagining them in cropped Baseball card form. Soon, I started thinking about designing my own card, and quickly decided to give it a try.

Check out my efforts below.

So, what do you think?

I knew I had to use blue borders, and made sure to credit Jon SooHoo for his great work.  I also decided to pay homage to the DodgerVision scoreboard.  Check out the area with the players name.  I did my best to get the shape right.

I love the above photo of Don Matingly.  He is a pro.  It's day 1, and he's just there to take it all in.

At the very top, I used the blog motto (rest, relax and put your blue on) to add a little flare to the card design.  I think that came out well.

Both Kemp and Ryu try to appease the fans by signing their John Hancock.  The Ryu photo has the added benefit of showing the frantic Korean media.

Since it's unlikely you'll ever see him mentioned here again, I decided to make a card for Dodger Korean Interpreter Martin Kim.  He'll be the go-between for the team and media.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A Vintage Bar of Dodger Soap? Wha....? Of course, It's on eBay

This is a weird one.

Featured here is an eBay lot of vintage 1966 Dodger tickets stubs and soap.  That's right, I said soap!

The seller claims to have a Dodger-used bar of Palmolive soap.  How's that for a unique game-used relic?

It was snagged on May 16, 1965 in the Dodgers Rookie Dressing Room at Dodger Stadium.  As you can see below, it has been lovingly wrapped in a plastic bag, and has a written note explaining the circumstances. 

(auction link)

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