Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Full-Squad Workout #4

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.
(pic link: twitter @Dodgers)

BACK AT IT: Today, the Dodgers held their fourth full-squad workout of 2013 as Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu faced hitters for the first time during live batting practice. Matt Palmer, Steve Ames, Juan Abreu, Aaron Harang, Ronald Belisario, Peter Moylan and Josh Wall also faced hitters, while Javy Guerra threw a traditional bullpen off the mound.

A WHOLE NEW BLUE!: Today the Dodgers officially announced details of their “A Whole New Blue” advertising and marketing campaign, which will include print, digital, television, radio and out-of-home components. The “A Whole New Blue” campaign takes its lead from the anticipation and excitement generated by team ownership’s very ambitious off-season program to strengthen the team and implement enhancements to iconic Dodger Stadium. The campaign debuted on the team’s website (www.dodgers.com) and on graphics seen at the recently held, first ever off-season team FanFest. It has been incorporated in the team’s print ads, radio spots, game tickets, and other sales collateral and will soon be displayed on billboards and bus shelters. Digital and television advertising will launch later this month. “A Whole New Blue” was designed by Walton Isaacson (WI), the team’s new advertising agency.
  • Today, the Dodgers’ camp had its annual visit from MLB Productions, while Showtime’s 60 Minutes Sports sat down with Don Mattingly, Ned Colletti and Tommy Lasorda for an upcoming episode on the team.
(pic link: twitter @DodgersPR)

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: The 58 players currently in big league camp represent nine different countries, including the United States, Dominican Republic (7), Venezuela (3), Puerto Rico (2), Mexico (2), Curacao (1), South Korea (1), Australia (1) and Cuba (1).
  • The Dodgers will have five players depart Camelback Ranch in early March to participate in the World Baseball Classic with Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz representing Team Mexico, Ronald Belisario playing for Venezuela, Hanley Ramirez joining the Dominican Republic squad for pool play in Puerto Rico and Nick Punto suiting up for Team Italy.
  • Gonzalez, who will play in his third World Baseball Classic, will serve as Team Mexico’s captain. In 2009, the 30-year-old got off to a hot start after playing in the WBC, hitting .333 with 20 RBI in 22 April games for the Padres and tying for the MLB lead with nine home runs in the month.

WRITER’S BLOCK: As a part of the team’s community efforts, Dodger players and coaches signed more than 400 jerseys, 32 bats, 120 dozen baseballs and hundreds of photos in the last two days, which will be donated to various charities throughout the Los Angeles community.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: On this day in 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers signed free agent outfielder Roberto Clemente from Puerto Rico to a one-year contract for $5,000 and a $10,000 signing bonus. At age 19, Clemente batted .257 in 87 games at Triple-A Montreal. The Dodgers tried to "hide" the prospect by not playing him full time and gambled by not protecting him in the Rule 5 Draft after the season. The ploy didn’t work as Pittsburgh President Branch Rickey drafted Clemente and he began his eventual Hall of Fame journey with the Pirates.​
  • Major League Baseball renamed its annual community service award after Clemente following his death on Dec. 31, 1972. A Dodger is nominated for the award each year with Steve Garvey taking home the league-wide honor in 1981 and Clayton Kershaw winning it last year.

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 2/19/2013

Panini unveiled some sneak peek photographs of their upcoming 2012 National Treasures Baseball set that will be going live soon.  Why they continue to use the 2012 year for a new set when it's already 2013, I do not know.  What I do know is that this is one fantastic looking set.  Check out the Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese book cards shown here.  Frankly, I have a hard time believing the Jackie card uses a real game-used jersey.  A REAL Jackie Robinson gamer would be worth tens of thousands of dollars today (maybe 6 figures), and considering the recent controversy and indictments surrounding memorabilia dealers who sold to card manufacturers it is only prudent to be careful.  Still, it is great looking card.
  • William at Foul Bunt makes note that former AAGPBL player, Sophie Kurys, "The Flint Flash" as she was known, passed away on Sunday.  RIP, Sophie.  A phenomenal biography on Sophie can be found at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, here.  In her MVP season in 1946 she stole 201 bases.  201!
  • Clayton Kershaw was mighty impressive in his first live-batter pitching session yesterday, via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com.
"A couple guys took swings," said catcher A.J. Ellis, "and they were embarrassed."
“We had the world’s worst clubhouse,” Kasten said. “I said to Sandy (Koufax), it was substandard in your day and it hasn’t been improved since.”

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Legendary Auctions: Some Vintage Baseball Beauties

One of the premier sports auction houses in the county, Legendary Auctions, has just opened up bidding for their first auction of the year, and it includes some great items.  As always, I will feature some of the Dodgers related memorabilia (this will come tomorrow), but for now I wanted to focus a bit on some general vintage Baseball memorabilia.

A couple of weeks back I visited the Long Beach Expo and came across the Legendary Auction booth.  On display were a handful of vintage Baseball items that would be for sale in their upcoming auction.  One of those items is the below PM1 "Ornate Frame" pin of Babe Ruth.  (See that previous post here.)  At least, the general consensus is that it's Babe Ruth in the image.
(Auction Link)

This pin has generated some controversy.  There are some collectors who doubt the legitimacy of the piece.  After all, it is generally agreed that these pins were created around 1915, and at that time Babe Ruth was just another new fresh face on the Boston Red Sox.  Therefore, why would there be a pin of this nature made for him if he was a relative unknown at the time.  Furthermore, he was a pitcher while in Boston, so why is he featured taking a swing with a bat?  The auction house retorts that these pins were likely made over a period of several years, and that Ruth is hardly the only known "unknown" player (or rookie) in the set.  Futhermore, the auction listing provides detailed photographic magnification to show that it is indeed a vintage image.  Whatever you may think, this Babe Ruth pin is a great item and looks even better in person.
(Auction Link)

You will never go wrong by featuring a 1870's CDV of the father-and-son duo of Sam & Harry Wright.  Where is the youngest son, George?  I do not know.  Father, Samuel Wright, was a well regarded cricket player.  Per the auction description:
Sam arrived from England about a generation before the Civil War, and he sought to cultivate the British pastime of cricket in the New World. He was a groundsman who engineered the building of several cricket fields in New York City until metro interest in the sport shifted to Hoboken's Elysian Field (of Currier & Ives note). Sam's dream to see his beloved game flourish in America came to grief though as his sons Harry, George and, to a lesser degree, Sam Jr. gravitated to the new sensation, base-ball.
Two of his sons, Harry and George, would go on to be a couple of the founding pioneers of the professional game, and would be elected in Baseball's Hall of Fame.
(Auction Link)

The next item is of local interest.  Featured below is a 1907 colorized team photo of the Los Angeles Angels of the PCL.  This was a dynasty team.  They won 4 Championships over 6 season.
(Auction Link)

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