Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What a Wild Game - Some Game Videos

I really don't want to spend too much time with words, so instead I'll put up a couple of videos.

Below is Ian Kennedy hitting Yaiel Puig on the head in the 6th inning.  It was a dangerous pitch.

Video Link:

As you can see, Ian Kennedy looked disappointed in himself for throwing that pitch.  So, I doubt it was a purpose pitch.

On the other hand, Greinke's pitch the following inning that hit Miguel Montero on the numbers was clearly done in retaliation.  Both benches were warned, and you would figure that would be the end of it.  Below is a video.

Video Link:

But no, this is the 2013 Dodger season.  So, naturally Ian Kennedy felt it necessary to bean Greinke.  Not on the numbers, mind you, but Kennedy purposefully tried to hit Greinke in the head.  The benches clear and punches were thrown.  Watch the video below.  (check that, click the video below to watch it at MLB.com)

Video Link:

As it happens, the Dodgers pulled out a victory with some timely hitting in their bottom half of the 8th inning.

Wow!  This has been some crazy season.

At last count, Puig, Ian Kennedy, Mark McGwire and Kirk Gibson were sent to the showers.

UPDATE:  I just thought I'd add that considering Ian Kennedy's (retaliation) pitch was aimed at an opposing players head, I believe he should receive the brunt of any penalties involved. It's one thing to purposefully hit a guy from the numbers down, but when you go for the noggin' then the penalty must be severe.

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Welcome Up to the Blue, Chris Withrow & Alex Castellanos - Some Fantasy Baseball Cards for Them

Don't look now, but a parade of prospects are showing up at Dodger Stadium. 

One day after Justin Seller's call up from AAA, he is being sent back down.  Furthermore, Scott Van Slyke, who is suffering from left shoulder bursitis, is being placed on the 15-day DL.  In their place is minor league outfield prospect Alex Castellanos and pitcher Chris Withrow.

Castellanos came up briefly several times last season, and eventually got into 16 games.  Overall, he batted just .174 in 23 at-bats, but did slug 1 home run.  We originally attained Castellanos via a trade with the Cardinals involving Rafael Furcal in 2011.  Chris Withrow is coming up to the Major Leagues for the second time in his career, although he has yet to actually pitch.  He was originally a 1st Round draft pick for the Dodgers in 2007 (20th overall), and was thought to be a potential middle of the order starting pitcher.  At one time he was ranked the 48th best prospect in Baseball.  Unfortunately, after several years of trying it just didn't pan out.  Soon, he was converted into a reliever and spent most of 2012 to today honing that craft.  Heck, his numbers in Albuquerque look quite good, considering that place is a pitchers nightmare.

In their honor, I decided to make a fantasy Blue Heaven Baseball card for both of them.  See them below.  I used photographs available from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers

Click any pic to embiggen.

Via the Dodgers press release:
Withrow, who will wear No. 44, will be making his Major League debut and has gone 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 22 relief appearances with the Isotopes. The 24-year-old last pitched on Friday, striking out three of the four batters he faced, and has not allowed a run in his last seven appearances (7.2 IP). Withrow, who was selected by the Dodgers in the first round (20th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, has only allowed earned runs in two of his 22 appearances this year.

Castellanos, 26, has a .270 batting average with eight steals, nine home runs and 28 RBI in 43 games with Albuquerque this season. Castellanos went 4-for-23 (.174) with a triple, a homer and three RBI in 16 big league games with the Dodgers last year and tied for the Dodger team lead with both four home runs and 11 RBI in 29 Cactus League games this spring.

Van Slyke is batting .221 with six home runs, five doubles and 11 RBI in 24 games with the Dodgers, while Sellers posted a .188 batting average with a home run, a double and two RBI in 27 contests for the club.
Below are their career stats:

Alex Castellanos

Chris Withrow

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Blog Kiosk: 6/11/2013 - Dodgers Links - Puig Mania Just Won't Stop

"Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack's, I don't care if I never get back..."  Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2013.
  • I cannot talk about Brandon League and I refuse to link to any stories about last nights game, lest I be reminded of it.
  • Via Danny Knobler at CBS Sports, "Stock Watch: Everyone's talking Puig; one says he's Adrian Peterson".
"I always preface this by saying I don't know how his career is going to turn out," said (Matt) Martin, who has since left the Dodgers and taken a job with the Orioles. "But on God-given ability going in, it's like nothing I've ever seen."

Martin kept thinking, and finally he hit on it.

"I said, 'He's Adrian Peterson.' That's how much God-given ability this guy has," Martin said. "That's the comparison I had to give. He's Adrian Peterson."
  • Ted Berg at For the Win highlights, "Five young MLB stars that could end up the greatest of all time".  His list includes Yasiel Puig.
  • Via Property of Zach, "Riley Breckenridge (Thrice) Starts Baseball-Themed Grindcore Band: Puig Destroyer".  Riley's website is here.
  • Bob Timmerman, briefly taking over for Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts, sums up last nights game rather nicely.  Woops!  I guess I lied.
  • This is too awesome not to link.  At Sons of Steve Garvey they try to talk about something other than Puig.  So, Nomo puts up some great Star Wars/Japanese League commercials.
  • I found this both unfortunate and hilarious at the same time.  Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars films was stopped by the TSA in Denver due to a giant cane (he's 7'3" tall) that he needs to use in order to get around.  The cane is shaped like a light saber - I kid you not.  Fortunately, TSA came to it's senses.  Story and pics via John Aravosis at AmericaBlog.
  • This is just awesome.  The Boston Globe shares pics of the past 50 years of Stanley Cup Championship rings. Wow!

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There Will be a Puig Sighting at Frank & Son's for a Signing

It's been quite a week for our rookie outfielder.  Yasiel Puig has lit the league on fire with his spectacular play on the field and his phenomenal batting at the plate.  At this point, he's like the goose that laid the golden egg, and hopefully we don't squander our good fortune.

That being said, Puig has been an absolute monster in the collecting world.  His cards are selling for "stupid" money, and as long as he continues to perform at inhuman levels it just might stay there.  Of course, the law of averages tell you that that isn't possible.  Still, one can dream. 

Well, it has just been announced that Yasiel Puig will be making his first paid public signing appearance on Saturday, June 29th for the Dodger Days event at Frank & Sons in the City of Industry.  BTW, there will be a whole bunch of Dodgers on hand, so I certainly suggest checking the entire event out.

Usually, I refrain from make this kind of announcement this far in advance of a public signing.  I prefer to make once a week post focused on just events happening the immediate weekend, but I figured this was worth breaking that rule. 

Puig will only be signing 250 items so there is a bit of urgency if you want to pay to play.  On the other hand, the asking price is way beyond most fans pocketbooks.  According to their flyer, tickets for small items will be $149.00, large items at $199.00, and premium items at $299.00.

Yeah, you read that right.  The current asking prices are at the levels usually reserved for popular Hall of Famers or superstar future Hall of Famers.  For comparison, at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago in early August there are only five Baseball players who are priced at or above these levels: Randy Johnson, Chipper Jones, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken Jr. and Roger Clemens.  Another 22 current Hall of Famers are below Puig's prices - some well below.

As you can imagine, there were a couple of complaints on Frank & Sons facebook page, and they responded by noting that it is Puig's management that effectively set the price by asking a huge amount of money for the limited signing.  Furthermore, via Sports Collectors Daily, his agents claim that it will be his only autograph show during the season.

Regardless, considering his current hot hand and the current selling prices of his certified autographed cards on eBay, I suspect they will sell out anyway.  After all, as some scouts have said, Puig is a once in a generation type of player, and that means he is pure gold in the collecting world.

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Dodger Correspondence: Ralph Branca Plays Contract Hardball Against Branch Rickey

Here is another edition of Dodger Correspondence

This time I share another letter that I found on eBay that was written by former Brooklyn Dodger Ralph Branca to then GM Branch Rickey.  As you can see, Branca is seeking more money.
Dear Mr. Rickey,
Enclosed you will find my returned contract.  You will also note that it is unsigned.  This is to let you know that I am not in accord with you on salary terms for 1945.
Sincerely Yours,
Ralph T. Branca
I have no idea what Rickey offered Branca, but I do know that at the time Branca wrote this letter he had yet to win a Major League game.  He had just finished up his rookie season in Brooklyn, going 0-2 with a 7.05 ERA in 21 games (20 as a reliever).  Clearly, Branca wasn't very effective in the games he pitched.  On the other hand, a quick look at his gamelog that season shows that he mostly came in for mop-up duty.

Branca and Rickey eventually came to terms for a reported $3,300 (according to Baseball-Reference).  Frankly, I'm not sure if that's right.  It seems way too low, or was this the kind of salary a young player would expect to get back then?  If so, no wonder he balked at the first offer.

BTW, Ralph Branca pitched much better in 1945.  He primarily started for the Dodgers going 5-6 with 15 starts and 1 save.  Branca had a ERA of 3.04 and completed 7 games.  That's a much better showing for the kid known as Hawk.
(Auction Link)

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