Friday, February 28, 2014

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 3 / Home Game 2

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.
Chicago White Sox (0-0) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (1-1)
Friday, February 28, 2014 – 1:05 p.m. | Camelback Ranch- Glendale
LHP Chris Sale vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
Spring Game 3/Home Game 2

(Maury Wills, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

HEY, NEIGHBOR!: The Dodgers and White Sox square off this afternoon in the first of two Cactus League meetings this spring with the other coming in a split-squad meeting on March 15. Although the Dodgers played their first home game of the spring yesterday against the Diamondbacks, today will mark the official “Opening Day,” with both teams lining up down the baseline for player introductions. The contest today also marks the start of Spring Training play for the White Sox.
  • The Dodgers picked up their first victory of the spring yesterday in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Diamondbacks. Third baseman Juan Uribe hit the Dodgers’ first home run of the spring and non-roster invitee Brendan Harris drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh inning.
  • Right-handed starter Zack Greinke lasted just four pitches before he was pulled with a mild right calf strain, but five Dodger relievers came to the rescue, combining to hold the Diamondbacks scoreless over the last 6.1 innings of play.
(Juan Uribe slugs home run, pic via Jon SooHoo/La Dodgers 2014)

KOREAN SENSATION: Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the mound today for the first time in Cactus League play after finishing his rookie season in Dodger blue with a 14-8 record and a 3.00 ERA in 2013. In his first season in the Major Leagues, Ryu was named to Baseball America’s 2013 All-Rookie Team and ranked among the top big league rookies in wins (14, T-2nd), ERA (3.00, 2nd) and strikeouts (154, 4th). The South Korean native’s 14 wins were tied for second-most by a Dodger rookie behind only Rick Sutcliffe’s 17 wins in 1979. Also appearing in the game today:
  • RHP Brian Wilson enters his second season with the Dodgers after posting a 2-1 record with a 0.66 ERA in his first year in Dodger blue.
  • Dodger closer Kenley Jansen will make his first appearance of the spring after finishing 2013 with a career-high in saves (28) and strikeouts (111). Jansen’s 111 strikeouts on the season were ranked second among Major League relievers.
  • LHP J.P. Howell will make his first appearance of the spring after limiting opponents to a .193 batting average in 67 games last season.
  • RHP Chris Perez will see his first action in Dodger blue after spending the 2013 campaign with Cleveland. Perez, 28, converted 123 saves over four seasons for the Indians from 2010-2013.
  • Simi Valley native Matt Magill will make his 2013 Cactus League debut after seeing his first Major League action with the Dodgers in 2013.
(Hanley signing for fans, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

THE GANG IS ALL HERE: Dodger partner AM 570 Fox Sports Los Angeles is going mobile today as the “Petros and Money” show will air live from McFadden’s at Westgate in Glendale, AZ. Expected to join the dynamic duo at the restaurant will be Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti and Dodger reliever J.P. Howell. For the game broadcast on AM 570, new Dodger broadcaster and six-time All-Star Nomar Garciaparra makes his radio debut this afternoon. Break a leg, Nomar!  

MAKIN’ LEFT TURNS: Later today, Hall of Fame announcer Jaime Jarrín will serve as the Grand Marshal of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale. This will be the second year for the event and Dodger broadcaster Pepe Yñiguez will serve as the race’s Honorary Starter. The Toyota 120 opens the 2014 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series championship season and is scheduled for a 7 p.m. MT start time today. The race will be telecast nationally in the United States on the mun2 cable network, live-streamed at and south-of-the-border coverage will be provided by FOX Sports Latin America. For more information on this race visit

THE DODGERS IN SPAIN: “Baseball Tournament of Valencia Sponsored by the Dodgers” is a groundbreaking four-day tournament currently taking place in Valencia, Spain, comprised of the Baseball Federations of Spain, France, Germany and Italy. The tournament started yesterday and runs through March 2. The top U-19 players from all four countries will play in front of scouts from more than a dozen Major League teams and yesterday in Valencia, Germany defeated Spain, 6-5, in the first game and Italy defeated France, 4-3, in the second. The first pitch before tomorrow’s game will be thrown out by former Cuban star and Spanish Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Sabin.

IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY: The Dodgers’ annual open tryout was held yesterday on the minor league side of Camelback Ranch – Glendale. As in past years, the Dodgers signed two players from the tryout, as the club inked right-handed pitcher Danny Keller and right-handed reliever Steven Edlefsen to minor league deals. Edlefsen pitched in San Francisco’s system for seven seasons (2007-2013) and made 27 relief appearances in the big leagues from 2011-12, posting an 0-1 record with a 6.75 ERA. The Minnesota native was originally selected by San Francisco in the 16th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Keller was in the Milwaukee system from 2011-13.
(Scott Van Slyke's diving catch, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

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Some Vintage Dodgers Memorabilia and a Negro League Rarity at Hake's Auctions

Hake's Auctions is currently running their 211th auction.  As you may know, Hake's specializes in Americana, so their catalogs are like a peek through American pop history.  Below are a couple of Dodgers related items I came across, along with a Negro League item I thought worth noting.

Below is an original editorial cartoon created by Bob Coyne of the Boston Post.  Featured are Dodgers manager Leo Durocher and Boston Braves manager Casey Stengel.  Per the auction description:
Durocher compliments Stengel who has a question mark over his head, noting “What A Swell World This Would Be If All The Players Were As Nice As The Braves And All The Managers As Fair As You Casey!” A small player holding box of cigars stands between the two facing Stengel saying “Compliments Of Mister Durocher” as other players talk in background including mention of Braves relief pitcher Errickson.
What's funny about this drawing is that Durocher was the man who coined the phrase, "nice guys finish last."  Considering that Stengel's Braves never finished better than 5th during his tenure, this must be a the papers way of saying that Stengels is too soft to manage.  Of course, Casey would prove the Boston paper wrong when he went on to win 7 World Championships with the Yankees a decade later.
(auction link)

Hake's Auctions had been consigned to sell the collection of Richard Merkin - who was known to have one of the finest collection of Negro League memorabilia in the world.  The below original painting comes from that collection.

Featured is former Brooklyn Dodger Joe Black in a Cienfuegos Elephants, of the Cuban League.  It was drawn by a Jorge S; who doesn't appear to be a well known artist.
(auction link)

Of all the Negro League items available for sale through Hakes, the photograph at the very bottom stuck out to me.  It is a team photo of the 1937 Dominican Republic Ciudad Trujillo Dragons Baseball Club, and it features Hall of Famer Satchel Paige (top row, far left).  Also shown are Cuban HOF members Lazaro Salazar and Silvio Garcia.

It isn't that it features Paige that makes this photo notable; not that he wasn't a great player.  In fact, this photo is thought to be an early season photo since it doesn't includes some other great Negro League players that would eventually join him and help lead the club to a league championship.  Soon to be teammates include Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Sam Bankhead, Bob Griffith, Leroy Matlock, Cy Perkins, and Harry Williams.  Perucho Cepeda, father or Orlando, was also on the team.

This team is considered by many Baseball historians to be one of the 10 best clubs ever put together, and to others their championship is one of the greatest Baseball stories that must be told.

From a REA Auctions description of another photo that describes this well.
Baseball had long been the National Pastime of the Dominican Republic when, in 1937, Dictator Trujillo decided that he would sponsor a team to win the Championship of the Dominican Baseball League, to beat the teams owned by his political opponents, and increase his popularity with the people, and his hold on the country.

Trujillo took control of two teams, which he merged to create a single powerhouse team which he named the "Cuidad Trujillo Dragons." As the season progressed, the Ciudad Trujillo team soon found themselves locked in a bitter struggle for the Championship of the Dominican League with the Santiago team, led by the great Martin DiHigo. To remedy the situation, Trujillo sent his henchmen to the U.S. with $30,000 and instructions to recruit the best Negro League players in the United States to add to the already very talented Ciudad roster to help them secure the championship. 
They (eventually) won the title in a tense finale. The night before the final game, according to interviews with pitcher Chet Brewer, Trujillo actually put the players in jail for the night so that they could not be disturbed, or get into any trouble. Legend has it that Trujillo's players were under armed guard, and were "instructed" to win at all costs.

The American players literally feared for their lives if they were not successful. When the players arrived at the stadium for the seventh and deciding game of the championship series, they found Trujillo's troops lined up with rifles and bayonets along the first base side of the field.

According to Satchel Paige, the team was given a "pep talk" by the manager, in which they were told, very simply, that "you had better win." When Paige inquired exactly what this meant, he was told "I mean just that. Take my advice and win." Fortunately, Bankhead's grand slam over DiHigo won the title, and the players took the first opportunity they were given to get on a Pan Am Clipper and leave the Dominican Republic as quickly as possible.
(auction link)

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Transforming the Pitch at Sydney Cricket Ground into a Diamond

As you surely know, less than a month from now the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks will open up the 2014 Major League season in Australia.  They will play ball at historic Sydney Cricket Ground; which has been an active field since 1848.

As we speak, they are working on converting a field, best known for cricket, into a Baseball diamond suitable for a Major League game.  Fortunately, this transformation is nothing new, as the below photo suggest.  In 1914, the Chicago White Sox came to Australia to play ball on this very same field.
(pic via @SCG on twitter)

Thanks to the wonder of social media we can see photos of the work being done.  BTW, a live webcam of the stadium can be viewed here.  Below, they are marking the pitch with a diamond. 
(pic via JBMLBPR on twitter)

Then, they start cutting out the grass.
(pic via @joshchetwynd on twitter)

Slowly but surely a familiar sight takes hold.
(pic via JBMLBPR on twitter)

As you can see in the photo below, the outfield warning track has started to take shape.

(pic via JBMLBPR on twitter)

Below is another view of the Sydney Cricket Ground Baseball diamond.
(pic via @DaltsWorld on twitter)

Paul A. Upham, a Fox Sports analyst in Australia, shares a closer view from the field.
(pic via @pauljupham on twitter)

BTW, the game will be telecast in America on the MLB Network.  From a press release sent to me a couple of days ago:
The “MLB Network Special Presentation: Opening Series Sydney” will feature Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz from MLB Network in the broadcast booth and commentary from Ian Chappell of Nine Network, a former Australia cricket captain and a member of the International Cricket Council Hall of Fame. MLB Network’s telecasts will air in the U.S. on Saturday, March 22 with the first game live at 4:00 a.m. ET, immediately followed by a replay telecast at 7:00 a.m. ET, and the second game live at 10:00 p.m. ET. In Australia, ESPN will also exclusively broadcast the exhibition games that the Diamondbacks and Dodgers will play against Team Australia prior to the two regular season games.

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Looking at the 1992 Dodgers Unocal Pin Set

Following up on my posts from the past couple of weeks featuring pinbacks from the Dodgers Unocal pin sets, I now share with you the pins from the 1992 set.  Go here to check out my previous post on these sets.

The 1992 Dodgers' Unocal pin set focuses on the 30th Anniversary of Dodger Stadium. 
Pin #1 - Four World Championships - Since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962 the Dodgers have captured four World Championships ('63, '65, '81 & '88).  No other Major League Baseball club has won more World Championships during this time.

Pin #2 - 30th Anniversary Logo - This official logo commemorates the 30th Anniversary of Dodger Stadium.  Since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, it has hosted 8 World Series, 7 NL Championship Series, 2 tie-breaking playoffs and several international events; including the 1984 Olympic baseball competition.

Pin #3 - Total Wins - Since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the Dodgers have compiled more wins (2,621) than any other Major League Baseball club.  In that time the Dodgers have won 4 World Championships, 8 NL Pennants and 7 NL Western Division titles.

Pin #4 - 10th Player - Dodger fans, known since 1980 as the 10th Player, support the Dodgers in record numbers year in and year out.  Nearly 80 million fans have enjoyed Dodger baseball at Dodger Stadium since the ballpark opened in 1962.

Pin #5 - Dodger Managers - Since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the Dodgers have had only two managers, Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda.  In the club's 30 years at Dodger Stadium, Alston and Lasorda led the Dodgers to 20 first or second place finishes and 8 NL Pennants.

Pin #6 - Eight NL Pennants - Since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the Dodgers have won 8 NL Pennants ('63, '65, '66, '74, '77, '78, '81, '88).  No other Major League Baseball club has won as many pennants during this time.

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Blog Kiosk: 2/28/2014 - Dodgers Links - Zack Greinke, Puig's Adjustments and Guerrero Impressing

They've just started working on transforming the Sydney Cricket Grounds into a Baseball field.  Pic via @JBMLBPR on twitter.
He didn’t apologize to anyone in Australia, though high-ranking members of the Dodgers’ front office urged him to take a step back. He was against going Down Under all along, he admits, even volunteered he voted, “no,” when Dodgers players had their say. 
  • Via Greg Baum at The Sydney Morning Herald, writes "Zack Greinke doesn't care for Australia, and why should he?"   Heck, as Greg notes, Zack's comments may have been just what the doctor ordered.
Hopefully, he will enjoy himself. In the meantine, he has already served a third self-contradictory purpose. By professing disinterest in the Dodgers' pair of games in Australia, he has stirred up a great deal more interest in them than could have been expected more than three weeks out.
  • Topps 2014 Heritage Baseball cards come out next week, so they unveiled some preview pics for collectors to gawk over.  Check out a Kershaw base card on the right.  Pic via their twitter.
  • Richard Justice at writes, "Puig still adjusting to a new way of life in US".
In our land of supermarkets and shiny new cars and department stores -- all of it within reach on some level -- Puig seems to be trying to experience it in large bites, all at once. At some point, he may slow down, may accept that this new world is now his world.
“If I get 25 efforts like I get from Alex every day we’re going to be fine,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of the 27-year-old Guerrero. “This guy comes to work everyday. He gives himself the best chance to have success because he comes here everyday with a good attitude, he works hard, he could be here working before, he could be here working after, he works on ground balls, he works in the cage – Alex gives himself the best chance for success.”
  • Via Susan Lulgjuraj at Beckett, Upper Deck has received an exclusive trading card license with the NHL and NHLPA.
  • OT:  I'm sorry, what?  Via Chris Clarke at KCET, "Fracking Waste is Being Dumped Into the Ocean Off California's Coast".

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Ron Fairly 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet

Here is another post featuring the 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet set.  Go here to see my past post showcasing this set; including complete scans of both the Vin Scully/Jerry Doggett and Don Drysdale booklets.  This time I share the Ron Fairly Booklet.

Ron Fairly was a local product.  He played college ball at USC under famed coach Rod Dedeaux, and was on the 1958 team that won the College World Series.  During that season he batted .358 with 9 home runs and 67 RBI's.  Soon thereafter, he signed a professional contract with the Dodgers and quickly found himself wearing Dodger Blue in September.  In that first month of Major League ball he played in 15 games, batting .283, with 2 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .415. 

In 1961, the season when this booklet was issued, he broke out.  Fairly batted a career high .322 in 111 games; as he bounced between 4 different positions.  The next year, he planted himself on the everyday roster as the Dodgers 1st baseman, hitting a respectable .278 with 14 home runs and 71 RBI's in 147 games. 

Ron Fairly continued to play regularly, but never equaled the promise he showed as a USC center fielder.  Nevertheless, he was a fierce competitor with a disciplined bat, and a key component of 3 World Series Dodger clubs.  Over his entire 21-year playing career, he walked 1,052 times and struck out only 877 times.  He also recorded 68 career pinch hits; hitting as many as 12 in 1975 as a Cardinal.

After his playing days were over, he entered the broadcast booth.  He called games for the California Angels, the SF Giants and most notably for the Seattle Mariners.  Fairly retired after the 2006 season. 

Below are complete scans of every page from Ron Fairly's 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet.  Click any pic to embiggen.

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2014 Topps Tribute Baseball - The Dodgers Autographed Cards

Here is my last post featuring Dodger cards from the 2014 Topps Tribute Baseball card set.  This time I feature the Dodgers' autographed cards.  Go here to check out my previous post on this set.

BTW, there are also Tribute Milestones Autographed Relics of both Yasiel Puig (#TMAR-YP) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (#TMAR-HJR), but they have yet to surface.  I suspect these are extremely limited, and may be "1 of 1's".

Autographed Cards

#TA-AG Adrian Gonzalez

#TA-CKE Clayton Kershaw

Tribute Traditions

#TT-AG Adrian Gonzalez

Tribute to the Past Time

#TPT-AG Adrian Gonzalez                      #TPT-SK Sandy Koufax

According to a checklist, there are at least 3 different Duke Snider and 2 different Johnny Podres autographed cards.  Unfortunately, I have yet to see them all.  At this point, I have only seen 2 of the Snider cards and a Podres card.  Check them out below.

Tribute to the Stars Autographed Cards

(#TSA-DS, #TSA-DS1 & #TSA-DS2) Duke Snider

(#TSA-JP & #TSA-JP1 Johnny Podres)

#TSA-SK Sandy Koufax

Timeless Tribute Autographed Cards

#TTRA-KK Sandy Koufax / Clayton Kershaw

UPDATE:  Here is a look at the Timeless Tribute dual autographed card of Koufax and Kershaw below.

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Blog Kiosk: 2/27/2014 - Dodgers Links - Guerrero's First Game, Chris Reed as a Reliever and AJ Ellis Sells Jerky

Both Davey Lopes and Mark McGwire look on during yesterdays Spring contest against the Diamondbacks, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Go here to see more pics from him.
"He looked better at the plate his second at-bat," manager Don Mattingly said of Guerrero, who sat out last year before leaving Cuba. "It's his first Spring Training game. We're actually not judging off one game or two at-bats. I'm happy with what I saw.
"As the sport of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs stand united behind the principles of respect, inclusion and acceptance. Those values are fundamental to our game's diverse players, employees and fans. We welcome individuals of different sexual orientations, races, religions, genders and national origins.

"MLB has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation, as reflected by our collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association. Accordingly, MLB will neither support nor tolerate any words, attitudes or actions that imperil the inclusive communities that we have strived to foster within our game."

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Take a Deep Breath, It's Just the First Game of Spring - Same Can be Said for SportsNet LA

After spending a little bit of time reading various comments on twitter during this afternoons inaugural game, I am reminded that way too many folks take these early Spring contest way too seriously.

You'll need to take a breather and realize that anything you witness in the early goin' must be taken with a grain of salt.  It's very easy to take for granted that nearly every ballplayers that is a cinch to make the Opening Day roster are not necessarily working on getting outs or hitting for average.  They are preparing for when the games count, and at this moment we are many weeks away from that.  So, I would expect pitchers to be working on getting a feel for pitches they haven't thrown competitively in months, and for batters to become more comfortable with a swing they haven't used in ages.  Remember, getting muscle memory in tune with your desired performance level will take time.

I am always reminded of this when I think back to my own visits to Vero Beach for Spring Training many moons ago.  I recall sitting nearly behind the catcher and realizing that the days starting pitcher threw nothing but fastballs.  Not only that, he wasn't varying the speeds all that much.  Instead, it was clear that the pitcher was testing out his feel for the pitch and his ability to locate it where he wanted.

It was an early Spring game, and that pitcher, along with nearly every pitcher that followed, couldn't care less about the results.  They were more interested in making that slow and steady climb towards competitive performance, and not being perfect right out of the gate.

So, with that being said, these early Spring stats are meaningless; whether they be negative or positive.  Case in point, Clayton Kershaw threw his first Spring game this afternoon and he got shelled.  Via a tweet from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:

Not a great start, eh?  Fortunately, Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider adds some perspective:

Jon also wrote more about Kershaw's day at Dodger Insider.  Check out his post here.

BTW, the same can be said for Rule 5 Draft pickup Seth Rosin.  Via @Dodgers on twitter:

I don't want to rain on everyone's parade, but this is just the first game of Spring.  I do, on the other hand, agree with what Mike Petriello at Dodgers Digest said on twitter:

I believe it's safe to say that Rosin is earning hard looks by everyone in the front office and coaching staffs.  He could be a diamond in the rough, or he a flash in the pan - only time will tell.

*Pic at the very top via @Dbacks on twitter.
(Vin Scully at SportsNet LA launch, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

I also wanted to take a moment to briefly comment about last night's opening SportsNet LA broadcast. 

In one word, it was "AWESOME".  There is nothing like knowing that there will be Dodger Baseball available to me 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  I especially loved the opening montage to begin their broadcast that featured a brilliant monolgue by Vin Scully.  You can watch that online here

If you missed it (likely due to issues out of your control - more on that later), I shared one of the stories Vin Scully spoke about during his interview on Access SportsNet: Dodgers.  Go here to see that post.  In that interview, Vin regaled us about a game when he actually wore the Dodgers uniform.  It was hilarious and perfect.

As for many of you folks who could not watch last nights broadcast, all I can suggest is please be patient.  Believe me, the wait is worth it.

We've seen this song and dance many times over the years - whether it be over the recent battles with AMC Networks or ESPN.  In retrospect, this carriage dispute should have been expected, and I suspect it will not be resolved until the very last moment.

In the meantime, hopefully the fine folks from throughout social media (myself included) will share whatever they can to bridge the divide.


Earlier today, Time Warner's PR group sent along some photos from last night's show, so I figured I should pass them along here.  Check them out below.
(Hershiser and Magic on Access SportsNet: Dodgers, photo credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

(Magic as a guest on Access SportsNet: Dodgers, photo credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

(Hershiser and Hartung on Access SportsNet: Dodgers, photo credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

(SVP TWC Sports, News and Local Programming Dan Finnerty, SVP/GM TWC Sports Regional Networks Mark Shuken, EVP, Los Angeles Dodgers Bob Wolfe, Owner/Partner, Los Angeles Dodgers Peter Guber and President, TWC Sports, News and Local Programming David Rone celebrate the launch of SportsNet LA. Photo Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

(SportsNet LA and Dodger executives watched the SportsNet LA’s ‘Go Live’ moment in El Segundo. 
Photo Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

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