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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