Thursday, July 31, 2014

Here are some Day 2 Twitter Pics of "The National"

Day 2 of the National Sports Collections Convention has now passed, and I am more jealous than ever of all the attendees.  Oh how I wish I were there.

Anyway, following up Tuesday's and Wednesday's twitter pics that I had previously shared, here are pics from Day 2 of the show.  But before you do that, check out a couple of links I've gathered featuring a bunch of photos from some other bloggers and websites.
Now, here are some twitter photos below:

So much vintage!

This next photo is of a Jefferson Burdick letter - known as the Father of Card Collecting.  The last sentence says:
"I'd rather admit we're all crazy or at least well along the road that way."

Some kids busting packs!

I remember HoJo.

Hey... PaPa Van Slyke!

That's quite a crowd at the Topps booth.

Here's a view from above.

And, I'll leave with this photo.  Here are a couple of lovely Bench Warmer Girls and some guy.

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Silly Rabbit... The Dodgers Were Always Going to Keep the Prospects

This trade deadline was quite an event.  It was filled with rumors and gossip, intrigue and excitement and most importantly it was filled with a whole lot of nothing for the Dodgers.

The "Boys in Blue" did not trade for David Price.  They did not snag Jon Lester.  John Lackey was no where to be found. 

Instead, the Dodgers stayed put, and if you've been paying attention this should not have been a suprise. 

Nearly two years ago team President Stan Kasten gave numerous interviews explaining the basic philosophy they had in mind for returning the franchise to long-term stability and greatness, and I think it's important to take a brief look at that once again.

Per a story by JP Hoornstra dated August 26, 2012, Kasten made the following statement:
“I want to stress … we continue to believe in the importance of building a foundation through scouting and player development,” Kasten said. “We won’t be what we want to be until we build the system of players.”
It took a couple of years, but it's clear that the Dodgers have a greater level of comfort with the farmhands currently in our stable.  Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias appear to be the Dodger untouchables.  Further down the line are prospects like Chris Anderson, Tom Windle, Grant Holmes and Scott Schebler.  Alexander Guerrero and even fight-happy Arruebarrena are likely to help the Dodgers sooner rather than later. 

As Kasten said, they are building a system of players, and soon those players will start to transition into everyday Dodgers.

Does this mean that the team will never trade a prospect?

Of course not.  It's just that it is too early in the cycle to give up so easily on our top-flight guys.  

This team will be patient, and they'll make a move when it makes sense.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a deal for someone placed on the waiver wire (just like in 2012).  There will be less pressure to make a rash-emotionally filled move, and we'll have a better idea about what pieces we need to lock down the division.

In the meantime, we should be thankful that the Dodgers didn't do something stupid for short term gain.  This current ownership is in it for the long term, and staying put appears to furthers that end.

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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Dee Gordon met with some Hopeful Young Ballplayers on Monday

During his Monday off day, Dee Gordon came down to The Refinery in Torrance to meet with a group of about 50 kids between the ages of 5 to 12 years old to talk Baseball and the Dodgers.  No doubt, this would be a thrill of a lifetime for them.  After all, how often do you get a chance to meet an All-Star?

Fortunately, Blue Heaven reader Amy was kind enough to pass along some photos and some of the Q&A's from the event.  Considering the ages of these hopeful burgeoning ballplayers you knew their questions would be entertaining.  Check them out below:
What's your favorite position to play?
Dee: I love shortstop, but I went to the All Star's for second base, so I guess I gotta say second base!

Who is your best friend on the team?
Dee: Chone Figgins, I've looked up to him and learned a lot.

Who is faster.. you or Puig?
Dee: ME!

Why do you guys have a bubble machine in the dugout?
Dee: Well, last season Matt Kemp was supposed to throw a foam party after we won the divison and he never did, so now any time someone hits a home run we pull out the bubbles!

What's it like to be a small guy in the majors?
Dee: (Lifts up his sleeve and flexes) I'm not small!

What do you eat for breakfast?
Dee: Bacon and eggs!

Who is your biggest inspiration?
Dee: My family, My dad

Who is your biggest competition?
Dee: No one (with a big smile and a laugh)
Gordon then signed some autographs for the kids.

It can't be emphasized enough how important interactions like this is.  A child sees someone like Dee Gordon and immediately recognizes him as a hero and leader.  So, having him spend some time with them really makes an impression. And when you consider everything Gordon's been through in his career it's even more important.  He can speak about the will to succeed, the desire to get better and the perseverance to tackle all obstacles.  Dee Gordon is an example of how hard work does pay off - you just have to keep going.

BTW, The Refinery is a Baseball and Softball academy that teaches kids of all ages the fundamentals.  Hopefully, a visit from a star like Dee Gordon, who has seen more peaks and valleys than most, can take them to the next level.  Go here to check out their website.

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The Joy of the Completed Set: 1939 Wheaties - Series 13 - 100 Years of Baseball

This is probably one of my all-time favorite Baseball sets.  Featured here is the 1939 Wheaties box set, known as Series 13, of the "100 Years of Baseball."

Last week, I finally decided to pull the trigger to get the final card.  See it above.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

It is card #1 and it tells us all about the "Design of the 1st Diamond."  The remaining 7 cards (there are only 8 cards in the entire set) provide historical information about the game.  It includes Abraham Lincoln's nomination on a ballfield, the creation of the curveball and how fans first hated the Baseball glove.

I had first stumbled upon this Wheaties set a decade ago, and the Baseball history buff in me knew immediately I had to chase it. I picked up my first card then, card #8, since it featured Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat."  (You can see that at the very bottom)  Then slowly but surely, I added more as they popped up.

It isn't a particularly scarce set, so that wasn't the reason why it took me a decade to complete.  It's just that I'm an extremely patient person.

As for the sets historical accuracy... Well, you gotta take that with a grain of salt.  All of this is based on information known or understood in 1939 - some 75 years ago.

These cards sell for about $20 to $30 a piece in decent condition.  As you likely guessed, these cards were printed on the reverse of Wheaties cereal boxes, so you had to cut them out yourself.  They measure about 6' x 8' with the tab included.  Check out scans of the complete set below.

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Blog Kiosk: 7/31/2014 - Dodger Links - Beast Mode Does it Again, Barney to AAA and Vin Scully

I think it's safe to say that Beast Mode is back - Big Time!  Matt Kemp was explosive at the plate for the second straight game. He belted his 3rd home in two games, and knocked in the winning run in extra innings with a walk-off base hit.

All of the sudden, Matt Kemp is looking like the slugger of old.  He's driving the ball with authority and looks absolutely unbeatable at the plate.  Just when I thought we should be fortunate to see him finally hitting for average, he decides to prove me wrong by hitting for power too.  Wow!  With him back in the saddle there's no telling how far this team could go.

The Dodgers have now won five straight and lead the National League West by three games.  The pic at the very top is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Check out more pics by Jon from yesterdays game and Vin Scully's press conference prior to the game here.
  • Collectors from throughout the country have descended on the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.  Panini is running a wrapper redemption program there that is filled with scarce promos and autographs; including the Clayton Kershaw autographed card on the right.  Check out more photos of what they are giving away here.
  • Huh?  So, the Dodgers completed their trade with the Cubs by sending Class-A pitcher Jonathan Martinez to Chicago for infielder Darwin Barney.  Then, they optioned Barney to Albuquerque.  Apparently, he's not coming to Los Angeles right away, but will likely be here when the rosters expand later in the season.
  • Via Steve Dilbeck at The LA Times, "Vin Scully will never understand how deeply he's touched us."
“In all honesty, I don’t ever feel I’ve done anything,” he said. “Somebody will say, 'You’ve done 19 no-hitters and three perfect games.’ And I think I just happened to be there. It’s not something I can take any pride in. I am humbled, believe me, for being given the honor of working the games all these years.
“I couldn’t say goodbye,” Scully said. “I say that in all honesty. When I come to the ballpark, I’m so happy to see Marie and Rita running the elevator. And to see James and Robert in the press box. I walk in and see most of you (reporters). Most of you are friends. I just feel like (I’m) home.

“Then I walk into the booth with Boyd and Robbie, and of course there’s Charley (Steiner) and Rick (Monday), my good pals I see every day. It’s all part of me. That’s why it will be so difficult to say goodbye.”
While not uniformly celebrated for his tools, Schebler has demonstrated enough both of power (21 HR per 600 PA) and speed (14 SB per 600 PA) as a professional to warrant some attention.
  • Via the AP on NESN, "Player Attacked With Bat By Jose Offerman Wins Nearly $1M In Lawsuit."  Do you remember when this happened in 2007?
  • Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily, "Photos, Video from 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention."
  • I just discovered a fun YouTube web series called "The Breaks" and it is made especially for card collectors.  Watch episode #1 below. 

Video Link:

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