Friday, November 07, 2014

LA Kings Dodgers Pride Night is Coming - 18th of November

The annual Dodgers Pride Night at an LA Kings game returns on Tuesday, November 18th against the Florida Panthers.  As always, I'll be attending the game and I will endeavor to get there early.

As you may know, for this event the Kings come out for their pregame/warm-up skate wearing specially made Dodger-themed hockey jersey's that will be auctioned off to benefit the Kings Care Foundation during the game.  Last season, I just missed out on winning one, so I will take another stab at it come that Tuesday. 

Heck, I probably shouldn't even mention this since all I am really doing is creating unwanted competition for myself in that auction.  Nevertheless, since it's for a good cause I'll put aside my selfish intentions. 

In past years a former Dodger player (or two) have been in attendance to sign autographs for fans.  Unfortunately, no Dodger was present to sign last year.  Although, early word has leaked that Justin Turner will drop the first puck (BTW, that's no guarantee he'll be greeting fans), via The Major John Hoven on twitter:

Photo at the very top via Juan Ocampo/LA Dodgers 2013.
Graphic that is above via @LAKingsPR on twitter.

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Welcome to the Blue, Gabe Kapler & Billy Gasparino!

The Dodger front office is starting to round out quite nicely.  Following up on yesterdays official announcement regarding the hiring of both Farhan Zaidi and Josh Byrnes, the Dodgers let us know today that they have hired Gabe Kapler and Billy Gasparino to fill holes within their farm system.

Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the front office additions of Gabe Kapler as Director, Player Development and Billy Gasparino as Director, Amateur Scouting. Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman made the announcement.
BTW, Gabe Kapler is on twitter, so you can follow him here: @gabekapler.  Instead of rehashing what has already been written about him, I will list several reports that I found.  Check them out below:
This would be his first job in a major league front office, presumably working under Byrnes, who will oversee scouting and player development.
Here's a fun interview from last year by Eddie Mata with Gabe Kapler.  Check it out below.

Video Link:

As for Gasparino, he isn't on twitter (as far as I know), but he is experienced in the scouting department.  Check out some stories below about him.
In celebration of Kapler and Gasparino's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy cards for them.  For the Kapler card I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from and the 1971 Topps Baseball card design.  For the Gasparino card I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from the Padres Friarwire and the 1971 Topps Baseball card design.

The Dodgers press release:
A 12-year Major League veteran, Kapler joins the Dodgers after most recently working as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports 1. Prior to his television career, Kapler was a big league outfielder for the Tigers (1998-99), Rangers (2000-02), Rockies (2002-03), Red Sox (2003-06), Brewers (2008) and Rays (2009-10), winning a World Series with Boston in 2004. He briefly retired following the 2006 season and managed Boston's Single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, in 2007 before resuming his playing career in 2008 and playing three more big league seasons. A Los Angeles native, Kapler appeared in a Dodger uniform as a non-roster invitee during 2011 Spring Training, but never played in a regular-season game with the club.

Kapler attended Taft High School in Woodland Hills before earning a scholarship to Cal State-Fullerton, where he played one season before transferring to Moorpark College.

Gasparino joins the Dodgers after four seasons with the Padres as the club's Director of Scouting (2012-14) and National Crosschecker (2010-12). Previously, he worked for the Blue Jays, originally joining Toronto as an area scout covering Southern California from 2004-06 before being promoted to national crosschecker in 2007. He got his start in baseball as an intern with the Cleveland Indians in 2003

An infielder during his playing career, Gasparino was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 17th round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University and spent one season in their minor league system with Single-A Portland.

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Welcome to the Blue, Josh Byrnes!

It is now official.  Not only did the Dodgers hire A's Assistant GM Farhan Zaidi to be their General Manager, but they also hired former Padres and Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes to be the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.  Check out my previous 'Welcome' post for Zaidi here.

Per a Dodgers press release:
"It is very exciting for us to be able to add two exceptional, veteran baseball executives like Farhan and Josh," said Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. "Farhan's primary focus will be the Major League team and player acquisitions while Josh will concentrate on the oversight of scouting and player development. However, they will both work closely with me on all aspects of baseball operations in our efforts to make the Dodgers' front office and team the best it can possibly be."
As the GM of the Padres he made some key trades that hasn't really turned out so well; including trading away Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs for starting pitcher Andrew Cashner.  Although, Cashner is a very good pitcher.  It's just that Rizzo may prove to be much more of an impact player.  He also dealt Mat Latos to the Reds for infielder Yasmani Grandal, catcher Yonder Alonso, and right-handers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger. 

As a GM for the Diamondbacks I suggest taking a look at a series of post by Dan Strittmatter at the AZ Snake Pit blog.  He put together 2 part post (Part 1 & Part 2) focused on, "A Retrospective Look at the Trade History of Josh Byrnes."  Also, Brendan Bianowicz at MLB Trade Runors shares a spreadsheet featuring a history of trades, signings and draft picks under Byrnes as the DBacks GM, here.  As you'll notice, he traded future-ace starting pitcher Max Scherzer (who he drafted) for a Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

I guess you can say that I'm happy we're getting a smart front office guy with significant experience, but weary about his past trades.  Who am I kidding though, getting another brain is never a bad thing, so I'm happy to have him as a part of the team.  If Friedman and Zaidi can really foster a free-wheeling collaborate approach to management, then Byrnes addition should be a net positive.

In celebration of Byrne's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from an SI article (Photo: Lenny Ignelzi/AP) and the 1962 Topps Baseball card design.

More from the Dodgers press release:
Byrnes, 44, will supervise the Dodgers' scouting and player development operations after previously serving as executive vice president/general manager for two of the Dodgers' NL West rivals, the Diamondbacks (Oct. 2005-July 2010) and Padres (Oct. 2011-June 2014).

He began his front office career in 1994 with the Indians, working as an advance scout in 1995 and 1996 before being promoted to Director of Scouting in June 1998. In the fall of 1999, Byrnes became assistant general manager of the Rockies and moved to the Red Sox in the same role for the 2003-05 seasons, helping Boston to the 2004 World Series title.

Originally from Washington, D.C., Byrnes attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where he established school career records in home runs and RBI. He and his wife, Charity, have two daughters, Avery and Darby.

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Blog Kiosk: 11/7/2014 - Dodger Links - The Kershaw's, Hanley and Gabe Kapler

Last Night Clayton and Ellen Kershaw hosted a charity fundraising concert in Dallas in support of Kershaw's Challenge.  Country musician Clay Walker headlined the show.  Check out the Kershaw's on stage in the pic above, via kershawschallenge on instagramGo here to see more photos from the evening.

Below are some links to check out:
"I always want to go and visit with the people that wear the uniform of the United States of America," said Lasorda, who looked up to Feller and considered him a friend. "I like to talk to them, I like to meet them, I like to tell them how much we appreciate what they do for us."
Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider shares a video of Tommy's acceptance of the award that you can see here.

Kapler's best strength, judging from his writing and his television work, is as he says, a strong ability to explain and deliver information to a wider audience, and — looking at his personal writing on health and lifestyle — do so in a passionate, relentless fashion. On September, Kapler wrote about baseball's next competitive advantage for Fox Sports.

"The benefits of infusing a mindset of flexibility and adaptability are obvious. The only way to reap those benefits is if players, coaches and managers buy in," Kapler wrote. "By starting at the lowest levels, these men will have multiple years to learn and develop this flexibility before arriving onto the major league field."
  • Apparently, another Padre insider is expected to join the Dodgers front office.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Jeff Pickler rumored to join Dodgers front office."
  • Here are some details of a Southern California Baseball game played over 100 years that had been all but forgotten.  Fortunately, Gary Ashwill at Agate Type tells us all about it.  Future Hall of Famer Walter Johnson pitched against the Los Angeles Giants (a black ballclub) in 1908.  Check it out here.
  • Cubs super-prospect Kris Bryant is a class act.  Via David Just at the Chicago Sun Times, "Kris Bryant performs random act of kindness for Twitter follower."
“I’m just a big fan,” Kennedy said in a phone interview. “And for me I collect cards and then started collecting game-used memorabilia. When you own a bat that was used in a game it’s a piece of history to me. So that’s why I like them. Even 30 years from now here’s this bat that was used by a player. So I just collect. I wasn’t trying to get anything from him. I just wanted to know if it was legit before I bought it. … I was blown away.”

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