Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Meet Your Oklahoma City Dodgers - New Team, New Logos, New Uniforms

The big news from the Dodgers front was not a trade or free agent signing.  Instead, we find out that our new AAA minor league ball club in Oklahoma City will be renamed the Dodgers.  Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
“Today marks a new chapter in Oklahoma City’s baseball history, and we are proud to say we are now the Oklahoma City Dodgers,” said Oklahoma City Dodgers president/general manager Michael Byrnes. “Soon after the ownership change took place, there was a dialogue as to how we could rebrand the team. Ultimately, ownership, team leadership, and key stakeholders felt there was no bigger statement for the Los Angeles Dodgers to plant their flag in Oklahoma City than by renaming their Triple-A team the Dodgers as well.”
As you may recall, the Oklahoma City team is partly owned by the Dodgers, so you should expect that this club will remain the Dodgers for a long time.  BTW, all of the new logos and designs were created by the Dodgers own in-house design team. Below are some presentation pages from this mornings press conference.

And here are some photos from the press conference:

Here's a peek at the new uniforms.

Look at this gorgeous patch.

Look at the size of that flag!

And look at some of the merchandise.

This might be the best news of all for an Oklahoman... Is that right?  Oklahoman?  Or is it Oklahomanites?  Oklahomer?  Okie?  I dunno.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Dodger Mall Tour on Sunday and a Busy Saturday for Autograph Collectors

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


The 2014 Dodger Holiday Mall Tour begins this coming Sunday, December 7th at the Westfield Topanga Mall in Canoga Park.   You can also go here for details at the Dodger website.
Westfield Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Boulevard
Canoga Park, CA 91303
Sunday, December 7, 2014 
Appearance Times:
Orel Hershiser: 11am-1pm
Justin Turner: 2pm-4pm
Former Dodger infielder Steve Sax will be at Dr. Alex Liu's office in Rowland Heights on Saturday, December 6th.  Check out the flyer below of go here for more information.
Dr. Alex C. Liu OD
19735 E. Colima Rd.
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
This Saturday is the Frank & Sons Holiday Open House and a whole bunch of autograph guest will be on-hand to meet with fans.  Check out the flyer below, or go here or here for more information.  Former and current Dodgers in attendance include Tommy Davis, Adam Kennedy and Justin Turner.


Ed Davis will be at Valley Sports Cards in Tarzana on Saturday.  Go here for more information.

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Another Dodger Trade - Welcome to the Blue, Chris Heisey!

Last Night the Dodgers pulled off another minor trade - bringing in some depth to the roster.  Although, it is a bit curious that we brought in another outfielder when we seemingly have a logjam out there.  Strike that, this is puzzling.  From the Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the acquisition of outfielder Chris Heisey from Cincinnati in exchange for right-handed pitcher Matt Magill. Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman made the announcement.

Heisey (pronounced HI-zee), who will turn 30 on Dec. 14, appeared in 119 games at all three outfield positions for the Reds in 2014, his fifth Major League season. He excelled in his 47 pinch-hit appearances, batting .273 (12-for-44) and leading qualifying NL pinch-hitters with four home runs and a .659 slugging percentage.
The Pennsylvania native has a .247 career batting average in 543 games, including a .283 average and a .587 slugging percentage in 155 pinch-hit appearances. During the course of his career, Heisey, who has not committed an error since 2012, has appeared in 311 games in left field, 93 games in center field and 70 games in right field, while ranking sixth among NL outfielders (min. 300 games) with a .908 zone rating since 2010. He was originally selected by the Reds in the 17th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Messiah College in Pennsylvania.
So, Heisey is a good glove outfielder with a below average bat.  He does, on the other hand, appear to excel at the plate when asked to come in as a pinch-hitter - which Dodger fans should know is a skill in itself (i.e. Manny Mota, Jose Morales, Olmedo Saenz, etc.).

Still, his addition has to indicate that a subtraction in the outfield is forthcoming.  Doesn't it?  Why add a reserve outfielder when we have more than enough Major League guys to do that.  I think this trade is setting us up for another trade meant to address the outfield situation.  Who will be going?  I dunno, but I look forward to seeing what they cook up.

Here's what Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi had to say in a report by Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
“One thing I’ll say is, you look at the landscape of baseball as a whole, and one of the things that’s really scarce is offense — and we’re fortunate to have a surplus of really good offensive outfielders,” said Zaidi. “So obviously there’s going to be some demand and some interest in those outfielders.”

In the meantime, Zaidi noted that the Dodgers are trying to improve their depth in all areas, taking note of, yes, team chemistry in the process. Heisey’s skill set appealed to the new administration, but so did his approach.

“We’re not trying just to put together a collection of individuals,” Zaidi said. “We believe in putting together a team … a team that’s all pulling in the same direction.”
Addressing what Zaidi intimates above, check out this video of Heisey talking about how he lives his life.

Video Link:

On a side note, I am saddened to see Matt Magill go elsewhere.  Although he never was going to be a frontline starter for the team, I thought he could work out well at the back of the rotation.  He had struggled recently with his control and needed to gain command on another pitch, so maybe his development is better served elsewhere.  No doubt, I'll be rooting for him to succeed in his future travels.

In celebration of Heisey's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from Zimbio (Rich Pilling/Getty Images North America) and the 1971 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Chris Heisey, via Baseball-Reference:

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Blog Kiosk: 12/3/2014 - Dodger Links - Ellis Valued by New Front Office and a AAA Change Coming Soon

Now that's how you break up a double play.  Unfortunately, Dodger infielder Charlie Neal (referred to as Chuck in the caption) was the recipient of a near-perfect slide into second base by Pete Whisenant.  This is a United Press photo I grabbed off of eBay.  Check it out here.

As you can see, Whisenant appears to have done everything right.  He came in sliding hard and propped his rear-end up to impede a swift moving Neal.  In the process, he forced Neal to take a ride on his backside forcing him to fumble the ball.

On a side note, ain't this a fantastic photo?  It's filed with action while noting a part of the game that is often overlooked - and rarely ever seen in todays game.  BTW, this photo is from a 1956 game against the Cubs.  Below is what was written in the caption:
CHICAGO: Dodgers' Chuck Neal takes ride on back of Cubs Pete Whisenant, who broke up double play in 4th inning of second game of double header here 8/28.  Whisenant was forced at second on Harry Chiti's grounder to Pee Wee Reese.  Play went from Reese to Neal.  Cubs lost first game, 6-4 and won second game, 4-3."
Below are some links to check out:
  • This should come as no surprise.  The Dodgers chose to retain the rights of all their arbitration eligible players; including signing a new 1-year contract with Darwin Barney.  Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Dodgers sign Barney, retain rights to other arbitration-eligible players."  Per Dylan Hernandez of the the LA Times on twitter, Barney will make $2.525Mil in 2015.  On a side note, we have quite a stockpile of middle infielders/utility players on the team.  Something has to give pretty soon. 
  • All of the hand-wringing over AJ Ellis is all for naught.  He will likely remain a Dodger.  WooHoo!  Per Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, he speaks with Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi about AJ.
“The fact that (Ellis) has good relationships with the staff, that’s not an intangible,” Zaidi said. “That’s a tangible effect on his performance in the field.”

Though Ellis slumped to a .191 batting average in 2014, he was injured most of the year — yet still gave quality at-bats with a walk-strikeout ratio of almost exactly 1:1, something that Zaidi didn’t think “should be undersold.”

  • Chris Olds at Beckett proves and early glimpse at Topps 2015 Finest Baseball card set.  It is slated to come out in June 2015.  Check out the Joc Pederson card on the right.
  • Via a Dodger press release, "Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Andre Ethier and wife Maggie will dedicate Maggie and Andre Ethier Learning Center at Union Rescue Mission Thursday."  
"I've enjoyed volunteering at URM since I became a Dodger," said Ethier. "Knowing that the Learning Center will serve the mission for years to come makes this project very special to me."
Among the professional journalism crowd, and I suppose all baseball circles to some degree, these “kids” are a constant topic of discussion. I have seen only one of these reporters break through to the mainstream, meaning he is likely the exception, not the rule. And he didn’t get to this point by being lazy. He got his foot in the door, took advice, learned rapidly and now has a bright future. Sadly, this is not the case for many of what I call “Transaction Monkeys,” the kids who frantically tweet every minor move that can easily be found on or any transaction website. Repetitiveness is not a skill, nor should it be rewarded.
Congress doesn’t have to set domestic violence aside. Neither does it need to ignore sports. But pushing leagues to rush into implementation and improvement of disciplinary policies, as we’ve seen before, often only leads to sloppy practices that don’t serve anyone well (except, perhaps, the leagues’ PR efforts), all while lending the leagues a moral authority on the issues they don’t deserve.

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