Sunday, February 22, 2015

There's Something New About Camelback Ranch

Camelback Ranch is getting a bit more Dodger flare.  With the improvements and beautification process at Dodger Stadium well underway Dodger Senior Vice President, Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith and her team are focusing their attention on their Spring home in Arizona. 

There will now be Dodger-themed attractions that incorporate the club's history in Brooklyn and Los Angeles all over the facility.  Heck, they even brought over one of those giant bobbleheads for fans to enjoy.  They expect everything to be up and ready by the start of the first Spring game on March 4th.  Below is a bullet point list of the new additions:
(pic via Bill Plunkett on twitter)
  • Lasorda Bobblehead: Evidenced by Jon SooHoo's photo above, the Dodgers brought their Tommy Lasorda Hall of Fame bobblehead located adjacent to the Dodger Major League building.
  • Dodger Mini-Scoreboard: A mini Dodger scoreboard, resembling the Dodger Vision scoreboard at Dodger Stadium, will welcome fans as they enter the Dodger Major League practice fields. The scoreboard provides another photo opportunity for fans right before they make their way to the Dodger Major League practice fields.
  • Dodger Replica Field Scoreboard:  The scoreboard on the Dodger replica practice field has been transformed to resemble the look of the scoreboard at Dodger Stadium. This added feature is part of the overall effort to enhance the Los Angeles Dodger brand at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
  • All-Star Panels:  Ten All-Star panels will line the Legends Walk which surrounds the lake. These panels will celebrate Dodger players and managers who made All-Star appearances: an All-Star manager card features Tommy Lasorda, an All-Star pitcher card features Fernando Valenzuela, an All-Star catcher card features Mike Piazza, an All-Star first baseman card features Gil Hodges, an All-Star second baseman card features Jackie Robinson, an All-Star shortstop card features Pee Wee Reese, an All-Star third baseman card features Ron Cey, an All-Star left fielder card features Tommy Davis, an All-Star center fielder card features Duke Snider and an All-Star right fielder card features Shawn Green. All cards list each Dodger All-Star to date in every respective position and will be updated annually.
  • LA logo sculpture:  An LA logo sculpture will be located near the Dodger practice fields. Similar to the LA logo sculpture located at the Loge entrance at Dodger Stadium, the iconic logo provides fans with another memorable photo opportunity at Camelback Ranch-Glendale and is a nod to the team's home in Los Angeles. It will sit adjacent to the waterfall at the lake's edge.
  • MVP baseballs:  The Legends Walk at Camelback Ranch-Glendale will now also feature three-foot diameter MVP baseballs which pay tribute to Dodger MVPs. This enhancement will line the Legends Walk and will feature the names, positions and MVP years of all Dodger MVPs to date: Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Jake Daubert (1913), pitcher Dazzy Vance (Brooklyn, 1924), first baseman Dolph Camilli (1941), second baseman Jackie Robinson (1949), catcher Roy Campanella ('51, '53, '55) and pitcher Don Newcombe (1956) and Los Angeles shortstop Maury Wills (1962), pitcher Sandy Koufax (1963), first baseman Steve Garvey (1974), Kirk Gibson (1988) and Clayton Kershaw (2014).
  • Retired numbers:  Inspired by Dodger Stadium where retired number signs line the interior of the ballpark, now at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, Dodger and White Sox greats will be acknowledged in-stadium. Retired number signs will be located above the right (White Sox) and left-field (Dodger) bullpens.
  • Minor League Affiliate mileage sign:  Camelback Ranch-Glendale will now feature signage located in the CF Courtyard that will include the names and distances from Glendale, Ariz., of each of the Dodgers' minor league affiliate. The opposite side of the sign will include each of the White Sox minor league affiliates.  (Really, though, who cares about the White Sox?)

The fan experience during games will also be enhanced.  There will be some new food items, a larger concourse patio area and much more:
  • The Montejo Patio:  Located on the first-base concourse, the Montejo Patio features an enlarged patio area, formerly 2,000 now 5,000 square feet, and is highlighted by a shade structure covering 3,500 square feet and rising to 17 feet. The Montejo Patio features an 800 square-foot bar with tables, chairs and drink rails. Designed to fit the desert architecture of the stadium, the area will also provide fan-favorite food options.
  • Concessions:  New to Camelback Ranch-Glendale's concession menu will be an 18-inch slice of pizza, bacon-on-a-stick, kabobs and frozen yogurt.
  • Weekends at the Ranch:  At all Friday-Sunday home games, indicated as Weekend Premier games on the schedule, fans can enjoy exclusive photo opportunities, live music, special activities for kids and much more.
  • Weekend Eighteen|76 Legends Deck:  The Eighteen|76 Legends Deck is an all-inclusive experience at Weekend Premier games that includes a deluxe ballpark menu served from stadium opening until the end of the sixth inning. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available throughout the game. A former Dodger or White Sox player will visit the Eighteen|76 Legends Deck during the game.
  • Senior Stroll:  Seniors Stroll the Bases every Wednesday. Just like legends of the past, seniors can stroll the bases following every Wednesday game.
  • Uptown Alley Family Sundays:  Children ages 12 and under receive a lawn seat for just $3 at all Sunday games courtesy of Uptown Alley-Surprise. There is a limit of four discounted lawn seats for each full-price adult ticket. The $3 lawn tickets are available on the day of the game only at the ticket office. Following the game, children can run the bases.
BTW, tickets appear to be going fast.  The game against the Giants on Friday, March 27 is already sold out and three games have limited availability: Friday, March 13 vs. the Reds, Saturday, March 14 vs. the Indians and Thursday, March 19 vs. the Angels. Tickets can be purchased online at or via the phone by calling 800-905-3315.  You may also buy tickets at the Camelback Ranch box office.

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.

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Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Pitchers & Catchers Workout #3

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.

(Gimme five, Donnie!  Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

THE THEORY OF EVERYSPRING: Today marked the third day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Position players report on Wednesday, with the first full-squad workout of 2015 scheduled for Thursday.
  • Clayton Kershaw, Brandon League, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Joe Wieland, Chris Hatcher, Juan Nicasio, Daniel Coulombe, Carlos Frias, Adam Liberatore, Erik Bedard, David Huff, Josh Ravin and Ryan Buchter all threw their second “official” bullpens of the spring.
  • Two pitchers who haven’t thrown bullpens yet – Zack Greinke (elbow) and Joel Peralta (shoulder) – played catch this morning. Both are expected to be back on a regular schedule soon. Right-hander Ben Rowen is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and is not expected back until the latter part of Spring Training.
  • A couple more position players reported to camp early for voluntary workouts, including Chris Heisey and Darnell Sweeney while catcher Ali Solis left camp due to a contractual issue.

BIRDMAN: Dodger non-roster invitee and 2013 first-round selection (18th overall) Chris Anderson is making his first appearance in big league camp after going 10-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 39 games (37 starts) over his first two minor league seasons. Last year, Anderson was 7-7 with a 4.62 ERA and a league-leading 146 strikeouts (in 134.1 IP) in 27 games (25 starts) for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The Minnesota native attended Jacksonville University, where he was freshman All-America and earned second team all-conference honors. 
(Do some video work, pic via Jon SoHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

TICKETCATCHER: Tickets for both the Dodgers’ and White Sox’ Spring Training games at Camelback Ranch-Glendale are on sale now and record attendance is expected at the park this season. The Dodgers’ home Spring Training game schedule features a total of 15 games, including the sold-out contest against the Giants on Friday, March 27. In addition, the following three games have limited ticket availability: Friday, March 13 vs. the Reds, Saturday, March 14 vs. the Indians and Thursday, March 19 vs. the Angels. Tickets can be purchased online at or via the phone by calling 800-905-3315. Single-game tickets are available for purchase at the Camelback Ranch-Glendale ticket office now and ticket office hours are 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. MT from Monday-Saturday. On game days, the ticket office remains open for 30 minutes following the conclusion of play. Single-game tickets start at just $9 and parking is always free at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
(Joc Pederson, pic via Jon SooHoo/La Dodgers 2015)

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Sunday Dodger Videos: Ryu, Puig and Dean Norris Running the Bases at Dodger Stadium

Here are this Sunday's Dodger videos.

Dallas Korean Video shows us a bit of Camelback Ranch, and Hyun-Jin Ryu's first throwing session and some batting off a tee.  They also speak with Yasmani Grandal about Ryu.

Video Link:

Puig does futbol, via Daniel de Malas.

Video Link:

ICYMI:  Here is Dodger-LowDown's video report from the recent Dodger FanFest.

Video Link:

Watch Dean Norris of Breaking Bad fame run the bases at Dodger Stadium.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Welcome to the Blue, Brandon Beachy!

Yesterday afternoon the Dodgers announced a brand new signing, and it's was not one of the highly-regarded Cuban prospects everyone is talking about.  Instead, the Dodgers front office dipped into their back of tricks and came away with a starting pitcher who is still on the mend from his second Tommy John Surgery.  As they say, this is a "high risk, high reward" signing, and ultimately provides some needed depth for the second half of this season.

Former Atlanta Brave and highly talented starting pitcher Brandon Beachy is now a Dodger.  He signed a reported $2.75 million contract for 2015, plus a club option for 2016 worth approximately $3 million.

He will not be competing for a job this Spring on the big league roster, but is expected to contribute later in the season when he is fully recovered.  As I intimated above, he is coming off his second arm surgery since coming into the league in 2010.

Strictly speaking, this is another signing of a pitcher with significant potential, but with some injury history that has stifled his development into a frontline starter.  Much like recently signed Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, Beachy has the skills to succeed at a high level.  We'll just have to wait and see if he can fullfill that promise.

Per a Dodger press release:
Beachy, 28, has gone 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA in 46 Major League starts with Atlanta from 2010-13, missing last season due to March 21, 2014 Tommy John surgery. In 267.2 innings in the big leagues, Beachy has limited opposing hitters to a .220 batting average and posted a 3.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 275 and walking only 86.

After making his MLB debut as a September call-up in 2010, the Indiana native had a breakout 2011 season, going 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts with the Braves. Beachy's 169 strikeouts in 141.2 innings led the club and placed second among big league rookies in 2011, with his average of 10.74 strikeouts per nine innings ranking as the fourth-best all-time mark among MLB rookies (min. 25 starts), behind only Kerry Wood (12.58, 1998), Dwight Gooden (11.39, 1984) and Hideo Nomo (11.10, 1995).

Through 13 starts in 2012, Beachy led the Majors with a 2.00 ERA and a .171 opponents' batting average before he underwent Tommy John surgery on June 21. Following rehab, he made only five starts with the Braves in 2013 and needed to have a second Tommy John surgery on March 21, 2014.

Beachy, who will wear No. 37 with Los Angeles, was originally signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on July 22, 2008 out of Indiana Wesleyan University.
Here are some links about Beachy worth checking out:
Why high reward, you say? Beachy’s a fascinating story. Undrafted out of Indiana Wesleyan University, Beachy signed as a free agent with the Braves in 2008 and found himself with a cup of coffee in the bigs in 2010. The next year, he put up one of baseball’s shockingly great performances, striking out 169 in 141.2 innings. Beachy’s K%-BB% that year was 20.8. Clayton Kershaw, who won his first Cy Young in 2011, had a 21.3%. At 24, he looked like a guy the Braves could count on for years.
"By the time he's ramping up, our starting pitching depth might look different than it does now," Zaidi said. "He was a really valued target for us. I think his ceiling, based on what he's done before, is that of a mid-rotation starter or better."
In celebration of Beachy's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from Jon Weisman's post here and the 1962 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Brandon Beachy, via Baseball-Reference:

In the video below, Brandon Beachy spoke with the press at Camleback Ranch, via JP Hoornstra on twitter:

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