Tuesday, February 02, 2016

2016 Topps Baseball Cards are Here - Check Out the Dodger Stadium First Pitch Cards

What a glorious week.

Not only did the Dodgers usher in the new season with their 4th annual FanFest this past weekend but this week also notes the arrival of the first Baseball cards for the new season.  Arriving a couple of days early at retail stores near you are boxes of Topps 2016 Baseball cards.

Woo Hoo!

I hope to have pics of all the Dodgers cards soon.  So stay tuned.  See a complete checklist here.

In the meantime, I've got photos of the popular "First Pitch" Dodger Stadium cards below.  There are two available within the twenty card set: Johnny Knoxville and Steve Aoki.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

First Pitch


Welcome to the Blue, Dieter Ruehle!

Other than the obvious questions about who would be playing where, I wondered who would be behind the organ at Dodger Stadium when the season starts?

Thankfully, we now have that answer and the choice is a great one.  The new Dodgers Organist for the 2016 season and beyond is Dieter Ruehle (pronounced: Dee-Ter Rule).

Apparently, Nancy Bea Hefley approves of the choice.

As you may know, he has been the longtime Music Director at the Staples Center - playing the organ at both Lakers and Kings games.  Ruehle has also played for the Sparks, the Avengers (Arena Football), the Lazers (Indoor Soccer), several NBA All-Star games, a U.S. Open tennis tournament and five Olympic games - most recently during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.  So he is both a local musician and an internationally known organist.  You can follow Dieter on twitter here: @DieterRuehle.

BTW, for those who were paying attention at the recent Dodgers FanFest this past Saturday, he played throughout the day.  Ruehle has also subbed for Nancy Bea Hefley at various times the past few years, so he is hardly a stranger to the stadium and its fans.  In fact, during an interview presented on the Dodgers television screens during FanFest he recalled hearing Helen Dell while going to Dodgers games as a child and named her as an inspiration.

Per a story about Dieter by Chris Erskine in the LA Times in October of 2015:
As the maestro of mayhem for the Kings, the classically trained organist is now in his 20th season of thumping out "Go Kings Go!" on the keyboard, or filling in with glissandos when the puck skips over the glass. His ability to manage the flow of this icy game, and stir the troops at just the right moment, is one of the underappreciated elements of the Staples experience.

The organ is "a sound that's synonymous with pro sports similar to how marching bands are synonymous with college and high school sports," Ruehle explains of his music's appeal.
Dieter has a repertoire of over 500 tunes in his memory banks, and he is up-to-date with his song selection.  In fact, he is known to play the theme song to "The Legend of Zelda" at Kings games, so I imagine we'll hear that at Chavez Ravine too.  Per an interview by Tien Nguyen at LA Taco in November 2015:
You’ve also played at Dodger Stadium. What’s that like?
Dodger Stadium has the best sound system I’ve heard at a baseball stadium. But there’s a sound delay, so when I hit a note, I don’t hear it right away. I have to wear headphones because of the delay.

The great Nancy Bea just retired. Any chance you might be taking over the organ there?
I have no idea what the Dodgers will do. I enjoy filling in, but I have no idea if the Dodgers will even keep the organist position.
I guess we know the answer to that question now.  The organ is back and with Dieter Ruehle at its helm it's likely to stay longterm.

In celebration of his becoming the new Dodgers organist I made the above two fantasy cards of him.  I used a photograph taken from his twitter page and the 1961 Topps Baseball card design for the card on the top left.  For the top right card I grabbed a photo from a True Blue LA post/Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY and the 1982 Topps Baseball card design.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 2/2/2016 - Dodgers Links - Puig, Hernandez and Justin Turner

In collaboration with The Dream Center’s Veterans Program Justin Turner hosted his very first charity golf tournament on Monday, and it appears to have been a smashing success.  A bunch of Dodgers were there; along with boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya.  Best yet, they even put together the above miniature golf setup, pic via David Vassegh on twitter

Below are more links to check out:
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers hope fresh start rejuvenates Yasiel Puig."  As you'll recall, there was a little controversy over the Winter concerning some words spoken about Yasiel Puig by Scott Van Slyke (father of Andy), and it included some gossip purportedly said by Clayton Kershaw. Apparently, most of the parties involved buried the hatchet.
"That was a mishap, and I'd rather put that behind me," Van Slyke said. "You guys have seen me with Yasi every day, and I love the kid. I think he's a benefit to our team, and my feelings toward him won't change."
"My game plan is not just to be ready Opening Day, but to be 100 percent in baseball shape for Opening Day," said Turner. "I'm hoping it's fixed, that when I get to 100 percent it's in the rear-view mirror and I won't have to worry about it. I hope it feels like a brand-new knee once I get to 100 percent. My goal is to be available and ready to play every single day."
“I can play six different positions, so it is what it is. Same role as last year. Nothing changes.” Hernandez joked he hasn’t yet discussed playing all nine positions with manager Dave Roberts.

Hernandez also said he’s recovering well from offseason shoulder surgery. “I’ve been here for three weeks now finishing up the rehab. Hopefully there’s no setbacks and I’ll be ready for spring,” he said.

    * Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
    * Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *