Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Guest Post: Dave Roberts is a Man of the People

I don't get asked this very often, so when an avid Dodger fan has the words and is looking for an outlet to share, I am more than willing to oblige.  Featured here is a fan guest post written by Sunha Kim, and in it he shares his recent weekend trip to Camleback Ranch.  Hopefully, his insights help other fans as they head to the Dodgers spring home, and inspire others to put pen to paper (or keyboard to blog, as it were).  If you ever have the desire to share your thoughts feel free to let me know.  I'd be open to more guest post.  For now, check out what Sunha has to say below:

By Sunha Kim -- "Dave Roberts is a Man of the People"

Part of the thrill of going to spring training at Camelback Ranch is getting up close and personal with the players and coaches, and hopefully getting a few pictures or autographs. If you are solely going to Camelback Ranch to snap a pic or get a signature with the big stars, however, there is a chance that you will come away disappointed. It’s not that stars are mean spirited, but it is important to keep in mind that these players are getting ready to deliver us, the fans, our first championship in nearly 30 years. Most of the time, the players are in their zone and ready to perform at the highest level possible. That's really cool to see!

If you come to Camelback Ranch on a weekend, there will be large crowds as our team is lucky enough to have a strong and loyal fan base. Dodger fans come to Camelback Ranch not only from Los Angeles, but from all over the world. During my time at Camelback, I met a ton of fans living in Arizona. One fan I met came from New York City, and some other fans I met came from as far as Japan.

At this point, you might be getting the sense of why it might be so hard to snag a personal moment with your favorite star. If you are adamant about meeting one specific player, the best thing to do is to come during a weekday, as Camelback will be less crowded. That is what Pat and Melissa Hughes did, and they got autographs from most of the stars!

While it may prove hard to get personal with most the Dodger stars, there is one exception. I was at Dodger camp this past Friday, and I was lucky enough to snag an autograph share a story with new Dodgers skipper, Dave Roberts and Dodger legend Shawn Green. As almost every player walked straight from the field to the clubhouse after morning workouts on Friday, Dave and Shawn were kind enough to engage the large crowd that was waiting in the designated autograph area after practice.

Both Skip and Shawn spent a good 15 minutes with the fans who were eager to share stories, take pictures, and get their stuff signed. If anything, it is good to know that Dave Roberts is a man of the people. But given the strong start to the spring, who knows? Maybe Dave is the chosen one to shepherd us to the promised land for the first time since 1988.

Sunha Kim is a lifelong Dodger fan and Boxing Journalist. His favorite player growing up was pinch hitting master Dave Hansen. Sunha's writing has appeared in Yahoo!, the business news site Quartz, and now Dodgers Blue Heaven! Sunha currently hosts a boxing podcast called Kim On Boxing, and he is developing a baseball centric podcast with another Dodger fan called Bro Club Sports. Stay tuned and follow him @SunhaPKim!

All photos above via Sunha Kim

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

2016 Donruss Baseball - The Elite, Prospect, Rookies and Base 1982 Dodgers Cards

Take a look at some of the Dodgers insert cards available in packs of Panini's 2016 Donruss Baseball card set below.  Go here to see all of my past post on this set. I should have pics of most of the relic and autograph cards later this week.

Base 1982

#D82-8 Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 6/Road Game 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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 – 12:05 p.m. PT | Sloan Park, Mesa
LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 4.50)
TV: None Radio: None
(Charlie Culberson and his 3-run homer, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

THE DREAM IS OVER: The Dodgers (3-1-1) dropped their first Cactus League game of 2016 yesterday, falling to the Indians, 8-5, at Camelback Ranch. Alex Wood was betrayed by a couple of early errors and ended up allowing four first-inning runs, which put the club in the hole early. Following Wood to the mound, Yimi Garcia (1.0 IP), Brandon Beachy (2.0), Louis Coleman (1.0) and Ian Thomas (1.0) all threw scoreless baseball. At the plate, shortstop Corey Seager was 2-for-3 with a double while infielder Charlie Culberson continued to swing a hot bat, cracking a three-run homer. Culberson is tied for the Cactus League lead with six RBI and has six hits in eight at-bats this spring (.750). 
  • The Dodgers were 4-3 against the Cubs in 2015, splitting a four-game set at Wrigley Field in June and taking two of three at Dodger Stadium in late August.  This year, the Dodgers hit the “Windy City” May 30-June 2 and the Cubbies visit Los Angeles Aug. 26-28.
(Kershaw, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016)

ON THE MOUND: Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will make his second spring outing this afternoon after firing 2.0 scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ Cactus League lid-lifter last Thursday. Kershaw will also be on the hill for the regular-season opener, April 4 at San Diego. The Opening Day nod will be Kershaw’s sixth consecutive Opening Day start, leaving him one shy of the Dodger franchise record (7), shared by Don Drysdale (1958-61, ’63, ’65, ‘69) and Don Sutton (1972-78). Fernando Valenzuela (1981, 1983-86, ’88) and William “Brickyard” Kennedy (1894-96, 1898-1900) are the only other members of the franchise to tally at least six Opening Day starts. 
  • In 2015, Kershaw turned in his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign, going 16-7 and ranking third in the Majors with a 2.13 ERA in 33 starts. He topped the big leagues with 301 strikeouts in just 232.2 innings, joining Sandy Koufax (1963, ‘65-66) as the only pitchers in franchise history to eclipse 300 Ks.
  • Last year, Kershaw went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in six Cactus League starts.
  • RHP Joe Blanton will make his second appearance of the spring after tossing 2.0 perfect innings with three strikeouts against the White Sox last Thursday. Last year, he combined to go 7-2 with two saves and a 2.84 ERA in 36 games (four starts) with the Royals and Pirates.
  • RHP Carlos Frias allowed a run in 2.0 innings on March 3 in his 2016 Cactus League debut and is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he went 5-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 17 games (13 starts) for Los Angeles.
  • RHP Jacob Rhame worked a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout last Friday in Surprise and is entering his fourth professional season. Rhame combined to go 3-3 with four saves and a 2.68 ERA in 44 relief appearances last season with Single-A Ranch Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa.
  • RHP Pedro Baez saw his first full big league action last season with the Dodgers, going 4-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 52 relief appearances. The hard-throwing former third baseman allowed a run and struck out two in his only spring inning of work last Friday against the Rangers.
  • The Dodgers have three additional pitchers suiting up today from the minor league side: RHP Red Patterson (#89), LHP Grant Dayton (#84) and LHP Justin Richardson (#93).
(Several Dodgers' visited a Bull Riding event recently, pic via Jon SooHoo on @Dodgers twitter)

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/8/2016 - Dodgers Links - Urias, Utley and Kenta Maeda

As the new kid on campus, Corey Seager sure has ingratiated himself well with the fans.  He's everyone's number #1 get of the spring, and if you can snap a selfie with the lad, like the lady in the above photo snapped by photographer Zachary P. Lucy on twitter, then you know you've had a good day.

In other Seager news, apparently his popularity has earned him a new nickname.  Via Bill Plunkett at the OC Register:
Even his teammates and coaches remind him – in teasing fashion – what is expected of the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball. Listen closely this spring and you’ll occasionally hear Seager referred to by his new nickname – “Roy,” as in Rookie of the Year.

“I guess I get to take that one over from Joc (Pederson) last year. He passed that one on to me,” Seager said sheepishly. “Yeah, it’s all that good-quality fun. It’s never personal.
Below are more links to check out:
Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias threw two innings of batting practice on Monday and showed no signs of the slight groin tightness that set him back a few days.

If Urias comes out of the workout with no setback, he's likely to make his first Cactus League appearance at the end of the week. Urias felt the discomfort after throwing batting practice last Monday, and he then threw a bullpen session on Friday. The club is being extra cautious with the 19-year-old prodigy.
  • Dave Roberts, via Doug Padilla at ESPN, shares some of what he saw in Urias:
"He’s a special young man,” Roberts said, when asked about Urias’ throwing session Monday. “The repeatability with his mechanics, for a young pitcher, is impressive. The sharpness of his breaking ball, the late life to his fastball, glove-side command with his fastball ... he was pretty impressive. There’s a lot to like.” 
  • Blowout Buzz provides another preview pic of an Kenta Maeda signed Baseball card.  See it on the right.  It is an early look at his upcoming Bowman Chrome card. 
  • Via Doug Padilla at ESPN, "Chase Utley happy to move forward with suspension lifted."
"[Torre] expressed to me that what happened in the playoffs, after looking at other slides over the course of the years, it was not much different from those and there were no penalties there," Utley said. "So with that said, they rescinded the suspension. I can't say enough how terrible I felt about what happened to Ruben. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever. If anybody thinks I did, they're completely wrong.
"We're giving Ethier an extra day. He's going to be out there running around catching baseballs and throwing," (Dave) Roberts said. "Just with the bottom hand and his swing, we're going to keep him out an extra day."

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    * Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *