Friday, March 11, 2016

The Greatest Dodgers Rug Ever!


This thing is awesome.

When I was a child my mother would get these latch hook rug kits and spend hours upon hours working on it.  It was a labor of love for her, and whenever she completed a project it would dutifully end up on the wall somewhere in the house.

At the time, I remember thinking it was lame.  After all, I was a stupid kid and anything that didn't have to do with the Dodgers or video games was lame.  In retrospect, I couldn't have been more wrong.  I now vividly remember the look of pride and joy when she finished up her work, and whenever I think about that a smile easily comes to my face. 

Now, if she had been working on the rug featured on this post I may have had a far different view of her time-engrossing hobby as a child.  I might've helped out.

Shown here is a completed 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers World Champion latch hook rug that I saw while cruising eBay.  It measures 24" x 36" and is perfect in every way.  (eBay auction link here)  There doesn't appear to be a stain anywhere, and that's rare considering its over 30 years old. 

Below is a pic of the reverse of the rug.

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

Riding the Rails with a Dodgers Boxcar


I love trains.  So, when I found out a buddy of mine was given his father's entire collection of model trains I went bonkers.  I immediately demanded he set it up around his house.  Then, gleefully took over the controls like I was Casey Jones.  This past summer he set up that train set all over his backyard, and we spent the afternoon riding the rails; while directing his wife to grab us some beers.

That was a good time... And yeah, I feel no shame for my childlike behavior.  It was a blast, after all... And dammit!  When you're middle aged it's okay to live like a child from time to time.

So, when I got word of the item I'm featuring in this post I knew I had to share it.  Lionel, the leading maker of toy and model trains, will be producing made-to-order MLB Spring Training boxcars, and eight different teams are available:
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • New York Yankees
For now, you can only get them via pre-order, and only from Lionel dealers.  Go here to find one near you.  MSRP is $84.99 each, but I've seen lower prices online.  (Here's one seller called The Train Shop) From what I understand, they will be shipped out in April, and they are only being made to-order.  Per a press release:
The new MLB™ Spring Training boxcars are perfect for the baseball fanatic or train enthusiast. These boxcars are Made in the USA of US and Imported Parts, and feature die-cast metal sprung trucks and operating couplers. The Spring Training boxcars will run on a traditional O Gauge track, and are the perfect addition to any layout or man cave.
  • Made in the USA of U.S. and Imported Parts
  • Die-cast metal sprung trucks and operating couplers
  • Opening boxcar doors
  • Metal frame
  • Gauge: Traditional O Gauge
  • Min Curve: 027
  • Dimensions: 10 ½” long
BTW, my buddy's wife never did get us those beers.  Instead, she bellowed, "get them you're damn self!"

So we did, and we had a blast.

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

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 9/Home Game 4

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.

L.A. ANGELS (3-6-1) at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (5-1-2)
Friday, March 11, 2016 – 1:05 p.m. MT | Camelback Ranch
RHP Zach Lee (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Nick Tropeano (0-0, 0.00)
TV: None Radio: KLAC

(Kenta Maeda, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

GETTING THE “W”: The Dodgers pounced on A’s starter Rich Hill yesterday, plating five runs in the first inning on their way to an 8-3 victory. Trayce Thompson’s first-inning home run was the big blow and catcher A.J. Ellis went 2-for-3 with three RBI. On the mound, Kenta Maeda collected his first victory of the Cactus League campaign after firing 3.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Yimi Garcia (1.0 IP), Chris Anderson (1.0) and Matt West (1.0) also tossed scoreless baseball yesterday.   
  • The Dodgers took five of their six regular-season games against the Angels last season, sweeping a series at Dodger Stadium and taking two of three in Anaheim.
(AGon, pic via his own tweet)
VIVA MEXICO: Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced details for the Panama City and Mexicali WBC qualifiers for the 2017 classic. Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will play for his brother, Edgar, on team Mexico from March 17-20 in Mexicali. Germany, the Czech Republic and Nicaragua are the other squads in Mexico’s qualifier.
  • In addition, Dodger legend Eric Gagné will manage team France as they try to advance in their qualifier against Spain, Colombia and Panama.   

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETEY!: The Dodgers would like to wish a very happy birthday to reliever Pedro Baez, who turns 28 today.  The hard-throwing right-hander appeared in 52 games for the Dodgers last season, compiling an ERA of 3.35 and striking out 60 batters in 51.0 innings.

: The Dodgers announced Wednesday that the game on Monday, May 30 in Chicago against the Cubs is scheduled to start at 4:05 PM CT/ 2:05 PM PT. The day before, the Dodgers take on the NL champion Mets at Citi Field at 8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

  • RHP Zach Lee will make his second start of the spring after allowing one hit and striking out one in 2.0 scoreless innings on Sunday against the Giants in Scottsdale. Lee, 24, saw his first big league action last season, starting at New York-NL on July 25, and was named the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year after combining to go 13-6 with a 2.63 ERA in 21 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers. Lee ranked among the Triple-A Pacific Coast League leaders in wins (11, T-3rd), ERA (2.70, 2nd), WHIP (1.11, 1st), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.26, 3rd) and home runs allowed per 9.0 innings (0.40, 3rd).
  • LHP Julio Urias will make his first appearance of the spring after being slowed early in camp by a left groin injury. The 19-year-old, who was the Dodgers’ 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, combined to go 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA in 18 starts last year, primarily with Double-A Tulsa before a late-season promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Urias also made several rehab starts last year with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers following cosmetic surgery on his left eye, which cost him two months of the season on the DL. Urias enters the 2016 season rated by as the top left-handed pitching prospect in baseball and the fourth-best overall prospect.
  • RHP Pedro Baez will make his third appearance of the spring. 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.
  • RHP Louis Coleman will make his third Cactus League appearance after facing the Rangers and Indians. Coleman enters his first season with the Dodgers after signing with the club on Feb. 19, 2016.
  • LHP J.P. Howell will come on in relief for the second time this spring after one outing against the Indians. He finished the 2015 season posting a 6-1 record with one save and tossed scoreless relief in 59 of 65 appearances.
  • RHP Kenley Jansen is expected to make a relief appearance for the second time after allowing one run in 1.0 inning of work against the Indians. He enters his seventh big league season after successfully converting 36 of 38 save opportunities last year, the third-highest single-season save percentage in team history (Gagne: 2003-100.0%, 2004-95.7%).
  • RHP Jacob Rhame will make his third Cactus League outing. He combined to go 3-3 with four saves and a 2.68 ERA in 44 relief appearances last season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa.
  • LHP Ian Thomas will pitch in his second game of the spring after 1.0 scoreless inning against the Indians. A 2015 mid-season acquisition from the Atlanta Braves, he made nine relief appearances (one start) for the Dodgers going 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA.
(Julio Urias, pic via @MLB on twitter)

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 3/11/2016 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

The rookie coffee run continues for the Dodgers -- even during spring training.  This morning it appears that several of the young kids were tasked with getting coffee for the team, as evidenced in the photo above tweeted by Kyle Farmer.  From L-R: Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Kyle Farmer?, Jharel Cotton, Caleb Dirks and Jacob Rhame.

Below are more links to check out:
  • It's always a pleasure to work with Daniel at C70 At the Bat, so when he asked me to participate in his "Playing Pepper" question and answer session I was happy to oblige.  This series explores my, and several other Dodger bloggers', thoughts on the upcoming Dodger season.  Check out what I wrote, along with Alex Campos at Dodgers Way and Scott Andes at the LA Dodger Report, here.
  • Via Richard Kagan at Baseball Magazine, "Brooklyn Dodgers’ World Series Comet: Al Gionfriddo."
  • Via Barry M. Bloom at, "Injured Guerrero progressing, nearing return."
"He's taking batting practice, taking grounders, but as far as our comfort level of him playing in a Major League game, we're not there yet," Roberts said.
  • Via Fox Sports, "MLB Commish Manfred talks Snapchat, Dodgers and PEDs in wide-ranging interview."
Despite the league's wider access in many markets, Manfred did express his concern regarding the Dodgers ongoing TV troubles in which a large percentage of Dodgers' fans have been unable to watch their team in the local market due to limited access to the team's new cable channel. Calling the team one of the league's historic franchises, the commissioner said the league had no problem getting involved in discussions between the team and cable providers but was quick to point out they were limited in their influence.
In other words, there is no change in the situation, and ultimately there really isn't much the league can do.

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