Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dodger Opening Day Festivities

Above is the special Opening Day only cover of Dodgers Magazine.  I got to Chavez Ravine about an hour before game time and headed into the left field gift shop to see what was new for this season.  One of the first things I noticed was a new t-shirt for the ladies made by NIKE.
Take a look -

For the guys there were also a couple of new shirts made by NIKE.  I actually saw a few people wearing these at Camelback Ranch.  The Ethier one is pretty sweet!
Take a look -

Once it was time for the game to begin, you could just feel the electricity in the stadium.  They introduced both teams and of course the Giants were heavily booed!  Before the National Anthem was sung the Dodgers played a video tribute to Duke Snider and made mention that the players would be honoring Duke with a patch on their jerseys.

Members of all branches of the United States Armed Forces came out and unfurled a huge flag for the National Anthem which was sung by Placido Domingo.  His rendition was awesome!

As soon as the National Anthem was over, there was a fly-over by a Stealth Bomber and there was a release of Doves.

Both teams during the National Anthem

Up next was the Ceremonial First Pitch.  Everyone knew it was going to be Fernando Valenzuela but the way the Dodgers presented it was great!  Vin Scully was introduced and while video highlights played Jerry Reuss was introduced and came out to the mound.  Vin talked about how Reuss was scheduled to be the Opening Day starter in 1981 but was injured.  Vin mentioned how Burt Hooten would've been next in the rotation but he was hurt also.  Vin introduced Tommy Lasorda and Tommy waddled his way out to the mound.  Once Tommy got there, Vin explained how Tommy made the decision in 1981 to go with the unknown young lefty Fernando Valenzuela.  I was laughing as I watched Tommy take the ball from Reuss, turn to the Dodger dugout and tap his left arm.  Next, Vin introduced Fernando Valenzuela and El Toro came out to the mound, took the ball and delivered a high strike to Reuss for the Ceremonial First Pitch.  It was also funny to see Fernando trying to convince Tommy to let him throw the pitch from the front of the mound but Tommy insisted he throw the pitch from the rubber.

Once all the hoopla was over, Clayton Kershaw delivered a first pitch strike and the season was underway!  I will give my thoughts on the game later and i'm sure most everyone knows the Dodgers got the 2-1 victory.

Here's a pic of the cars driving in through the Sunset entrance, a picture of the Playbill for this homestand and the magnet schedule that was given out.

True to the Blue!

P.S. Yes, I tried a Doyer Dog and they are good! Yes, they played Don't Stop Believin' in the Bottom of the 8th and Jameson Moss was there once again, this time standing on top of the Dodger Dugout and using Tommy Lasorda to point at a Dodger cap at the end of the song.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can We Put The Ethier Drama To Rest?

Trust me, when I Andre Ethier's comments about not being with the Dodgers next year, I shook my head and no doubt thought his timing was horrible.  Really? Two days before Opening Day?! However, the more I thought about it, I remembered that Ethier is under team control until after the 2012 season.  I just shrugged it off and chalked it up to a young athlete speaking his mind with microphones & recorders pushed in his face.

Today on the way home from work I was listening to AM710 ESPN's Mason & Ireland Show.  I'm usually not a fan of the Evil 4-Letter (ESPN) but Mason & Ireland were set to interview Dodger GM Ned Colletti.  They asked Colletti about the length of spring training (Ned says it's too long) and signing Billingsley to the extension.  Next they asked him about Ethier's comments.  Ned's reply included the following quotes:

"I was a little bit surprised by it but you know, I love the kid..."

"He's one of our leaders and one of the guys we look to and that's all I got to say about it..."

"In '06, in the month of September he struggled a little bit, it was his rookie year and he was talking about maybe I'm gonna get traded, maybe this, maybe that.  You know, i know he's...obviously he's still here and he's one of our...he hits in the middle of our line-up, he's one of our key guys and I don't have any interest in moving him, trading him, anything."

After hearing this portion of the interview I was curious as to what Ethier's quote/statement was in '06.  I did a little research and came across this Dodger Report by Ken Bolch of the L.A. Times.  The report was from September 23, 2006. 

Here's what Ethier had to say:

"I don't know if I'm going to be here next year or not, It's pretty obvious by the way the last couple of weeks have been going."

At the time of the quote then Dodger Manager, Grady Little, was giving Marlon Anderson most of the starts in right field.  Colletti's response was similar to his response today:

"I plan to have him here. He's got a long, good future ahead of him in L.A."

In his statements recently he also alluded to the Dodgers non-tendering Russell Martin and that the team might do the same to him.  To put this in perspective, I dug up an old interview from October 3, 2006.  The interview was from the L.A. Times Blue Notes blog run by the Kamenetzky before they left for the Evil 4-Letter website.  One thing Ethier touched on was his closeness with Russell Martin:

"The first time I met him was this last offseason in Phoenix during the fall league. We happen to have the same agent and he was in town working out. He wasn't playing in the fall league at the time, I was playing on the team with the Dodgers. We happened to have a little get-together and he was there with my agent and we got together and talked for about 10 or 20 minutes. That was the last time we talked until I came in for spring training. We were teammates all of a sudden. Then we became close because we were in spring training and roommates in Vegas."

Maybe Russell Martin being non-tendered and eventually signing with the Yankees hurt Ethier personally. 
Since Ethier is under team control until after 2012 and since his agent released a statement today basically saying Ethier wants to stay in L.A., can we please put this crazy talk to rest?  Does Ethier need to hit left handed pitching better? Of course! Should he just shut up & play? Yes! However, let's not get carried away.  Opening Day is tomorrow and we have a brand new season to look forward to!

If you'd like to listen to the entire Ned Colletti interview you can listen at ESPNRadio
Ned went on to talk about not wanting to sign a free agent left fielder unless the money & years were just right because Jerry Sands is probably only one year away.

True to the Blue!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More on the Doyer Dog

It turns out that the new Doyer Dog was the creation of Dodger Stadium Executive Chef Joseph Martin.  Check out the video from KCAL9 and see how the Doyer Dog is made.  The video also shows the new Doyer Fries.  You can watch the video here: Doyer Dog & Doyer Fries

Only two more days until opening day!
True to the Blue!

Tuesday Web Round-Up - Vin Scully, Ethier, Billingsley

T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times showed his softer side with this great article on Vin Scully.

Jon Weisman over at Dodger Thoughts via the Associate Press, takes a look at some interesting post game comments made by Andre Ethier.  Are his days as a Dodger numbered?

Evan over at OpinionofKingmansPerformance takes a closer look at the 2011 San Francisco Giants in the last of his four part series. opinionofkingmansperformance

DodgerBobble lobbies for Chad Billingsley to be the Dodgers 6th and final Bobblehead of the season on August 9th. dodgerbobble  I have to agree with DB, I think Billingsley deserves it.

True to the Blue! 



Monday, March 28, 2011

Debut of the Doyer Dog

I watched Fox 11 News reporter Rick Lozano do a remote from Dodger Stadium on Good Day L.A., while I was getting ready for work this morning and I heard him mention a Doyer Dog.  I waited until they went to him again later in the show but he didn't mention it during his next report.  However, according to nbclosangeles the Doyer Dog will make its debut tonight at Dodger Stadium.  The Doyer Dog will be sold at Camacho's stands in the stadium and will consist of an all-beef Dodger Dog, chili, nacho cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions & jalapenos.  I don't know what to think of this but I guess this is another reason the Dodgers trademarked "Doyers" and "Los Doyers".  I don't know if I will try the official Doyer Dog on Opening Day.  Also, Canter's Deli will be replaced by Dodgertown Deli.

Still no word if they will stop playing "Don't Stop Believin" in the bottom of the 8th.  The team sent out a survey a few months back asking mini-plan holders & season ticket holders what they thought.  I guess we'll find out tonight or on Opening Day.

If anyone is going out to tonight's exhibition game against the Angels, let me know if they play "Don't Stop Believin" and/or let me know if you try a Doyer Dog.

True to the Blue!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Web Round-Up

The Dodgers break camp today and will be heading back to L.A. to get ready for opening day on Thursday.

Here are some links from around the web:

Davey Lopes talks about being back with the Dodger organization after 30 years

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports interviews Clayton Kershaw about the upcoming season

Fox Sports' Kevin Kennedy discusses Kemp's & Ethier's roles with the ballclub

Evan takes a look at the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks @ opinionofkingmansperformance

True to the Blue!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Spring Training Trip - Day 2 Part 2 - Autographs

Before the game against the Chi Sox on Sunday, C.J. & I had the opportunity to get into the park early and have breakfast up on the Legends Deck of the main field.  After breakfast we had the opporunity to meet Dodger great and 1962 NL MVP Maury Wills.  There were a few other people around so we didn't get to the chance to chat with Maury too much.  However, he did sign a ball for me.

While others were taking advantage of the meet & greet C.J. & I headed down to the field to watch the Dodgers take batting practice.  The stadium gates were not open yet so there were only a few people in the stadium at the time.

Check out Donnie Baseball keeping a close eye on James Loney at 1st base

Here's Matt Kemp taking his swings during BP

Here is a picture of Andre Ethier getting his swings in

James Loney getting tips from hitting coach Jeff Pentland

After his group was done Ethier headed into the dugout to get his glove so he could shag balls in the outfield.  Just as he got to the dugout we asked if he could sign some stuff for us.

Andre signing C.J.'s LA Times Magazine

Just after he signed my ball

C.J.'s autographed magazine...we'll just say she was extremely happy for the rest of the day!

Here's my baseball...C.J. kept pointing out that her autograph said "Think Blue!"

We both had Matt Kemp & James Loney autographs and didn't want to be greedy so C.J. got her picture taken with Loney.  She didn't want me to put it up on the blog though.  She didn't like the way she looked. Women!! haha.

The trip itself was a lot of fun.  We'll see if I can make it out there again next year.  I will post more pics and some pics from my trip last year too.

If you haven't seen this blog yet, you have to check it out.  Evan has as great story from when he got to meet Sweet Lou Johnson at Camelback the other day. Check it out opinionofkingmansperformance

Also check out Alan's new Dodger blog The90090

True to the Blue!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Spring Training Trip - Day 2 Sunday March 20th - Part 1

Click here for my post on Day 1 of the trip.

On Sunday March 20th the Dodgers took on the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.  John Ely got the start against the Chi Sox and struck out 5 batters in his 5 innings of work.  Andre Ethier went 2-3 and Matt Kemp blasted his 4th homerun of the spring.  The Blue got the 9-7 victory and the Dodger fans at Camelback left the park happy.

Here are a few pics from the game:

Andre Ethier working his Easton glove

Ethier getting in a pre-game jog

Matt Kemp heading into the Dugout

Davey Lopes coming over to sign autographs

Andre Ethier digging in at the plate

Matt Kemp digging in

Andre Ethier smoking a line drive

Matt Kemp about to cross home after his homerun

Check back for Day 2 Part 2

True to the Blue!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Spring Training Trip - Day 1 Saturday March 19th

For the second year in a row, I made the trip out to Camelback Ranch to watch the Boys in Blue up close & personal.  I made the trip out to the desert with my girl C.J.  This was her first spring training trip so she was looking forward to it.  We arrived late Friday evening and hit Camelback Ranch early Saturday morning.  We headed out to the practice fields and watched as the Dodger pitchers took fielding practice.  They were working on fielding bunts and making pick off throws.  I had to laugh a little when I saw Ted Lilly walking to the field with a bat in hand like he was batting clean up.

After watching the pitchers work out we entered the Stadium because a majority of the everyday players weren't out on the practice fields.  Once inside we noticed long lines down for of the aisles as fans were lining up for autographs.  At the bottom of each line there was a representative from the Red Cross with a big bucket taking monetary donations for the Tsunami/Earthquake Relief Fund.  Also at the bottom of each line were 2-3 Dodger playes signing autographs.  Several minor leaguers participated as well as Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, James Loney & Andre Ethier.  Not being big fans of lines C.J. & I decided to pass but we watched as the Camelback staff kept the lines orderly and moving.  The line closest to us had Andre Ethier signing autographs for most of the 1 hour period.

Most of the players stopped signing at 12:30 and headed in to the clubhouse to get ready for game time.  To his credit, even though the public address announcer made several announcements that the signing was over, Andre kept signing & signing.  He didn't stop signing until about 12:50 p.m.

At 1:05, the Dodgers took on the Brewers with Hiroki Kuroda getting the start against former Dodger Randy Wolf.  Most of the Dodger regulars got the day off and the game ended in a 6-6 tie after 10 innings.

Check back for Day 2 of my Spring Training Trip.

True to the Blue!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hiroki Kuroda & Tsunami in Japan

Respect to everyone that made it out to Dodger Stadium yesterday to make a donation to aid the relief efforts in Japan.  Hopefully, they can begin their recovery and rebuilding soon.

Hiroki Kuroda talks about the tsunami on

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sweet Lou Johnson Appearance @ Frank & Son

Today from 11:30 am to 12:30 former Los Angeles Dodger Sweet Lou Johnson made an autograph appearance at the Frank & Son Collectible Show.  Johnson was a member of the Dodgers 1965 World Series Championship team.  Legend has it that in the fourth inning of game 7 of the '65 World Series, Johnson told Sandy Koufax that he would get him the only run he would need to win the game.  When Johnson came up to bat in the fourth inning, he hit a homerun off the left field foul pole to follow through on his promise to Koufax.  The Dodgers won Game 7 behind Koufax's complete game shut out, 2-0.

I arrived at the signing at around 11:30 and headed to the autograph pavillion.  Sweet Lou was already seated and there was a line of about 12 people waiting for the signing to get started.  Lou was very chatty and was greeting people as they came up to get his autograph.  I had him sign a ball to add to my collection.  Overall it was a very quick moving line and Lou was personalizing and adding inscriptions to his autograph if it was requested.  Once again I want to give a shout out to David who I met at the Rick Fox signing a couple weeks back, it was good seeing you again.

Take a look at the pics:

True to the Blue!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Training & Spring Cleaning

Spring Training

Take a look at Steve Lyons' Spring Training Preview of the Dodger infield fox sports west

Here's Lyons' take on the 2011 bullpen fox sports west has an excellent series of articles about how tough it is to make it to The Show.  They have posted 7 different articles on 7 players that have had different levels of success in their attempt to make a major league roster.  Some are established major leaguer's, some have never made it out of the minors and some have been up & down.  Check out Bob Harkins' piece of Dodger 1st baseman John Lindsey

Spring Cleaning

Ok I was going  through some more of my Dodger stuff last night and came across an extra poster from last year's 70's Night.  It features James Loney & Casey Blake.  It can be all yours as part of my second contest.  The first person who e-mails me a picture of themselves sporting their Dodger gear gets the poster.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One More Nod to The Duke & a Rick Fox Signing

In talking with my dad this weekend the topic of Duke Snider came up.  My dad was looking back fondly on one of his favorite Dodgers when he mentioned the Duke Snider baseball card he bought me back in the late 80's.  So I pulled out my stash of old school Dodger baseball cards and pulled out my 1961 Topps #443 Duke Snider card.
The borders are uneven but the corners are in decent condition.  Definitely one of my favorite baseball cards.

When I started my blog last month I said its content would be 99% Dodgers and occassionally the other 1% would be dedicated to some Lakers or Rams topics.  Well, here is my first non-Dodger related post.  To make myself feel better and not as guilty, I found a picture of 3x NBA Champion Rick Fox sporting a Dodgers jersey.

This past Saturday March 5, 2011, former Laker great Rick Fox made a free autograph appearance at the Living Spaces in Monrovia.  The signing was scheduled from 10am to 12pm so I made sure to get up early and got there two hours before the signing was supposed to begin.  As with the Hershiser signing last week, the Living Spaces staff passed out wrist bands about 45 minutes before the signing was to begin.  I was lucky #99 another Dodger connection!  A few mintues before 10am, they moved everyone into the store and even provided soft drinks and water to the people in line.  We were told Rick was running late but at least Vic The Brick from AM570 was there to keep the crowd entertained.  Rick arrived around 10:20 and started signing.  I will say that the line was definitely slow moving as Rick was taking time to chat and pose for pictures with anyone who asked.  After about 40 minutes, I made it to Rick but my camera was acting up so no pictures for me.  It really doesn't matter because I was happy with my autograph! He signed my game ball that was already signed by Derek Fisher and Robert Horry.

Take a look -

Much respect to the Living Spaces staff for keeping things orderly. I also want to give a shout out to a couple people I met in line and made the time go by quicker. It was nice to meet George & his family and it was good talking with David.  Hope you've checked out the blog David. I'm sure i'll be seeing you at future signings.

True to the Blue!

Upcoming Player Appearance - "Sweet" Lou Johnson - UPDATE

A few weeks ago, I shared the information on Sweet Lou's appearance here

At the time, his appearance time had not be determined.  However, we now know his appearance will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

True to the Blue!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Andre Ethier Action Figure

For those of you that collect action figures and/or sports figurines, the McFarlane MLB Playmakers Series 2 action figures have been released and are available now.  This series includes the following 10 players: Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Stephen Strasburg, Johan Santana, Joe Mauer, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Andre Ethier.  These action figures are poseable and come in either a batting or fielding pose.  However, Derek Jeter and Andre Ethier are available in both a fielding and hitting version.

I'm not quite sure if it looks like Andre but if you are a collector of these action figures, i'm sure you will be adding it to your collection.  Here are some pics of the Ethier figure:

Ethier will also have a figure when McFarlane MLB 28 is released later this summer.  Check out my post from last month here

Friday, March 4, 2011

Duke & Russell J.

I forgot to share my story of meeting Russell Martin in my earlier post

Last spring my friend A.D. and I made our first trip to Camelback Ranch for Dodger spring training.  Before the Saturday game we were part of a tour of the facility.  While the tour did not include a tour of the locker room or offices we did get to go inside the ropes that separate the fans from the main practice field.  We got a few autographs, took some pics with players and got to watch batting practice on the main field.  I'll save those stories for a later post.

On our way to the practice field we got to walk on the same path that the players do.  The very first player out was Russell Martin.  While A.D. was busy watching Joe Torre talk to the media, I quietly approached Russell with ball in hand and asked him to sign it.  He graciously signed my ball and headed to the practice field.  He didn't appear to be in the mood for idle chit-chat but I wished him well and thanked him for signing my ball.

Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times blogged about the Dodgers wearing a patch to honor Duke Snider.  Dilbeck stated it will be only the 6th time in the Dodgers' 121-year history that they have worn a memorial patch.

Here's a picture of the ball the Duke of Flatbush signed for me back in the early 90's, almost positive it was 1991.  I was still in high school and it was early on in my memorabilia collecting life.  It wasn't an official ball so the signature came out very light on the "u" and the "s" but it was the 3rd Dodger autograph I ever got so I never ever wanted to replace it with a better autograph on an official ball.  I will always remember meeting Duke at "The National" convention in Anaheim. 

Russell Martin Adjusting To Not Being A Dodger

Tim Brown of yahoo sports has an interesting article linked here

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Web Round-Up

News from around the web:

Tommy Lasorda discusses the passing of Duke Snider Fox Sports West

Ethier, Kemp & Kershaw model the throwback jerseys Fox Sports West

Dylan Hernandez reports that the first 4 spots in the lineup are set L.A. Times

James Loney is focused on hitting Fox Sports West