Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bobblehead of the Day: Manny Ramirez #2, The Curtain Call Bobblehead

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Now that Manny Ramirez has been traded to the Chicago White Sox, I probably won't get too many more opportunities to talk about his bobbleheads.

I've already posted Manny's first Dodger bobblehead, the one given away on July 22, 2009. That night, Manny wasn't in the starting line-up because of his sore left hand. With the score tied 2-2 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, starting pitcher Chad Billingsley was removed for a pinch-hitter. That pinch-hitter was Manny. With the crowd chanting his name, he came up to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw  into the "Mannywood" section in left field. A grand slam on his bobblehead night. It was dubbed the "BobbleSlam" game.

Dodger Stadium was going crazy. The fans wanted a curtain call.  Manny was forced out of the dugout to acknowledge the crowd. He walked up the dugout steps and raised his pine tar-covered helmet to the fans. This was the inspiration for the fourth and final bobblehead given away in 2009, the Manny Ramirez "Curtain Call" bobblehead.

On September 16, 2009 the Dodgers gave away Manny Ramirez "Curtain Call" bobbleheads to the first 50,000 fans in attendance. Presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, the bobble was made by P Squared Promotions. This was the fourth and final bobblehead given away that season. The other three were Casey Blake(5/20) Manny Ramirez #1(7/22) and Matt Kemp(8/19).

The Dodgers played the Pittsburgh Pirates that day. It was a day game that started at 12:10. Hiroki Kuroda was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers, Kevin Hart for the Pirates. The Dodgers won the game 3-1, with Kuroda getting the win and Jonathan Broxton the save.

Let's take a look at the Curtain Call Bobblehead:

pine tar-covered helmet


how to screw in the arm

There are so many different opinions on Manny Ramirez. Some Dodger fans loved him, some hated him. I for one loved what Manny did here in LA. Yes, I was upset when he was suspended 50 game for using PEDs. But there were plenty of great times too.

I remember how excited I was when I found out Manny was coming to Los Angeles. There was finally a superstar playing in Hollywood. After coming to the Dodgers, Manny had two of the greatest months ever, hitting .396 with 17 home run and 53 RBI. He led the Dodgers to an NL West title and NLDS sweep over the Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers first playoff series win since 1988. The Dodgers would eventually lose the National League Championship Series to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. In the 2008 playoffs, Manny hit .520 with 4 home runs, 2 doubles, 11 walks and 10 RBI.

Manny started 2009 blazing hot. Through May 6, he was batting .348 with six homers and 20 RBIs in the first 27 games. Then news broke that Manny had been suspended for 50 games for using PEDs. Manny wouldn't be back in Dodger blue until Fourth of July weekend. The Dodgers were in San Diego that weekend playing the Padres. Thousands of Dodger fans made the trip down to Petco to see the game. That's how much love Dodger fans had for Manny. Later that month we would get the bobbleslam game, a game I won't ever forget.

If anything, Manny brought excitement to Los Angeles, something we hadn't seen in a long time. Maybe he'll do the same thing while in Chicago. Good luck Manny.

Monday, August 30, 2010

BobbleSlam Memories

Manny had many memorable moments as a member of the Dodgers. Here's my favorite, the grand slam on his bobblehead night. Click below to watch.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mannywood No More

According to Tony Jackson at ESPNLosAngeles.com, Manny will be headed to the White Sox Monday. Because the White Sox will be getting Ramirez on a waiver claim, they will be on the hook for the remainder of Ramirez's $ 4.3 million salary.

Manny didn't start the last four games, so we all knew this was coming. Manny's last appearance in Dodger blue was him pinch-hitting in the sixth inning of Sunday's 10-5 loss to the Rockies. After seeing one pitch, which was called a strike, Manny argued the call, and was ejected from the game. There's been a lot of talk that he did it on purpose because he knew he was on his way out. Just Manny being Manny.

Word on the deal is trickling in. Sports Illustrated writer, Jon Heyman, tweets;

I think Frank McCourt would love to get some salary relief. But some talent in return would be nice.

I'd like to say it was great having Manny in LA for the last two seasons. Mannywood was something I'll never forget. I was at the BobbleSlam game. It's a game I can tell my grandchildren about. You can read about the game and the bobblehead here.

I'll be posting updates on this throughout the night.


Former Dodger farmhand, Josh Bell, now with the Baltimore Orioles, hit an opposite-field homerun in last night's Angels/Orioles game. His third on the year. The kid is strong, that's for sure. Can the Dodgers send George Sherrill back to Baltimore? Steve Melewski at MASN's On the Orioles takes a look at Bell, and likes what he sees in the short time he's been with Baltimore. Although he does feel Josh is a work in progress, and could be back in AAA next year to work on a few things.

Still ,after seeing Bell hit that homerun last night, I couldn't help but get upset that he's in an Orioles uniform, and not playing in AAA Albuquerque, awaiting a Dodger call-up.

I hate Ned Colletti.

Click image below to see the homerun.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Win Streak Ends, Dodger News, Notes And History

The four game-winning streak came to an end tonight, as the Dodgers lost 5-3 to the Colorado Rockies. Starter Chad Billingsley had a rough night going 6 innings and giving up 3 earned runs. He walked five Rockies and struck out NONE. Bills gave up a solo homerun to Todd Helton in the 6th inning, ending an MLB-leading 92-inning stretch without allowing a homerun.

After scoring 23 runs in the last four games, the Dodger offense failed to show up tonight. A two-run homerun by catcher Rod Barajas with two outs in the ninth came too late.

Manny Ramirez was not in the starting line-up again for the third straight game. Joe Torre says the benching has nothing to do with a deal the Dodgers have in place with the White Sox, who claimed Manny off the waiver wire on Friday. So why is the best hitter on the team being benched?

"This is just my dumb move. There is no reason I can give you that makes sense. A lot of what I do is a feel thing."

Yeah right. Manny appeared as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and struck out.

In other Dodger news:

Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White is expected to be a candidate for the Arizona Diamondbacks general manager position.

Carlos Monasterios will make one more start Tuesday night against the Phillies in place of Vicente Padilla.

Russell Martin is expected to have his broken right hip rescanned next week to determine if the fracture is healing properly.

Frank McCourt gives away 40,000 Dodgers tickets to LAPD officers. TJ Simers questions his generosity.

This Day In Dodger History:

August 28, 2002
Eric Gagne, who at the beginning of the 2002 season wasn't even sure if he was going to make the ballclub, notches his 45th save, setting a franchise record and earning a bottle of Dom Perignon autographed by each Dodger teammate.

"It's kind of weird, seeing a little Canadian in the record books for a Dodger," said Gagne. "I'm proud to be in it."

Gagne moves past Todd Worrell, having already bested Jeff Shaw. He has more in a season than Ron Perranoski or Mike Marshall or Jay Howell or Steve Howe.
"It shouldn't be just my name on it, it should be the whole team," said Gagne.

Although Gagne broke the record with a flourish, striking out the side in the 9th inning, preserving a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium for starter Odlis Perez. The 26-year-old also made it exciting by allowing a single and a four-pitch walk.

"I was just thinking, 'Don't blow it for Odalis,'" he said.

Gagne would save seven more games in 2002, giving him a total of 52 for the season.

You can see Eric Gagne's 2004 Dodger Stadium bobblehead here.

AUGUST 28, 1977:

Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey enjoys a monstrous night against the St. Louis Cardinals, collecting three doubles and a pair of home runs – including a grand slam – as he piles up 14 total bases in an 11-0 victory. Garvey, who scores five times and drives in five runs, falls one base shy of the Los Angeles Dodger single-game record for total bases set by Davey Lopes on Aug. 20, 1974. His standout performance helps the first-place Dodgers maintain their 8 ½-game lead in the National League West. The dependable Garvey went on to enjoy one of the best seasons of his career, batting .297 with 33 homers and 115 RBI while helping the Dodgers to the N. L. Western Division title and an appearance in the World Series.

You can see Steve Garvey's Dodger Stadium bobblehead here.

The Dodgers Party Animials

Just saw these guys on MLB.com, Lil' Teammates Party Animal pitchers and batters. They come in 28 different teams, including the Dodgers, and are about 3 inches tall. They're not bobbleheads, but they're still pretty cool looking. At only $9.99 I think I'll pick them both up. You can purchase them here and here.

Dodgers Win Four Straight And Other News

Dodgers win four in a row. Clayton Kershaw pitched another gem. He outdueled Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez, going 6 innings, while giving up one run on 5 hits and two walks and striking out six. His only blemish was a second inning homerun he gave up to Todd Helton. Kershaw finally had his first 1-2-3 first inning of the year.

The Dodgers offense keeps rolling as they scored six runs tonight. That's four games in a row now that the Dodgers have scored five or more runs. The offensive hero tonight was the Beard, Casey Blake, who hit his fifth career grand slam tonight off of Colorado reliever Matt Belisle. That gave the Dodgers a 5-1 lead, and they wouldn't look back. Matt Kemp knocked in one more run in the ninth inning as the Dodgers went on to win 6-2.

In other Dodgers news:

The Chicago White Sox file a waiver claim on Manny Ramirez.
Ted Lilly is the latest Dodgers player to be placed on waivers.
Frank McCourt gives 40,000 Dodgers tickets to LAPD officers.
The Dodgers will celebrate team photographer Jon Soo Hoo for 25 years of service.
Joe Torre's wearing an "In Beard We Trust" shirt from theLFP.com. You can order a shirt here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bobblehead of the Day: Luc Robitaille

Not all of my bobbleheads are Dodgers, or even baseball players for that matter. I've got a lot of non-Dodger nodders in the collection as well. Back in April, as the Lakers were about to start their championship run against the Oklahoma City Thunder, I posted my Chick Hearn bobblehead. On Wednesday, the Kings announced their national TV schedule, so it got me thinking about my ONE Kings bobblehead, former Los Angeles Kings Left Winger, Luc Robitaille.

Currently the Kings President of Business Operations, Robitaille played in Los Angeles  in three different stints, first from 1986 to 1994 then from 1997 to 2001 and finally from 2003 to 2006. He is the Kings all-time leader in goals scored with 557. He also ranks second all-time in games played(1,077), second in points(1,154) and fourth in assists(597). Luc is also the highest scoring Left Winger in NHL history with 1,394 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 9, 2009. You can check out his Wiki here.

On December 5, 2009, the Kings honored Luc Robitaille for his induction into the Hall of Fame before the  game during an on-ice ceremony and throughout the game. The Kings also honored Robitaille with a special Hockey Hall of Fame bobblehead. Presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, this bobblehead was  made by Globe Promotions and was given away to all fans in attendance. It was also the first time the Kings had ever given away a bobblehead. It has a removable hockey stick and features Robitaille in the old school purple and gold uniform he wore as a rookie. It also has the Hockey Hall of Fame seal on the stand.

Let's take a look:

Purple and Gold uni

Number 20

Removable stick

Hall of Fame seal

It's my only hockey bobblehead, but not my last. I am searching for a Wayne Gretzky to add to the collection. Luc is one of my favorite hockey players of all time. I also have his autograph and hundreds of his hockey cards, but I'll post those at another time.

Wake Up!

Wake up Dodger fans! We've got an early game today, an 11:10 start to be exact. Carlos Monasterios, who is 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA, will take the mound for the Dodgers, who are going for a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers. Monk went 4 1/3 innings in his last start and took a loss. I'd like to see him go longer than 4 1/3. Joe Torre just doesn't seem to have trust in Monasterios going deeper into a game. Monasterios will be facing Yovani Gallardo, who is 11-5 with 3.28 ERA.

The Dodger offense has put up 5 runs in back to back games. If they have any thoughts of making the playoffs, they need to keep up the scoring. The Dodgers, who have no chance at catching San Diego in the NL West, are now only 5.5 games out in the Wild Card hunt.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dodgers Down Brew Crew

The Dodger offense came alive for the second game in a row, as the boys in blue beat the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday night.  The Dodgers were led by Manny Ramirez, who went 2 for 2 with two walks, two doubles, one run scored and one RBI. That RBI gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead, and they didn't give it back, going on to win by the same score. It was reported earlier in the day that Manny had been placed on waivers by the Dodgers.

Hiroki Kuroda, who was also reported as being placed on waivers, had a nice night on the mound. Hiro went seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out six. He did not walk any Brewers.

Andre Ethier got the Dodger offense started, hitting a solo homerun in the third inning, his 2oth on the year.

Jonathan Broxton shut down the Brewers in the eighth inning. Joe Torre then used Ronald Belisario, George Sherrill and Octavio Dotel for one batter each in the ninth inning, with Dotel earning his 22nd save on the year.

Manny Ramirez and Hiroki Kuroda weren't the only Dodgers placed on waivers. It's being reported that Casey Blake, Scott Podsednik and Jay Gibbons were also placed on waivers as well.

Mannywood Flies At Long Beach Flugtag

This past Saturday, the Red Bull Flugtag event was held in Long Beach harbor. 36 teams attempted to "fly" their crafts off of a 30-foot flight deck. The human-powered flying machines are always very imaginative, and this weekend's contestants were no exception.

There was one Dodger-related team, Team Mannywood, a group of five friends from Santa Clarita, who built a giant Manny Ramirez helmet, complete with dreadlocks and cans of Red Bull attached to the sides.

What they made was pretty impressive, although I can't say as much for their actual attempt at flying. It was fun to watch though.
Here they are putting everything together:

Here's the performance:

You can read about Team Mannywood here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LA Times Columnist Catches A JetHawks Game

Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine took a trip to Lancaster a couple of weeks ago to catch a JetHawks game. It was actually the same game I attended, which was also my first minor league game. I had a great time. He seemed to have a great time at the game too. Erskine gives us all the details on the JetHawks. Here's a bit of what Erskine had to say:

Lancaster's the place, and here we find a plucky little Class-A team, the JetHawks. Best of all, we find baseball devoid of ego and excess and all the other trappings that sometimes churn your Cheerios.

That's right, Lancaster — last gas before Nevada. Basically, you drive until you start seeing trailer parks and mules. When the L.A. radio stations get all fuzzy, hang a left. That's Clear Channel Stadium, ironically enough. Locals also call it the Hangar.

It's a gem of a little stadium too, as many of these minor league parks are. For 13 bucks, you get the very best ticket and all the slices of Americana you could ever devour.

He's right. I felt like I was surrounded by real baseball fans, people who cared more about what was happening on the field  rather than what was on their cell phones. I was amazed to see some of the players talking to the fans. How cool is that?

Erskine then goes on to talk about what you're getting for your money:

In fact, carve 40 bucks out of your late-August budget and here's what you'll get during an evening for two in the California League

2 tickets behind the plate
Chicken sandwich
Large soft drink
2 game programs
A free comic book for the kid

Plenty, right? But that doesn't even begin to capture the experience. The F-18 flyover to start the game, so low you could almost high-five the pilot.
If you go on the right day, you can even get a bobblehead. I would recommend a trip to Lancaster to anyone in search of some good baseball, and a good time at a low cost. You can check out the JetHawks website here. Hat tip to Tom on the LA Times piece.

Barajas makes Debut In Blue, Dodgers Win

The Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 tonight. This is what happens when the Dodger offense actually gives the starting pitcher some run support. They got that run support from a guy making his Dodger debut, Rod Barajas.What a night for the newest Dodger. He went 3 for 4 with a homerun, two doubles and three RBI.

Ted Lilly continues his hot Dodger start. He went 6 1/3 innings tonight, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out two Brewers. Lilly improves to 5-0 with an era of 1.84 as a member of the Dodgers.

Then there's Matt Kemp. The Bison crushed a 447-foot homerun tonight off of Milwaukee starter Dave Bush. The ball actually got lodged in the scoreboard! It was Kemp's 22nd homerun on the year and his third straight game hitting one out.

Hong Chih-Kuo earned his fifth save of the year after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bobblehead of the Day: Paul LoDuca

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Today we're gonna take a look at Paul LoDuca's Dodger Stadium bobblehead. Popular amongst Dodger fans, including myself, LoDuca came to Los Angeles in June of 1998, after spending eight years in the minors. He was known as a contact hitter, and his best season came in 2001, when he hit .320 with 25 homeruns and 90 RBI.  In 2003, he had a 25-game hitting streak, which is the second longest in Dodgers history. He was also named to four All-Star teams. Check out LoDuca's Wiki here.

At the 2004 trade deadline, LoDuca, along with Guillermo Mota and Juan EncarnaciĆ³n, was traded from the Dodgers to the Florida Marlins for Brad Penny, Hee-Seop Choi and pitching prospect Bill Murphy. There were a lot of unhappy Dodger fans after the trade was made.

LoDuca's on-field accomplishments are considered a result of PEDs. In 2007, he was connected to Human Growth Hormones in the Mitchell Report. The Mitchell report also claims that Lo Duca introduced several other Dodgers to HGH, including Eric Gagne. I was saddened to hear this, but I know it was a big part of baseball at the time.

On Friday, May 31, 2002, the Dodgers gave away Paul LoDuca bobbleheads to all fans in attendance. Presented by US Bank, this bobble was made by BD&A. It was the first of three bobbleheads given away in 2002. The other two were Shawn Green(7/18) and Hideo Nomo(8/24).

The Dodgers played the Arizona Diamondbacks that night, and lost 6-3.  Omar Daal started for the Dodgers, Randy Johnson for Arizona, with Johnson taking the win. LoDuca went o for 4 on his bobblehead night.

The bobblehead:

This is a pretty basic bobblehead. It looks a bit like LoDuca. What I do like is him holding his catchers mask. It's not as cool as the LoDuca bobblehead the Mets gave away in 2007. His mask was removable.