Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dodgers And Quakes Announce Two-Year Deal

From the Dodgers' Press Release:

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes today announced the signing of a two-year player development contract that will make the Quakes the Dodgers' affiliate in the Single-A California League for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

The two clubs will hold a public celebration featuring Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda and other Dodger personalities from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. one week from today, Tuesday, October 5, at the Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga.

"We feel like the move to Rancho not only brings our High A partner closer to Dodger Stadium, but is a strong fit for our organizational goals," said Dodger Assistant General Manager De Jon Watson. "We're excited to partner with Brett Sports and look forward to a long-lasting relationship."

The 2011 season will be the Quakes' 19th year playing in Rancho Cucamonga, which is located just 46 miles east of Dodger Stadium. Rancho Cucamonga has made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and won its only California League title in 1994. The franchise is owned by Brett Sports, which is led by Hall of Famer George Brett and his brothers Bobby and John, and had previously been affiliated with the Angels from 2001-2010.

"The Dodgers are one of the most prestigious teams in all of sports and we are excited to begin our partnership with them in Rancho Cucamonga," said Quakes Managing Partner Bobby Brett.

The Dodgers have enjoyed a California League affiliate for all but six years (2001-2006) since 1963 with teams in San Bernardino, Bakersfield, Lodi and Santa Barbara. Los Angeles' previous California League affiliate was the Inland Empire 66ers from 2007-10.

The agreement with Rancho Cucamonga finalizes the Dodgers' seven affiliates for the 2011 season to include Triple-A Albuquerque, Double-A Chattanooga, Single-A Great Lakes, Rookie-advanced Ogden and two Rookie-level clubs in Glendale, Arizona and Santo Domingo.

If it's a little closer, maybe I'll get to one or two Quakes games next year. I never attended a game in the IE, but I did get to see the 66er's play in Lancaster earlier this year against the JetHawks.

With the Dodgers moving to Rancho Cucamonga, it looks as though the Angels Single-A affiliate will move to the Inland Empire and the Reds Single-A affiliate will take over for the Rangers in Bakersfield.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Around The Blogosphere

A couple of blog posts that caught my eye today:

Any fans of  HBO's 'Eastbound & Down'? How about a talking Kenny Powers bobblehead to put on your shelf?  Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News gives us a first look at a couple of Kenny Powers bobbleheads produced by a company called Bif Bang Pow! that are coming out  just in time for the holidays.

From Big League Stew, Preston Mattingly, son of soon-to-be Dodger manager Don Mattingly, has been shipped off to Cleveland. After spending almost five seasons in the Dodgers minor league system, I think it's safe to say, the former 1st round draft pick is a bust.

From the Associated Press:

Preston Mattingly, the Dodgers' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, batted .218 with two homers and 17 RBIs at the Class-A level this season. He struck out 51 times in 165 at-bats.
The 23-year-old Mattingly bats and throws right-handed. His best season as a pro came in 2006, when he hit .290 with a home run and 29 RBIs for the Dodgers' rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League.
What a huge waste of a first round draft pick.

Anyone interested in some vintage cards? Ernest at Blue Heaven is selling off some of his collection. You'll see everything from T5 cabinets, 19th Century Baseball trade cards, 100+ year old vintage cards, boxing and much much more. Check it out.

Another great piece of work from Mike at the custom card has been making the rounds in the Dodger blogosphere. It cracks me up everytime I see it.

One last thing, I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite new blogs, Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger. I met Dutch Dodger on Facebook. He's a huge Dodger fan living in Holland. Yes, there are Dodger fans all over the world, even in Holland. He even has a nice bobblehead collection.  It's a great blog. Check it out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bobblehead Of The Day: Takashi Saito

Click here to purchase
It's been a while since I posted a "Bobblehead of the Day". I need to spread the Dodger Stadium SGA's out a little, or I'll be out of them real soon.

Up next is Takashi Saito. "Sammy" was a big surprise for Dodger fans in 2006. After reliever Yhency Brazoban was sidelined with Tommy John Surgery, and closer Eric Gagné went out with a back injury, Saito took over the closing role and instantly became one of baseball's best closers, ending the season with 24 saves, a 2.07 era, and striking out 107 batters. Those 24 saves broke a Dodger rookie record set by Brazoban a year earlier with 21.

In 2007, Saito became just the fourth Dodger to record 30+ saves in a season, ending the year with 39 total. He was also named to the National League All-Star team, pitching a scoreless inning in the Mid-Summer Classic.

Saito was a definitely a fan favorite here in LA. He was also very surprised when he found out he was recieving a bobblehead (which apparently they don't have in Japan?). Saito, on his bobblehead:
"I'm really surprised. When I first came here three years ago, I never dreamed of them making a bobblehead for myself. Everybody tells me it's a big time thing, so I'm very excited by that."
You can read the rest of Saito's bio here.

On Thursday, June 5, 2008, the Dodgers gave away Takashi Saito bobbleheads to the first 50,000 fans in attendance. Presented by, the bobblehead was made by P Squared Promos. This was the second of four bobbleheads given away in 2008. The other three were Joe Torre(April 25), Brad Penny(July 25), and Joe Beimel(August 12).

The Dodgers played the Chicago Cubs that night, losing 5-4. Chad Billingsley started for the Dodgers, Ryan Dempster for Chicago. Bob Howry, who was credited with a blown save, also won the game, Takashi Saito took the loss on his bobblehead night, giving up the winning run in the ninth inning.

Let's take a look at Sammy:

I like the look of this bobblehead. The stance is good and the features are OK. Takashi Saito was one of my favorite Dodgers. We were spoiled with Eric Gagne closing, and that continued with Saito. Jonathan Broxton has been disappinting in 2010, but I know we'll feel the same with the Ox too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

John Lindsey's Season Comes To An End

John Lindsey's season is over. He was hit in the left hand by a 92-mph Daniel Hudson fastball Saturday night. Lindsey, who has spent the last 16 years in the minor leagues, finally made it to the majors with the Dodgers as a September call-up.

X-rays revealed he had broken the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. It was placed in a soft splint and should heal in time for Spring Training.

As usual, John Lindsey stayed positive:

"I still have my faith.God has a special plan for me, leave it right there. The comeback will make for a better story. It's all good."
I'm sure this won't be the last time we see John Lindsey. He was one of the few good stories in this crappy Dodger season. Lindsey went 1 for 12 in his brief time with the Dodgers.

2010 Allen & Ginter Clayton Kershaw Auto

Clayton Kershaw had another great night on the mound. The Dodgers' ace went 8 innings tonight, giving up ONE run on four hits. He struck out nine D-Backs and walked none. Nowadays, the only way I can watch a Dodger game is when Kersh or Billingsley are starting. I can't get enough of these kids. In my opinion, two "Aces".

Which brings me to my latest ebay purchase. Last week I picked up three Kershaw's, including a 2010 Allen & Ginter auto card. After a few attempts at this card over the last few weeks, I finally got one. The auction also included a 2009 Bowman and a 2010 Topps 206 Kershaw, two cards I didn't have.

I'm happy I finally got the A&G auto. This is my second Kershaw autograph. The first one I got at an appearance last year. But that's a story for another day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Bison

Today is Matt Kemp's birthday. I would like to wish Matt a happy 26th birthday. Before he blows out the candles on his birthday cake, he should make a wish. That wish should be for a better season in 2011.

So, what would I like to see from Matt Kemp in 2011?

         In 2011, I want to see less of this:

And more of this:

No, I'm not blaming Kemp's disappointing season all on Rihanna. Could she have anything to do with his bad year? Maybe, but I think it would be unfair to blame it all on her. I'm just saying I want to see more stories come from his play on the field rather than what happens in his personal life.

Happy Birthday Bison.

On his birthday, I'd like to show Matt Kemp's bobbleheads. Matt has had two Dodger Stadium bobblehead giveaways. His first was in 2009. You can read about it here. The other was given away this season. You can read about that one here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Tommy Lasorda

Tommy turned 83 years-old today. 61 of those years have been spent with the Dodgers.

"I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I'm going to the big Dodger in the sky. "

Happy Birthday Tommy Lasorda!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bobblehead News

Some bobblehead news and notes on a quiet Monday night:

Reminder, the Dodgers will only hold TWO more Twitter Tuesday contests this season. They've been giving away Matt Kemp Gold Glove bobbleheads and Andre Ethier Silver Slugger bobbleheads all season long. Maybe they will offer those up as prizes these next two weeks. We'll have to wait and see.

Greg over at Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle was one of the lucky Twitter Tuesday winners this season. You can read about his Matt Kemp Gold Glove bobblehead here.

Al Yellon, managing editor at SB Nation Chicago, shows us some of the more unusual, interesting and offbeat bobbleheads given away over the years, including a Dottie Key Rockford Peaches bobblehead, Ryan Theriot's fisherman bobblehead and my favorite, the Player To Be Named Later bobblehead.

A perfect tribute to baseball transactions everywhere, "PTBNL" has as generic a face as you could possibly imagine, although this bobblehead technically isn't a "Player TO BE Named Later; he's actually "Player WHO IS Named Later."

After 41 years as the Chicago White Sox organist, Nancy Faust will retire at season's end. This past Saturday, she was honored with a bobblehead, which was given to the first 10,000 White Sox fans in attendance. As a Dodger fan, I'd love to see long-time Dodgers organist Nancy Bea Hefley honored with a bobblehead one day.

And in non-sports related bobblehead news, a 14 year-old Brooklyn boy has created the worlds largest bobblehead. Standing 16 feet tall, the bobblehead, which started out as a Jerry Seinfeld look-alike but has since taken a more general male form, took more than a year to build out of PVC piping, chicken wire, fabric papier-maché and springs.

This is what happens when you're really, really bored.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Trading With Thoughts and Sox

A couple of weeks ago, Adam at Thoughts and Sox had a post looking for some 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Red Sox Minis. One of those minis he was looking for was the Kevin Youklis, which I had. So I offered it up to him. I told him I wanted Dodgers in return. I sent him the mini and a few other Red Sox cards I had.

This week I got a nice package in the mail from him. He sent me much more than I expected, including some minis and some older Dodgers cards. He also sent me some Matt Kemp cards I didn't have.

Thanks Adam, I didn't expect such a nice package. If I come up on any more Red Sox A&G minis, they're all yours.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Donnie Baseball To Manage Dodgers in 2011

It was announced earlier today that hitting coach Don Mattingly will replace Joe Torre next season as the Dodgers manager. Mattingly has never manged at any level of the game.

From today's Dodgers Press Release:

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that former American League MVP Don Mattingly has been named the Dodger manager for the 2011 season and that Joe Torre has stepped aside from the position. Mattingly becomes the ninth manager in Los Angeles Dodger history and 27th in franchise history while Torre is expected to take time to determine his plans for 2011
"Over the past three years, I've had the opportunity to work with Don closely and have gotten to know him both personally and professionally and I'm convinced that he's the right person to lead the Dodgers," said Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti. "His work ethic is unparalleled, his baseball knowledge is vast and his leadership skills have been established during more than three decades in professional baseball.

"Donnie has also learned alongside the best in the business. Joe Torre has been a great friend, a strong leader and an incredible presence for this organization and I cannot thank him enough for his service to the Dodgers. I respect his decision to step aside and I look forward to the day where I can watch him take his rightful place in Cooperstown among baseball's legends."

Mattingly is completing his seventh season as a Major League coach (2004-10) following seven seasons as a special instructor during Spring Training for the Yankees (1997-2003). He is in his third season as the Dodgers' hitting coach following one season as the bench coach under Torre in New York (2007) and three years as the Yankees' hitting coach (2004-06).

"The opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers is truly an honor," said Mattingly. "There are few organizations in the world with the history, tradition and track record of success as the Dodgers. I'm looking forward to continuing what I came here to accomplish with Joe and that's to win a World Championship."

Mattingly will manage in the Arizona Fall League at the completion of the regular season. He becomes the eighth current Major League manager to pilot a big league club without previous managerial experience, joining Torre, Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi, Ozzie Guillen, Cito Gaston, Bud Black and Kirk Gibson. Lou Piniella, who began the year as the Cubs' manager, also managed in the Major Leagues without any minor league experience. Guillen won the World Series in his second year, Gaston in his third full season and Piniella and Girardi in their fourth seasons as a big league skipper. Bob Brenly won the World Series in his first year as a big league manager.

Mattingly spent 14 seasons as a first baseman for New York, where he compiled a .307 lifetime average with 222 home runs and 1,099 RBI while earning MVP honors in 1985, nine Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and six All-Star appearances.

He becomes just the ninth manager in Los Angeles Dodger history, following Hall of Famers Walter Alston (1954-76) and Tommy Lasorda (1977-96), Bill Russell (1996-98), Glenn Hoffman (1998), Davey Johnson (1999-2000), Jim Tracy (2001-05), Grady Little (2006-07) and Torre (2008-10).

Torre guided the Dodgers to consecutive National League Championship Series appearances and reached the postseason in a record-tying 14 consecutive seasons from 1996-2009. The certain future Hall of Famer has more postseason victories than any other manager in Major League history, ranks fifth on the all-time regular season wins list and has posted a three-year record with the Dodgers of 251-220 (.533) through last night's game. He finished third in 2009 NL Manager of the Year voting.
"It has been an incredible honor to wear the Dodger uniform and I will always carry with me some very special memories from the past three seasons," said Torre. "This was not a decision I took lightly but I believe it's the right one for myself and my family and I'm truly thrilled that Donnie will be the one leading the Dodgers. It's time that the Dodgers had a new voice and I have the utmost confidence in him. I know he's ready for the challenge."
I've been critical of Don Mattingly in the past. The Dodgers rank 12th in the National League in total batting stats. To say the offense has been bad, would be an understatement. If he can't help this team as the hitting coach, how will he do as the manager? On any other team, Donnie Baseball would have been fired by now, not promoted.

He's managed in two games for the Dodgers. He made mistakes in both games. One was in the preseason, where the Dodgers were penalized for batting out of order because the lineup card that had been posted in the clubhouse, didn't match the one given to the umpires. The other was this past July when he vistited Jonathan Broxton on the mound twice, and Broxton had to be removed from the game.

Like a lot of other Dodger fans, I would like to have seen AAA Albuquerque Isotopes' manager Tim Wallach given an opportunity to manage the Dodgers. Wallach played for the Dodgers and  has the managerial experience.

Am I surprised the team made this move? No, not at all. This is the typical ass-backwards move made by Frank McCourt and Ned Colletti. Does this mean I want Don Mattingly to fail? Absolutely not. I want this team to win in 2011. Maybe Don Mattingly is the right choice to manage the Dodgers. I don't think he is. I hope I'm proven wrong.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010 Topps Peak Performance Chad Billingsley Auto

First off, I need to mention Chad Billingsley's performance from last night. He had an amazing outing, going seven inning, striking out seven Giants and only walking two. He also took the loss. He can thank the lack of Dodger offense behind him. It's the same story from this team. I know the season is over, but this is the type of play managers and coaches get fired over, unless your name's Joe Torre or Don Mattingly.

Watching Bills and Kershaw pitch back-to-back gems gave me hope for the future. I really can't wait for 2011.

Now for the card. I picked up this 2010 Topps Series 2 Peak Performance Chad Billingsley Autograph card on ebay last week for $1.00. Can't beat that. Chad's my favorite pitcher, so this was a nice pick-up for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Congrats To Kershaw On His First Complete Game

Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw on his first career complete game and shutout. With the Dodgers season nearly over, there's very little left to cheer for. This is a great accomplishment for the lefty, and I'm sure we'll see more of this from him in the future.

Kersh struck out four Giants, walked none and only gave up four hits. He made 111 pitches in the Dodgers 1-0 victory over San Francisco.

As usual, the Dodgers offense was non-existent, getting only one hit on the night.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

LA County Fair's Dodger Day: Garvey and Sax Autograph

Thursday, September 9, was Dodger Day at the LA County Fair in Pomona. Four former players appeared at the event, Steve Sax, Maury Wills, Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela. These events always get crazy, but I know that it's a lot crazier when Garvey and Fernando appear. I knew I had to get there as early as possible. My mission was to get Steve Garvey to autograph his bobblehead.

The appearances began at 4:00 pm, with Steve Sax signing first for an hour. They would continue every hour after that for one hour at a time. Maury Wills was at 5:00, Steve Garvey at 6:00 and Fernando at 7:00.

I arrived at the fair at 1:15, hoping it would be early enough. I'm always very late to these things. Well, I was early enough. There was only one line when I got there and I was about 30 people back. Security told us that we would have to get back in line once we got Sax's autograph. THERE WAS JUST ONE LINE? This had disaster written all over it.

The front of the line when I got there

Standing in line, it's always fun to chat with the people around you, and I did meet some nice people waiting for Steve Sax. I can't remember all of their names, but a couple of them said they read the blog. COOL! They all had some nice Dodger stories to tell.

Once 4:00 rolled around, the line moved quickly. I noticed there was a second line forming off to the side. I asked them what they were waiting for. Some people were waiting for Garvey, some for Fernando. OK, so this is where I'm gonna go once I get the Sax auto. Well, I finally got to Sax, and he was very nice. I told him I was huge fan and he said thanks. He signed my 1982 Fleer rookie card for me.

Once I got the autograph, I went to that secondary line people were waiting in. I was about 40 people back, so I was in good shape for Steve Garvey. Maury Wills was next, but I was there to get Steve Garvey's autograph. While waiting, I met some more great people. The first person I met was a man named Bruce. You can read Bruce's Dodger Day experience here. He had some nice stories to tell. While I was chatting with Bruce, a couple of guys stepped into line and started talking to Bruce, I figured they were related. They weren't, they had just met each other waiting for Steve Sax. So, who were these guys? One was Greg from Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle and Memories of Kevin Malone. He recognized me from the site. The other was a nice guy named Eric. We chatted for a while, then things got chaotic. Security had to do something with the second line of people that had formed. So, they formed three seperate lines, one for each of the remaing players. Why didn't they think of this earlier?

I jumped into the Steve Garvey line. Waiting in the Garvey line I met more poeple, with more stories to tell. This is what the fans do to pass the time. Looking to the left, there was a huge line starting to form for Fernando. I didn't want any part of that. I was sticking to my mission, Garvey then go home.

Garvey showed up on time, and the line started moving. I've got to admit, this was one of the good things about the event, they moved the line along nicely. I got the bobblehead out. Once I got to the front of the line, that's when Fernando showed up. The crowd went crazy. But I was there for the Iron Man. Once it was my turn, I handed him the bobblehead. I told him to sign the helmet. Then I started telling him I was a huge fan, and that it was nice to meet him. While I was blabbering away, I noticed he was signing the base of the bobblehead. I asked him if he could please sign the helmet. He said sorry, then went on to give me an additional signature right on the side of the helmet. I got two Garvey autographs on one bobblehead! Nice. Mission accomplished.

As I was walking away, Eric asked me if I wanted to wait for Fernando. I took one look at the line, and said, no. There were at least 1,000 people in line for Fernando, if not more. That's when I knew it was time to go home.

Overall, I'd say I had a good day. I got 2 of the four player's autographs. I was there for Garvey, so getting Sax was a bonus for me. I met some nice people too. It was also nice to meet Greg from MoKM in person. That's the second Dodger blogger I've met now, Roberto from Vin Scully is My Homeboy being the first.