Thursday, March 31, 2011

Openening Day Is Finally Here

Yay! Opening Day is finally here. After a disappointing 2010 season, and what seemed like an eternal offseason, the Dodgers will start 2011 at home against the hated San Francisco Giants. I can't wait to get to Dodger Stadium for the first time this year. It's gonna be hard to top my experience on Opening Day 2010, but I'm sure I'll have a great time.

The 25-man roster is set:

Clayton Kershaw
Chad Billingsley
Hiroki Kuroda
Ted Lilly
Jonathan Broxton
Hong-Chih Kuo
Blake Hawksworth
Matt Guerrier
Mike MacDougal
Kenley Jansen
Lance Cormier

Rod Barajas
A.J. Ellis
Hector Giminez


Rafael Furcal
Juan Uribe
Aaron Miles
James Loney
Jamey Carroll
Ivan De Jesus

Matt Kemp
Xavier Paul
Tony Gwynn Jr.
Andre Ethier
Marcus Thames

No big surprises at all, except that Don Mattingly went with three catchers. Three non-roster invitees made the team out of Spring Training, Mike MacDougal, Lance Cormier, and Aaron Miles.

Opening Day Celebrations

Pre-game festivities on Opening Day, including the ceremonial first pitch, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Opening Day in 1981. Grammy Award-winning singer Plácido Domingo will perform the National Anthem and Broadway actor and singer Davis Gaines will perform God Bless America.

Opening Day will be televised nationally on ESPN as the network's first Thursday Night Baseball game of the season. PRIME TICKET will deliver a special one-hour pre-game show from Dodger Stadium beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Auto and stadium gates will both open early on Opening Day and fans are encouraged to carpool and arrive early, as auto gates will open at 1:00 p.m. and stadium gates will open at 1:30 p.m. Fans can also take the free Dodgertown Express Bus Service from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, as they can for every game this season. More information about the bus service and parking are available at

The first 50,000 fans at Thursday's game will receive Magnet Schedules presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.
 Domingo who performed as one of the Three Tenors at Dodger Stadium in 1994 and is a 12-time Grammy Award-winner, will perform the National Anthem. His humanitarian work has earned honors ranging from the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Honorary Knight of the British Empire and many more. He currently serves as the General Director of the Los Angeles Opera and the Washington National Opera and lives by the motto "If I rest, I rust."

Before the National Anthem, the Dodgers will observe a moment of silence for those whose lives were lost as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have joined together to contribute $500,000 toward earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan to UNICEF. Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has made a personal donation to the cause and the Dodgers will also collect donations for UNICEF at locations throughout the stadium.

Gaines will sing God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. He is best known for his role as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and remains Los Angeles' longest-running phantom.

Continuing with the 1981 theme of Opening Day, former Dodger Bill Russell will sign autographs for fans in Autograph Alley. Russell won a World Series with the Dodgers in 1981, as well as in 1988, and was a member of the Dodgers' record-setting infield. Autograph Alley will feature stars of '81 throughout the Dodgers' opening homestand.

Approximately 136 members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Coast Guard, LAPD and LAFD will unfurl a giant flag on the day during pre-game ceremonies. A Joint Services Color Guard will present the colors and pre-game ceremonies will conclude with a flyover by a B-2 from Whiteman Air Force Base. 

The Dodgers will also honor their first Veteran of the Game on Thursday, as they will at every home game this season. Second Lieutenant in the US Army Steven Hole will be the first honoree, as he won the home run hitting contest at the Military Batting practice the Dodgers hosted on Veteran's Day in November. Hole played football at West Point and is a third-year medical student at USC.

For the first time ever, Dodgers Magazine is offering a cover unique to Opening Day, featuring starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum. Fans can only purchase this version of the magazine at Dodger Stadium merchandise stands on Opening Day. The cover story features Kershaw, who with his wife Ellen volunteered to help build a school in Zambia during the offseason, and other stories including Roger Kahn's first-person reflection on Duke Snider and a photo essay on the late Hall of Famer. Dodger first base coach Davey Lopes also talks about Dodger Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Fans can subscribe to Dodgers Magazine at or by calling 877-258-3062.

The 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Yearbook also makes its debut on Opening Day and features a cover depicting the art from several of this year's Dodger billboards and highlighted by the tagline "It's time for Dodger Baseball." Inside are features on new Dodger Manager Don Mattingly, a look back at the Dodgers' 1981 World Series title and biographies of current players. The yearbook is available at all merchandise stands and can be ordered online at

The first edition of Dodgers Playbill for the 2011 season features a cover highlighting the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants. Inside are a preview for the series, a look back at some of the great games in Dodgers-Giants history and ticket deals that fans can take advantage of this season.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dodgers Honor Duke Snider With Bobblehead

We now know who will get that sixth and final Dodger bobblehead on Tuesday, August 9; the late Duke Snider. The Dodgers will also wear a No.4 patch throughout the entire 2011 season in memory of the Hall of Famer.


The Dodgers announced Wednesday that they will wear a patch in memory of Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider throughout the 2011 season and will host a celebration of his life on Aug. 9 at Dodger Stadium. The memorial patch will feature Snider's No. 4 and will be worn on the Dodgers' home, road and alternate Brooklyn uniforms at every 2011 game beginning Thursday night, when the team opens the season against the San Francisco Giants. Snider's uniform number was retired on July 6, 1980, and is one of 10 retired numbers in franchise history. Snider passed away Feb. 27 at the age of 84.

Snider's family will be among the participants in the Aug. 9 celebration of Snider's life prior to a home game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The special ceremony also will feature a Snider bobblehead giveaway to the first 50,000 fans in attendance that will honor the franchise's all-time-leading home run hitter.

The man they called the "Duke" was born Edwin Donald Snider in Los Angeles on Sept. 19, 1926, and became one of the game's most feared hitters during his 16 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-62), playing on a pair of World Series championship teams (1955 and '59) and in six World Series overall.

Snider was an eight-time All-Star center fielder and ranks as the franchise's all-time leader in home runs (389) and runs batted in (1,271). During the 1950s, he topped all Major Leaguers with 326 homers and 1,031 RBIs. He slugged four home runs in both the 1952 and '55 World Series.

The last time the Dodgers wore a memorial patch was in 2000 in memory of Snider's teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, Pee Wee Reese. Other memorial patches were worn by the Dodgers in tribute to Jim Gilliam (1978), coach Don McMahon (1987), Tim Crews (1993) and a combination patch for Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Roy Campanella, who passed away within a week of one another in 1993.
I think this is a classy move by the Dodgers. I honestly didn't think they would do something like this. It's a bit shocking. I really thought they would go with Chad Billingsley or Davey Lopes for the final bobblehead. Good for them.

Angels Fan Fest 2011

Last Sunday, the Anaheim Angels held their Fan Fest. The event was held at the Angels Stadium parking lot. Tickets were $5 and it also got you into the Angels/Padres game at 2:00. The event was scheduled from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The Angels' website said there would be players signing autographs, but it wasn't specific. Since I'm not an Angels fan, my only interest were the autographs. When my buddy Tom and I got down there, we noticed there four autograph stations. There were two players at each station. They would be signing for 45 minutes, then get replaced with someone else from the team. There was no player schedule, it was all  random.

We walked from station to station trying to figure out which one was best, because the lines were very long. We decided to go with  the Brandon Wood line. Wood, who is probably the most over-hyped prospect in Angels history, was signing with infield prospect Alexi Amarista. We stood in line for 30 minutes. I had them both sign my Snoopy Angels bobblehead.

Brandon Wood

Alexi Amarista
We started searching for the next best line. We discovered Bobby Abreu was signing, so we rushed to that line. I'm not sure how long he had been there, but we waited for about 30 minutes in line, then he got up and walked away. Actually, all the signing players left their stations because it was time for batting practice. There would be no more signings until BP was over. The next session was to start at 12:45.

It was only 11:00 at this point. There was going to be a lot of down time until the players returned. Tom and I talked about this, and we both agreed the Angels missed a good opportunity to bring some veteran players to the booths to sign for the fans. Instead, everyone had to wait nearly two hours for the next session.

There would only be one more signing session for the day. Since we didn't know who would be signing at any of the four stations, we had to pick one and just hope there were some good players there. We picked a line. After standing in the sun for an hour and forty-five minutes, a cart rolled up. Three players showed up to the station we were at.  It was Fernando Rodney, Jason Bulger and Scott Kazmir. I wasn't thrilled. Later we found out Jared Weaver was signing in the station behind us. I had Rodney and Bulger sign Snoopy and Kazmir signed a card.

Fernando Rodney

Jason Bulger

Scott Kazmir

Once we got our signatures, we went and got some of the free swag that was being given out. Rex Hudler was interviewing Rod Carew and Tim Salmon on the main stage, so went and checked that out. When that ended, Tom tried to get Rod Carew's autograph. He nearly got the signature, but there were hundreds of people mobbing the Hall of Famer.

At that point, it was 2:00, game time. The crowd at the Fan Fest all headed toward the stadium. Before we left, we stopped and took a picture with the Angels' Rally Monkey.

It was nice to see the Angels doing this for their fans. I really hope the Dodgers can do this for their fans one day as well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chad Billingsley Signs A Three-Year Extension

It's being reported that the Dodgers and Chad Billingsley have agreed to a three-year extension. According to the LATimes' Dylan Hernandez, the deal is worth $35-36 million, including an option for a fourth year, which is being negotiated.

Billingsley will earn $6.275MM in 2011, his second of three seasons as an arbitration eligible player. The deal would buy out the 26-year-old's final year of arbitration eligibility and his first two free agent seasons.

Billingsley, a Dave Stewart client, has been a steady presence in the Dodgers' rotation since 2006. He posted a 3.57 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 191 2/3 innings last year. His career numbers - 59-41 record, 3.55 ERA, 825 2/3 innings, 8.2 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 - have led to larger-than-usual rewards through arbitration
Nice to see Dave Stewart and the Dodgers playing nice, despite the drama between the two last year. In August, Stewart criticized some members of the coaching staff of treating his other client, Matt Kemp, unfairly.

It's also nice to see Ned Colletti locking Bills up for the next three to four years. This kid has been an absolute beast over the last four seasons. Now, if he can get Clayton Kershaw locked up as well, I might start thinking better of Old Ned.

My Prediction:
Chad Billingsley will get the sixth and final undecided bobblehead on August 9. He deserves it. He's got the extension, now give him a bobble!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Player Appearance: Ron Artest

Last week, Lakers Forward Ron Artest was scheduled to make an appearance at Living Spaces in Irvine from 3pm to 5pm. I got there at around Noon, and was one of the first one hundred people there, so I got a wristband. About two hours before Artest was scheduled to appear, we were told he cancelled. Everyone with a wristband was told to come back next week. They put our names on a list and asked us to hang on to our wristbands.

So, after waiting a week, I called to confirm he would be there today. I was told he would be, so I made the 75 mile trip to Irvine. I got there an hour before he was scheduled to appear, and was put in a separate line for people with wristbands from the previous week. I was the 75th person in line.

Ron Ron arrived on time. We were told only one item would be signed and he would not be taking pictures with us. Living Spaces had a giant television playing the Butler/Florida game above him. He was paying a lot of attention to the game, but kept the line of people moving. When I got to the front, I shook his hand and he signed my ball. It was fast and to the point. I wish more signings were like that.

Thanks to Ron Artest and Living Spaces Irvine for the great experience.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Upcoming Appearance: Ted Reed, Author Of Carl Furillo: Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star

Yesterday, I reviewed the book "Carl Furillo: Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star".  The author of the book, Ted Reed, will be making an appearance at the Brooklyn Historical Society this Saturday at 2:00 pm, along with Carl Furillo Jr.

Ted Reed, a veteran reporter and author of the new book Carl Furillo: Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star, will speak about Furillo’s career and two little-explored events that have shaped perceptions of the Dodgers right-fielder: Furillo's supposed opposition to Jackie Robinson joining the Dodgers and Furillo's suit against the Dodgers for injuries. Judith Testa, a former college professor and author of Sal Maglie: Baseball’s Demon Barber, will speak about the twists and turns in the relationship between Furillo and Maglie.
If anyone in the New York area is interested, the event is free with museum admission ($6 adults, $4 students, teachers, seniors, free for children under 12). The Brooklyn Historical Society is located at:

128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Phone: 718-222-4111 Fax: 718-222-3794

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Carl Furillo, Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star

I just finished reading the book "Carl Furillo, Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star". This book was written by Ted Reed and published by McFarland Publishing.

History has remembered Carl Furillo as an opponent of Jackie Robinson becoming a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, despite that being untrue. This biography sets the record straight, while also detailing Furillo’s contributions as a clutch hitter and an outstanding right fielder, his angry departure from the team, his hearing before the commissioner of baseball, and his life after the sport.

I've read so much on Sandy Koufax, PeeWee Reese, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson and other Brooklyn Dodgers, but I didn't know much about Carl Furillo. After reading this book, I can say that Carl Furillo, The Reading Rifle, is now one of my favorite Dodgers of all-time.

In the book, Reed gives the details on Furillo's professional career, from his start in Reading, Pennsylvania to his falling out with the Dodgers in 1960 .

Ted Reed also sets the record straight on Furillo's involvement, or lack thereof, in the opposition of Jackie Robinson's integration of baseball in 1947. It was thought he was part of a group of players that was opposed to the integration. With the help of Carl Furillo's son, Carl Furillo Jr. and others, Reed sheds light on the events and what really happened.

Carl Furillo Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star was a great read. I highly recommend this for any Dodger fan or for anyone interested in the history of the game.

I want to say thanks to Ted Reed and McFarland Publishing for sending me the book and staying in touch with me.

You can purchase Carl Furillo, Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star at or at

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Matt Kemp's In Beast Mode

A  couple of weeks ago, Jim Hill of CBS Sports sat down with Dodgers Centerfielder Matt Kemp. They talked about Kemp's disappointing 2010, his personal life and the upcoming season. It's a very good interview, Matt even mentions getting into "Beast Mode". Check it out:

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Look: Don Mattingly Dugout Bobblehead

Here's another 2011 Dodger bobblehead preview. On Wenesday, June 1, the Dodgers will be giving away Don Mattingly bobbleheads to the first 50,000 fans in attendance. This bobble will be given away courtesy of Carls Jr.

Here's Donnie Baseball:

Glad to see the Dodgers going with something new. I love this bobblehead. Mattingly at the top of the dugout stairs is genius. This shot is from It's very small and blurry though.. Hopefully we'll get a bigger and better shot of it later today.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dodgers News And Notes

We're two weeks away from Opening Day. Woohoo!
Anyway, here are some notes on this Thursday:

The Dodgers wear green uniforms for St. Patty's Day. The boys, who are normally in blue, wore green hats and jerseys for St. Patrick's Day. Those jerseys were signed and auctioned off for the Dodgers Dream Foundation.

Season Ticket Open House at Dodger Stadium. Interested in becoming a Dodger season ticket holder? The Dodgers will be holding an Open House on Saturday, March 19th and Saturday, March 26th. Anyone who purchases a season ticket plan at the Open House will also receive a Dodgers fleece blanket.

Dodgers reassign Jerry Sands to minor league camp. I think many of us want to see him play in LA now, but the truth is, he needs some more time in the minors. He'll probably start the season in AA Chattanooga. We could see him called up to the big club in September.

Jay Gibbons gets new contacts. Gibby, who is 2 for 22 so far in Spring Training, had his eyes checked in San Francisco, and was fitted for new contact lenses. Let's see if this helps him at the plate.

Is Darren Dreifort considering a comeback? The former Dodger, who hasn't pitched since 2004, visited Camelback Ranch this week as a guest instructor on the Minor League side. He threw a bullpen session and batting practice and hinted at a return to the majors. He'll be 39 in May. Dreifort retired at age 32 because of a condition that cursed him with weak connective tissue and led to 12 operations on his elbow, hip, knee, shoulder and ankle.

New Dodger billboards. The Dodgers have a new ad campaign. They've gone away from the "This Is My Town" ads and have come up with "It's Time". Roberto at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy shows us some of these new billboards.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Los Angeles Celtics? This is one ugly hat. Who the heck would wear this?  I guess it'll do for today. Happy St. Patrick's Day. Be safe out there and don't drink too much.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2005 Donruss Greats Tommy John Autograph

Here's another Dodger autograph, Tommy John, the man for whom the revolutionary surgery is named. John played six seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1972-1974 and from 1976-1978. In those six season with L.A., he went 87-42 with a 2.97 ERA.

In the middle of the 1974 season, Tommy John was 13-3, when he injured his pitching arm. He damaged the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his elbow, or UCL, which led to a revolutionary surgical operation performed by Dr. Frank Jobe. The surgery, now known as Tommy John Surgery, replaces the ligament in the elbow with a tendon from the forearm.

John would sit out the entire 1975 season, but came back to pitch in 1976, going 10-10 with a 3.09 ERA. He would go on to pitch in 14 seasons following the surgery.

Here's the card, a 2005 Donruss Greats Tommy John Autograph.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Winnings From All About Cards Contest

Earlier this week, I posted all the hits I pulled from the first four boxes I won in the All About Cards contest. Today I'm gonna show the rest of the box breaks.

The fifth box I opened was the 2010-2011 Upper Deck Artifacts hockey. I got four hits in this box. The first was Thomas Vanek Frozen Arifacts Dual swatch 4/50. Next was Panthers Triple Swatch of David Booth, Michael Frolik and Thomas Vokoun 18/75. The third hit in the box was Steven Stamkos Dual Swatch 76/150. The last hit was a JP Dumont Autograph.

The sixth box I opened was the 2009 Bowman  Football box. Unfortunately, I got no hits in this one.

The seventh box I opened was the 2010-2011 Panini Limited Hockey. I was promised 8 cards in this box. I only got seven though. I got two jersey cards, Kyle Okposo 51/199 and Patrick Roy 4/10. Roy is one of my all-time favorites, so I was happy to pull this. The autograph was LA Kings Defenseman Jake Muzzin 34/299.

The last box I opened was 2010 Panini Limited Football. I was promised 8 cards in this box and I did get eight. I was guarenteed 3 hits. The first was Dexter McCluster Jersey 1/100. Next was a Knowshon Moreno Jersey 61/100. The third hit was an Eric Berry Auto Jersey 1/5.

Check out the last two breaks:

Once again, thanks to All About Cards.I really appreciate everything. If anyone is interested in any of these cards, contact me.

Dodgers To Raise Funds For Japanese Earthquake Relief Efforts

The Dodgers and NBC LA will hold a "drive-through" relief effort at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday to help raise money for the American Red Cross Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
Dodgers alumni and members of the NBC LA news team will take donations from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Dodger Stadium Parking Lot 1, which is accessible through the Sunset Boulevard Gate 1 at 1000 Elysian Park Avenue.
Cash donations and checks will be accepted. Checks should be made out to American Red Cross with "Japan Tsunami Fund" in the memo line.

The American Red Cross is offering assistance to the Japanese Red Cross following Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that left towns and villages in Japan devastated. The organization opened evacuation centers supporting more than 2,500 people seeking refuge from the tsunami in Hawaii and the West Coast.

The "drive-through" fundraising event at Dodger Stadium will also be supported by Clear Channel Radio.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Release 2011 Promotional Schedule

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Single-A affiliate of the Dodgers, released their 2011 promotional schedule today. Looks like they've got the usual minor league promotions on the list, fireworks, hat giveaways, social media nights. There will be only one bobblehead giveaway this season, Clayton Kershaw on Friday, May 20. You can check out the entire Quakes promotional schedule here.

I wonder if it will be the same Clayton Kershaw bobblehead the Dodgers are giving away on May 17, or will it be a new bobblehead altogether? We'll have to wait and see.

I want to thank Autumn Rose Saenz, Director of Promotions for the Quakes for all her help.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winnings From All About Cards Contest

On February 6, I won the grand prize in a contest held by All About Cards. I won 8 boxes of cards. Since I won, I've opened four of the boxes. I opened the  2010 Topps National Chicle box. You can see what I pulled here.

I have also opened the  2010 Topps Update box. From that I just happened to pull a Dodger. It was a Rafael Furcal All-Star Game used jersey.

The next box I opened was the 2011 PressPass box. The one hit I got was a Jeff Gordon Tradin' Paint Race Used Sheet Metal card. I don't know much about NASCAR, but I do know who Jeff Gordon is. This card is so thick, it barely fit in the scanner. If anyone is interested, it's up for trade.

The fourth box I opened was the 2010-2011 Panini Prestige box. I was guaranteed 2 autograph cards and 2 memorabilia cards. I actually got 3 autograph cards: an Al-Farouq Aminu rookie 44/296, a Devin Ebanks rookie logo patch 476/499, and a Jeremy Lin rookie 193/199. Since I collect Lakers and Clippers autographs, I'm keeping the Aminu and Ebanks. The Lin is up for trade if anyone wants it.

I also pulled two jersey cards: Jose Calderon Prestigious Pros game-used swatch 316/499 and a Tayshaun Prince Franchise Favorites game-used swatch 8/49. Both are available for trade.

Here's the Panini Box break:

Once again, I want to thank All About Cards. Stay tuned, I have four more boxes to break.

Monday, March 7, 2011

2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams Pedro Guerrero Autograph

One of my favorite Dodgers as child was Pedro Guerrero. He was the power hitter of my youth, the guy I loved to watch play everyday. In 11 seasons as a Dodger, Pedro batted .309, hit 171 homeruns and knocked in 585 runs. Eric Stephen of True Blue LA took a look at Pedro's years in LA, it's a great read. You can check out his article here.

Pedro, who had drug and alcohol problems, was arrested and later acquitted on drug conspiracy charges in 2000. Last year his name popped again when he said he was a changed man and he wanted to return to the game.  Maybe we'll see Pedro back in Dodger blue one day.

For now, I would like to show Pedro Guerrero's autograph. This is a 2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams auto, 1980 Dodgers #181. In 1980, Pedro played every position except catcher and shortstop. The card has him listed as an outfielder, but it looks like he's playing thirdbase in the picture. He's also got that great fu manchu mustache.