Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Joy Of Completing A Project

Back in May, former Dodger Shortstop Bill Russell made an appearance at the local Sports Authority.  It was at that appearance that I decided I was going to work on getting autographs of all four members of the great Dodger infield, First Baseman Steve Garvey, Second Baseman Davey Lopes,  Third Baseman Ron Cey and of course, Russell. I picked up a picture of the foursome, and got Bill Russell to sign.

Two weeks later, I got Steve Garvey's signature. Then in June, I got Ron Cey. The only one eluding me was Davey Lopes. After finding out he would be doing Dodger Day at the LA County Fair on September 15, I realized it falls on a Thursday, the only day of the week I have to be in the office. If I wanted to complete this project soon, I would have to go to Dodger Stadium or take my picture to Frank & Sons.

I decided to take a shot at Dodger Stadium first. Tuesday night Mrs. Dodgerbobble and I met Alejandro at the Ravine, and we headed straight for the Field level. I wasn't down there for more than two minutes, when Davey Lopes walked past me. I had no time to react, I pulled out the picture, handed it to him, and noticed I didn't have my black Sharpie. The other three signatures were in black. Lopes was signing someone else's picture in blue Shaprpie when he grabbed my pic. He signed mine in blue too.  I was a little disappointed that his auto was a different color from the other three, but I was still happy to complete the picture.

While we were at Dodger Stadium, I got a few more autographs:
Maury Wills signing my hat

Maury Wills

Aaron Miles

Aaron Miles on the hat

Clayton Kershaw signed a couple cards for me

There was some innocent flirting going on between Javy and Mrs. Dodgerbobble. Cool! 

He signed the hat.

Kenley Jansen

Mike MacDougal

Scott Elbert

Matt Guerrier on the hat

Guerrier on card

Bullpen coach Ken Howell
I had a great time that night. I completed my infield project. I got a few autographs. I heard some great Beatles tunes. Andre Ethier hit a Grand Slam, and the Dodgers won!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Player Appearance: Dee Gordon

Dodgers rookie Shortstop Dee Gordon made an appearance on Saturday at the OC Dugout in Anaheim. He was scheduled to appear from 5pm to 7pm. 

I arrived at the OC Dugout at 4pm and I was very early. Although Gordon was scheduled to appear at 5pm, he couldn't show up until the Dodger game ended. When I got there, there were only about 25 people in line. One of those people was Martin from Trutotheblue. I've talked with Martin so many times online, but it was a pleasure to finally meet him in person. Of course the Dodger game ran long, and so did the line. We were told that Dee would sign for two hours regardless of when he arrived.

While we were waiting for the game to end, the nice people at OC Dugout treated us to pizza and drinks. I couldn't believe it, I went to two player appearances, two days in a row, and both times I was treated to pizza! While we were eating, the game finally ended on a Matt Kemp walk-off homerun. Finally. 

Dee arrived at the card shop about 45 minutes after the game ended. He rolled up in a new Dodge Challenger with the windows down, so we all knew it was him. He began signing right away. The staff started bringing people in ten at a time. Dee was very nice, taking pictures with everyone. I love paid events, they're are less people there, and the players are much friendlier. I got an 8x10 signed, took a pic with Dee, and got my butt back on the freeway. It was so easy.

I got this 8x10 signed

Dee's ride
I had a real nice time on Saturday. Thanks to the OC Dugout, the staff there were very friendly, and the whole thing went very smoothly.  Thanks to Dee Gordon. I am so happy I finally got his autograph. I also want to give a shoutout to Alejandro, Ramon and Martin, it was nice chatting with you guys, you made the time fly by.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Time For Beatles Bobbleheads!

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Beatles concert at Dodger Stadium. The team has been celebrating all weekend and will continue to celebrate through Tuesday. In honor of the anniversary, the Dodgers have been playing Beatles music during the games.

The Dodgers will host Beatles-themed events next homestand as they celebrate the 45th anniversary of the band's Dodger Stadium concert. Friday Night Fireworks at Dodger Stadium on August 26, presented by Pizza Hut, will be set to Beatles music and on Tuesday, August 30, cast from The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas will perform on the field before the game and throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
The Beatles' concert at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, August 28, 1966 was the first-ever concert played at Dodger Stadium. The Club Level of Dodger Stadium that day was reserved for Dodger season ticket holders and The Beatles used the Dodger clubhouse as their green room and the Stadium Club for their introductory press conference.
To celebrate the anniversary of The Beatles' Dodger Stadium concert next homestand, the Dodgers will play Beatles music throughout the weekend series and at Tuesday's game, including the songs from the 1966 concert set list. Bob Eubanks, legendary television personality, former host of "The Newlywed Game" and the promoter that brought The Beatles to Dodger Stadium in 1966, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game on Friday, August 26. 
On Tuesday, August 30, cast from The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil will perform an act from their GRAMMY® Award-winning Las Vegas production. The performance will take place at approximately 7:00 p.m. on the field and will feature dancers and acrobats from "Drive My Car." The performance will conclude with the ceremonial first pitch, featuring the iconic "Teddy Boys" of LOVE.
Here's a video featuring the Beatles bobbleheads at Dodger Stadium. Great commercial.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vin Scully Returning In 2012

From @Dodgers Twitter page  - Vin and the leftover cookies
Dodger fans got some great news during last night's game. Vin Scully announced he would be returning to the Dodgers broadcast booth for his 63rd season in 2012. Vinny will call home games and select road games.

"I don't want to make a big deal out of it, you and I have been friends for a long time," Scully told the audience on PRIME TICKET. "But after a lot of soul searching and a few prayers, we've decided that we will come back with the Dodgers for next year. God's been awfully good to me, allowing me to do the things I love to do. I asked him one more year at least and he said okay."
Scully's 62 years of service constitute the longest tenure of any broadcaster in sports history. While he handles all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts on PRIME TICKET and KCAL 9, the first three innings of each of his games are also simulcast on KABC 790 AM.
He began his professional baseball broadcasting career in 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. During his unequaled career, he has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was also at the microphone for Kirk Gibson's miraculous Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series, Hank Aaron's record-setting 715th home run, Barry Bonds' record-breaking 71st, 72nd and 73rd home runs and the scoreless-inning streaks' of Dodger greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser. 
When Scully first began broadcasting, the Dodgers had yet to win a single World Series. Three years later, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game and in 1955, he had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers' first and only championship in Brooklyn. 
The following season, Scully once again found himself in the enviable position of calling what he would later say was the greatest individual performance he had seen -- Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series.
The 2011 Dodger season has been a big disappointment, so it's nice to get some good news. When Vinny made the announcement, I got goosebumps. He means everything to this organization, and things wouldn't be the same without him. 

It's very hard to see the Dodgers contending in 2012, unless some drastic changes are made. But even if the team sucks, Vin can make everything sound right. Thanks for coming back.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Player Appearance: Matt Kemp

Dodger Centerfielder Matt Kemp made an appearance today at the Metro PCS Store in Baldwin Hills. He was scheduled to meet with fans and sign autographs from 11:00am to Noon and only for the first 200 people in line.

I had been planning on going to this event for the last few weeks, and I knew I was gonna have to arrive early. Matt made an appearance at Living Spaces a couple of weeks ago, and people began lining up for that at 7pm the night before. I knew people would do the same thing this time around even though it was a Friday. And I was right. I got a call from my buddy Greg, who lives close to the Metro PCS Store, at 9:00 letting me know there was already 30 people in line. It was time to start heading down there. This would be my first time camping out for an autograph.

I drove drove down there with Teresa, and we arrived at around 10:00. We were about 50 people back at the time. That number was going to change as it got closer to meeting Matt Kemp.

We were about 13 hours away from meeting Matt, but the time flew by because a group of us chit-chatted all night. We really entertained ourselves. Out of all of us in the group, I was the only one to get some shut-eye. And I needed it after a long day at work. I don't think I would have been in good shape if I hadn't taken a nap.

Before I fell asleep though, we were all surprised with a little treat, a free midnight snack courtesy of the man himself, Matt Kemp. A group of very smart people at the front of the line were in communication with Matt via Twitter. They let him know we were camping out all night for his autograph, so he treated us to pizza. There were about 80 to 100 of us there at the time, and we all were munching on Papa Johns. Thanks to Matt and everyone who made that happen. After I ate, I passed the hell out.

It was about 6:30 am when I woke up. There were a few hundred people there, and the line was starting to get messy. The Metro PCS staff got there at 9:00 and started handing out wristbands at around 9:30.  Once the wristbands were given, the line straightened up.

Matty signing my poster

Matt arrived on time, and the line started moving as soon as he got there. We were told one signature per person, and no pictures with him. Matt's agent, former Dodger pitcher Dave Stewart, was there too, and signing autographs. I brought my "King of Swing" poster for Matt to sign, and my Clinton Dodgers bobblehead for Dave Stewart to sign.  Both of them were very nice. Matt signed the poster with his name and number in blue Sharpie. Dave signed the bobblehead in silver Sharpie. This is the third time I have met Matt, so I didn't care to chat with him or take a pic, even though other people were getting pics with him. I just wanted the auto after such a long night. I was a bit excited to meet Stewart though, who I hadn't met before. Not only did he sign, he took pics with people too.

The auto turned out crappy
All-in-all, I'd say I had a good time, but I don't think I'll ever camp out like that again. It was just too much for me. To everyone I hung out with last night, I had a great time. It was also very nice meeting Jesse and Clint. Thanks to Matt Kemp, Dave Stewart, and Metro PCS for everything today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Review Of The 2011 Dodger Bobbleheads

Tonight I'm gonna review the 2011 Dodger Stadium bobblehead giveaways. All six bobbleheads will be given a grade of A, B,C,D or F. The grades will be based on a few things: (1) Did the bobblehead look like the player?  (2) Did the player deserve a bobblehead? and (3) Creativity.

Clayton Kershaw  A-
On May 17, the Dodgers gave away the first bobblehead of the year, Clayton Kershaw. I was so happy to get my hands on this first bobblehead, and it didn't disappoint. The Ace of the Dodger staff definitely deserved a bobble. I love the way they made Kersh look, from the beard to the green eyes and even the leg kick. But it's that simple stance that keeps this bobblehead from getting an A+. Maybe Kershaw get's a Cy Young bobblehead in 2012? I hope so.

Don Mattingly  C
This bobblehead night was unlike any other I had seen in the past. On June 1, the Dodgers were supposed to give away 50,000 Don Mattingly bobbleheads away. The only problem was, 50,000 people didn't show up. In my original post, I estimated the attendance at under 30,000 fans. This was the deadest I had seen the stadium since I started going to bobblehead nights on regular basis back in 2002.

What I like about this bobblehead is that it looks like Don Mattingly, and that he's standing at the top of the dugout steps. The manager at the top of the dugout steps was a common theme in baseball this year. The Orioles, Royals, Padres and DBacks all gave away similar bobbleheads. It's very creative and helped get this bobblehead a C grade. What kept it from getting a higher grade was the fact that Don Mattingly didn't deserve a bobblehead in 2011. A  player or manager should get a bobblehead if he has accomplished something with the team. What has Mattingly done for the Dodgers? Nothing yet.

Hong-Chih Kuo C
Kuo, Kuo, Kuo. What a year for the Taiwanese pitcher. Who could have seen such a drastic change from 2010 to 2011? His horrible 2011 isn't the reason I'm giving this a C grade though. He definitely deserved a bobblehead after his amazing 2010. I'm giving this a C because this doesn't look like him and the stance is all wrong. I know he's giving the fist pump after a strikeout, but it just doesn't look right. The other thing is it lacks a certain something. In 2008, the Dodgers gave away Takashi Saito bobbleheads, and his name was put on the bobblehead in Japanese. They could have done something similar with Kuo, except with Taiwanese. In my opinion, this is a boring bobblehead, plain and simple.

Andre Ethier B
This Brooklyn throwback version of Andre Ethier was a big success back on July 7. Dodger Stadium was packed and that's the way it should be on a bobblehead night. The Dodgers honored Dre with his second bobblehead in two years. This time around they had him wearing the same 1940's-style Brooklyn Dodgers uniform the team was wearing during day games this year.

This bobblehead kind of looks like Andre. The hair and beard stubble on his face are dead on, but the facial features are a little off. The uniform is sweet, and that's a big plus. I also love the fist pump. I couldn't give this an A grade for one reason: it's the second Andre Ethier bobblehead in two years. I'm not saying he didn't deserve one in 2011, because he did. It's just that the Dodgers could have given someone else a bobblehead. There are other players who are just as deserving, like Chad Billingsley or a even a former player.

Fernando Valenzuela B
The Dodgers celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of Fernandomania with one of the nicest bobblehead giveaways ever. This nodder depicts a 1981 version of Fernando Valenzuela standing on the warning track, in front of the scoreboard, with a pen in hand and signing a mitt. The bobblehead looks like Fernando, it's very creative and Fernando definitely deserved a bobblehead for the the anniversary. This is Fernando's third Dodger bobblehead since 2001 though, and that's what's keeping this from getting an A. Yes, Fernando is still popular in Los Angeles, but like I said with Ethier, there are other players who deserve a first bobblehead. I think they should have gone with someone from the 1981 Championship team.

Duke Snider A
After passing away earlier in the year, the Dodgers decided to honor Duke Snider with a bobblehead. This was my favorite bobblehad of the year. What makes this my favorite? First off, it looks like the Duke. Second, the stance is right on. Third, he was one of the greatest Dodgers of all-time, and deserved a bobble.   Is this the most creative bobblehead of the six? No, but it didn't need to be. The Duke swinging the bat in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform was all I needed. It really has a "classic" feel to it. Great job on this one.

Overall, I'd say the Dodgers did a decent job on the bobblehead giveaways. I do feel that six bobbleheads was overkill though. It wasn't necessary to give that many away. I love my bobbleheads, but they could've done without the Mattingly and Kuo. Next year I hope to see only three or four given away. Hopefully all of them are first-time recipients, well, unless Kershaw gets a Cy Young bobblehead of course. Speaking of next year's bobbleheads, I will be giving my predictions on 2012 very soon.

So, what did you think of my grades? Did I get them all right? Let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Recent Dodger Auto Pick Ups

I've picked up a few Dodger autographs over the last few weeks. What I've been doing is trying to concentrate on some of the youngsters in the organization.

Here's a 2004 Javy Guerra/Justin Orenduff Upper Deck SP Prospects dual auto /175. Javy Guerra, the Dodgers current Closer, has been one of the few bright spots in this terrible 2011 Dodgers season. Can't say much about Orenduff, who retired from baseball in 2009, then came back to the Dodgers in 2011. He was released in July after posting an era of almost 9.

Ivan DeJesus Jr. has been up and down between the Dodgers and AAA Albuquerque a couple times this year. I'm sure he'll get a September call-up, but will he be on the roster next April? We'll see. Here's his 2007 Bowman Chrome Auto.

Another guy who's made a few trips between LA and Albuquerque is Jon Link. Link, who came to the Dodgers with John Ely in the Juan Pierre trade, has had a mediocre 2011 down in AAA. This is his 2010 Topps Chrome Auto.

One of the guys I'm most excited about in the Dodgers organization is Jerry Sands. He's another guys who's sure to get a September call-up, and hopefully he's a regular player in LA next season. Here's his 2010 Bowman Platinum Auto.

One of my latest pick-ups is this 2011 Topps Pro Debut Garrett Gould Auto. Gould was the Dodgers second round pick in 2009. He's currently playing for the Single-A Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League, and has made some great strides over the last couple years. 

This last Dodger auto is one I wish I didn't have, but I figured I should pick it up in case anything becomes of him. This is a 2007 Upper Deck National Signatures Tim Federowicz Auto /275. TFed came from the Red Sox in the Trayvon Robinson trade. Robinson, of course was a top prospect in the Dodger organization and was sent to Seattle in the three-team deal. Federowicz well, he wasn't even a top ten prospect for the Sox. But the Dodgers lacked depth at the catcher position. Thank you Ned.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Omar Bravo Bobblehead Incident

On Wednesday, MLS club Sporting Kansas City held Omar Bravo bobblehead night. The first 10,000 fans in attendance received a bobblehead. One of those fans, or should I say one idiot, decided it would be a good idea to rip the head off of his nodder and throw it at SKC's goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. 

From the Associated Press

Nielsen was struck by a piece from an Omar Bravo bobblehead doll, one of thousands given away to fans in attendance. The Danish keeper lay on the field for 4 minutes but was able to continue after being checked out by medical personnel.
Two people were arrested.
Nielsen, who was getting a drink beside the goal when he was hit, said he’s had objects thrown at him “a million times, but never at home.
“It happens,” he said. “It’s no big deal.”

No big deal? That's one tough Dane. Nielsen, who received stitches above the eye and sported a nice shiner, continued to play and finished the game. SKC beat Portland 3-1.

Shame on the guy who threw the Bravo head at Nielsen. And shame on him for destroying a perfectly good bobblehead!

        Pictures Via Yahoo! Sports

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bobblehead News: California League

With my Dodgers giving away the final bobblehead of the year last week, and the Angels doing the same this week, it's time to look to the local minor league teams for bobbleheads. Here's a little bobblehead news from the California league.

Felix Hernandez bobblehead pushed back. The Inland Empire 66ers have pushed back the Felix Hernandez bobblehead giveaway, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, August 20. The team has replaced the bobbleheads with Anaheim Angels newsboy hats. A date for the Hernandez bobblehead hasn't been determined yet. For questions regarding the promotion change, call Kevin Shaw at (909)495-7623. Thanks to Eddie for the tip.

Ken Griffey Sr. gets bobblehead. The Bakersfield Blaze, Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, will be giving away bobbleheads of their manager, Ken Griffey Sr. The first 500 fans attending the game on Friday, August 19 will receive the bobblehead of the former Reds great. 

Rawhide honor 65 years of baseball in Visalia, and Kirby Puckett too.  The Visalia Rawhide, Single-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are celebrating 65 years of baseball by giving away four different bobbleheads of their mascot, Tipper the cow. Each bobblehead has Tipper wearing clothing from different eras, starting with the 50's themed Tipper, which was given away on July 31, 60's Tipper on August 7, 70's Tipper on August 14 and the final 1980's Tipper which will be given away on August 28.

And, on August 24, the team will be honoring Kirby Puckett with a bobblehead as well. Puckett, the city's most famous former player, played for the Visalia Oaks in 1983. This bobblehead will be given to the first 500 fans in attendance.

Apollo 13 astronaut honored last Saturday. Fred Haise, one of the the astronauts from the Apollo 13 mission, was honored on Saturday, August 13 by the Lancaster JetHawks with a bobblehead. The bobble, which depicts Haise coming out of the Apollo 13 capsule, was given to the first 1,200 fans in attendance as part of the Aerospace Appreciation Weekend.