Friday, August 31, 2012

Vin Scully Bobblehead Night

The Dodger bobblehead season finally come to an end last night and they saved the best for last. The one and only Vin Scully gets bobble number ten in the Dodger Stadium Greats bobblehead series. Presented by Farmer John, this bobblehead was given to the first 50,000 fans in attendance. 

When I arrived at the stadium, I noticed that the Dodgers opened the parking lots early, which seemed to be a good thing. Many people got to the stadium early, and I think it helped, at least it did on the Loge level, where they opened the gates at 5:20. My wife and I separated, and she said it was chaotic up on the Reserve level. My final destination was the Right Field Pavilion and that line moved very quickly. 

Before the game started the Dodgers honored Vin Scully, who was on the field with his grandchildren, with a beautiful video tribute.Then Vinny came to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Don Mattingly. When he got to the mound he did a wind up like Sandy Koufax, but he didn't throw the ball. He did however walk the ball to one of his grandchildren who then passed the ball down the line to the next grandchild and so on until it got to Don Mattingly.It was a great moment. Then one of Vin's grandaughters, Mackenzie Luderer, sang the Nation Anthem. As far as the game, the punchless Dodgers lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0

I love this bobblehead. I think it might be my new favorite.

I'm really happy this was the last bobblehead of the year. Getting to the stadium super early and dealing with all the people at Dodger Stadium is a lot of work and very stressful. Doing it ten times was too much. I hope the Dodgers can reduce the bobblehead number next season.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fernando Valenzuela Bobblehead Night

On Tuesday, August21, the Dodgers gave away Fernando Valenzuela bobbleheads to the first 50,000 fans in attendance. Presented by State Farm, this bobble was the ninth in the series of ten Dodger Stadium Greats bobblehead series. The Dodgers played the Giants that night and lost 4-1.  Before the game, the Dodgers honored Fernando with a video tribute on the Jumbotron and then he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

This is one of the stranger looking bobbleheads the Dodgers have given away. It commemorates the no-hitter Fernando pitched on June 29, 1990. Fernando wore glasses at the time, big gold glasses! Now, the bobblehead's gold glasses are a bit exaggerated, but that's the cool thing about it. Other than that it's pretty damn plain. 

As most of you know, this is the fourth Fernando bobblehead the Dodgers have given away since they started handing them out back in 2001. If you ask me, it's enough. Yes, Fernando is a huge part of Dodger Stadium's 50 year history and he needed to be represented somehow, but they could have paired him up with Jaime Jarrin, who was somehow left out of the Stadium Greats Series after calling games in Spanish for the Dodgers for 54 years. In my opinion, this Fernando bobble was just another money grab by Frank McCourt, and I hope the new ownership group doesn't have to resort to these kind of tactics. Putting a good product on the field and winning will get people into the stadium and it looks like they've already begun doing that.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Meeting Hideo Nomo

After a two week hiatus, I've decided to get back to the blog. I have to admit, the break has been nice. I probably would have taken more time off had it not been for the Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead giveaway on Tuesday, which I'll get into later this week, and the encounter with one of my idols, former Dodger Hideo Nomo, on Wednesday. 

The 90's weren't the best years for Dodger fans, but we did get to see some great players. Hideo Nomo was one of those players. I tell my kids about him all the time. In my opinion, Nomo is the greatest Japanese pitcher ever, so when I got a tip from Facebook friend Juan that Nomo would be in Compton, I got real excited. 

So what exactly was a legend like Nomo doing in Compton, California? Managing a Japanese 15-U baseball team. Nomo's team played against an American MLB Urban Youth Academy team that was managed by former Angels pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa. There were two games being played that day, one at 3:00, which I couldn't attend because of work, and another at 7:30.

I drove down to Compton with my good friend Mike from Nomo's Sushi Platter. He's the biggest Nomo fan I know and I'm sure he was more excited than I was. When we arrived, we ran into only one other person we knew and we were very surprised by that.We expected other autograph seekers to be there, but it was mostly parents of the kids in the stands. After taking a walk around the stadium, we spotted Nomo in one of the dugouts and decided to sit nearby. Let me tell you, we were all very nervous, but when Mike saw him in there he went for it! He asked him for an autograph. Hideo told us one minute, and he was true to his word. He called  us over and signed for us. He even took pictures! 

After getting the autograph, we could have left, but we decided to stay for the game. It was a pretty good game too. Both teams look like they have some future professionals. After the game, there was a nice closing ceremony in which all the players got medals. Hideo and Hasegawa even signed some more, which I took advantage of because I didn't know if I would ever get the opportunity again. 

This was one of the greatest days I've had as a Dodger fan and as an autograph collector. Thanks to Juan for the information. I had a great time! I also want to give a shoutout to my friends David from David's Autograph Signings and Benson. Glad you guys got the auto!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Player Appearance: Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Sweet Lou Johnson And Ken Howell

On Sunday, August 5, the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills hosted the MVP Sports Foundation's 4th annual  All-Star Auction and Dodger Reunion to benefit the Simi Valley Little League. Former Dodgers Rick Monday, Reggie Smith, "Sweet" Lou Johnson and Ken Howell were in attendance. The benefit featured two auctions, one live and one silent, both with many nice pieces of sports memorabilia up for bid. The  event was scheduled from 4:30 to 9:30 and admission was $20 at the door.

When I arrived at the Canyon Club, I just happened to walk in right behind Reggie Smith. I was there to get autographs, so it was nice to start off fast. Reggie signed one ball and one card for me. Then he got mobbed by other autograph seekers.

After I got Smith, I took a look around at the silent auction items. I bid on a couple of pieces that had fair starting prices. While I was checking things out, Ken Howell and Lou Johnson walked in. Ken signed a couple of cards for me and I got a picture with Lou. I had just got Lou to sign a few things for me a couple of days earlier so I didn't get anything signed at this event. 

After a few minutes the last of the former Dodgers arrived, Rick Monday. I got him to sign a ball for me as soon as he walked through the door, then he got mobbed just like Smith did. People were throwing multiple items at him and he signed away. Monday then got on stage and got the whole benefit started. Once Monday got off the stage he continued to sign and take pictures. That's when I got a couple of cards signed and got a pic with him.

The whole event was very entertaining. There was live music from a group called the Lapdogs, then the live auction began. The first two item up for bid were an Andre Ethier framed signed jersey and a Matt Kemp framed signed jersey. The Ethier went for $350 and the Kemp for $600. Other items being auctioned off were vacations, helicopter rides and batting lessons from Reggie Smith.

As I mentioned, I did bid on a few items in the silent auction. I only won one of them, a ball signed by Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen. 

I had a great time at this event and can't wait to go back next year.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sandy Koufax Bobblehead Night

Tuesday, August 7 was Sandy Koufax bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium. Presented by Time Warner Cable, the Dodgers gave away Koufax bobbles to the first 50,000 fans in attendance. Koufax and Vin Scully are the two bobbleheads Dodger fans have been waiting for for a long time and we finally got our hands on the first of the two.

When I arrived at Dodger Stadium I noticed a lot of people leaving with cases of bobbleheads. I've seen people do this in the past, but this time there were more people doing it then usual. I should have taken pictures of some of the stacks of tickets people had. I saw one guy with a couple hundred! Not sure how many of those people stayed, but the stadium looked pretty empty. Vin Scully announced 50,000+ but I don't think it was even close.

The one disappointing thing about the entire night was Koufax not being in attendance. In my heart I was hoping he would be at Dodger Stadium, but I knew it wasn't gonna happen. Maybe one of these days he'll surprise us all and throw out the first pitch.

On to the bobblehead. Koufax is my favorite athlete of all time, so this bobble has now become my favorite. Nothing too special here, but it sure does look like the great lefty.

Up next, Fernando Valenzuela on Tuesday, August 21.