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Preview: Blue Heaven

Dodgers Blue Heaven



Rest, Relax And Put Your Blue On. Dodger Blue passion mixed in with an obsessive compulsive desire to scour the world for rare and interesting Dodgers and Baseball collectibles.



Updated: 2017-01-23T17:51:57.178-08:00

 



Welcome to the Blue, Logan Forsythe!

2017-01-23T17:51:57.184-08:00

Just when I thought, as many did, that the Dodgers were effectively done for the winter they go ahead to make a trade.  As you may have heard, the Dodgers have found a solution to their second base problem this coming season.  They have traded for Tampa Bay second baseman Logan Forsythe in exchange for top-flight right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon.  Per a Dodger press release:Forsythe, 30, has combined to slug 57 doubles, 37 homers and drive in 120 runs in 280 games with Tampa Bay over the past two seasons, including batting .264 with 52 RBI and setting career-best marks with 20 home runs, four triples and 76 runs scored as the Rays’ primary leadoff hitter in 127 games last year. In 2015, batting in the middle of the Rays’ lineup, Forsythe led Tampa Bay qualifiers in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.359) and slugging percentage (.444), while posting a .299/.373/.599 slashline against left-handers. His slugging percentage against lefties (.599) ranked third in the American League in 2015, behind only Nelson Cruz (.673) and Josh Donaldson (.632).Forsythe has a .255 career batting average with 55 homers and 203 RBI in 618 games in six big-league seasons with the Padres (2011-13) and Rays (2014-16) after being selected by San Diego in the first round (46th overall) of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arkansas. The Tennessee native has primarily appeared at second base during the course of his career (.980 fielding percentage in 456 games), but has also seen work at third base (56 games), first base (27 games), shortstop (19 games) and outfield (16 games).He certainly isn't Brian Dozier, but he will do.  On a side note, you have to wonder if the Twins will regret not pulling the trigger on a trade to get JDL for Dozier.  On another note, it sucks seeing De Leon go elsewhere.  I feel pretty good that he'll be a solid back-end rotation starter for many years, and I think we would've enjoyed watching him pitch alongside his best bud - Julio Urias.  As for second base, the Dodgers have acquired a solid ballplayer to play the position for the next two season.  Forsythe is due $7.0million this coming season, and the Dodgers hold a team option for 2018 at $8.5million.  He doesn't have the bat or power of a Dozier, but he did wallop 20 dingers last season - a career high.  BTW, he batted mostly lead-off for the Rays last year.  With the glove he is an average defender and is likely to be a small step-up in that department from Chase Utley.  Lastly, Logan is apparently not on twitter... Wat's up wit dat?In celebration of Forsythe's recent trade to the Dodgers I have made the above fantasy Baseball card of him using the 1969 Topps Baseball card design and a photo taken originally by Dennis Maffezzoli at the Herald Tribune.Below are his career statistics, via Baseball-Reference: height="200" scrolling="auto" src="http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=Nc2eG&output=iframe" width="500"><br>Report Created on <a href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/">Baseball-Reference.com</a><br>* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 1/23/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-01-23T15:47:53.429-08:00

On Saturday both Dave Roberts and Corey Seager received their respective awards from the Writers Association of American annual dinner.  As you know Roberts was named the "Manager of the Year" and Seager won the "Rookie of the Year" awards.As you may know, Dave Roberts battled cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, several years ago, so he made the point of talking about it.  Per Mark Newman at MLB.com: "Jed Hoyer is here, and he's one of my very good friends," Roberts said of the Cubs general manager, sitting at a nearby table. "As I was going through cancer in 2010, he gave me a job as a Padres special assistant to him. Baseball got me through it. Jed, I really appreciate you giving me some off-days to go through chemo and get through it. We're here."Photo above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1932 the Brooklyn Dodgers traded for future Hall of Famer Hack Wilson (during the tail end of his career) for a minor leaguer and some cash.  In 1962 Jackie Robinson, along with Bob Feller, are selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first years of eligibility.  Happy Birthday, Joey Amalfitano & Billy Mullen!The first leg of the Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour begins today.  This afternoon Joc Pederson will be at the Silverlake Dog Park at 1863 Silver Lake Boulevard (weather permitting) to meet with fans and their dogs.  There will be photos and giveaways. UPDATE:  This event has been cancelled due to rain and will be rescheduled.  Stay tuned for more information.Video:  MLB Network names Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers first among starting pitchers in the league right now (Link Here).Video:  Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager accepts his NL Rookie of the Year award at the Esurance BBWAA Awards Dinner in New York (Video Link). Video:  Sharon Robinson presents Dodgers manager Dave Roberts with the NL Manager of the Year award at the Esurance BBWAA Awards Dinner (Video Link).Per Matthew Moreno at Dodger Blue; "2017 MLB Draft: Dodgers’ Top Pick Locked In At No. 23 Overall." Some funny stuff.  Per Daniel Brim at Dodgers Digest; "Important: Kenta Maeda Can’t Draw."Dodgers prospect Cody Bellinger tops MLB Pipelines list of top first base prospects, per Mike Rosenbaum at MLB.com.Per Jacob Rudner at Think Blue LA; "Off-season report: Ross Stripling."“My goal headed into the season is just to build on what I was able to do last year,” Stripling said. “Whether I’m in a starting position or a relief role, I was able to have different successes and failures in each and just want to learn from what went right and wrong and build on it. I know what it takes to be a starter, to be in a long-relief role or to come in and get one or two outs because I’ve done it all. So hopefully that gives me experience and confidence that I’m able to build on and use it to get big league hitters out consistently.” Via Nick Diunte at Baseball Happenings; "How Red Adams turned a devastating injury into a five decade journey in baseball."An Old Friend Alert.  Via Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports Network; "Rangers sign James Loney to minor-league deal."* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 1/20/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-01-20T11:05:13.973-08:00

I love this photo.Featured is some in-game action on an International News press photo taken by Arthur Sasse (known for his pic of Albert Einstein sticking his tongue out), dated October 4, 1952.  (eBay Auction Link)  Per the descriptor on the reverse:Yankee left fielder Gene Woodling scrambles safely back to seconf as Dodger Billy Cox's throw to Hodges beats Hank Bauer in the second inning of the fourth World Series Game.  Cox took Bauer's grounder, bluffed Woodling back to second and the nipped Bauer.Unfortunately, the Dodgers would lose this game, 2-0, and eventually lose the series in seven games to the Yanks.Below are more links to check out:Happy Birthday, Bill Schardt, Bill Zimmerman & Cecil Espy!RIP.  "Former Dodger pitching coach Red Adams passes away at 95," per Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider.Dodgers Job Posting:  LADF Associate - LOS ANGELES DODGERS FOUNDATION (2017 LA DODGERS FOUNDATION ASSOCIATES PROGRAM) This news first broke last year.  Per an AP report; "Two Dodgers security guards arrested on theft charges."  These guys apparently took some equipment and uniforms, and sold them into the secondary market.  If I remember right their capture was an elaborate setup where the team, after realizing that stuff had gone missing, placed hidden cameras in discreet locations and caught them in the act.Keith Law at ESPN ranks the Dodgers farm as the fifth best in Baseball (Link Here):There are systems that run deeper in likely regulars, because those teams have been able to focus just on building without having to balance that and contention, but for a team this good to have this kind of star potential in full-season ball is remarkable. Baseball America's online newsletter makes note of Dodger prospect O'Koyea Dickson in the Mexican Winter Leagues (link here):Dickson, a 12th-round pick in 2011 from Sonoma State, had by far his best pro season in 2016 and has carried that into winter ball in Mexico. In a semifinal playoff game Wednesday for Hermosillo, Dickson, 26, was 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs in a 7-2 win over Mexicali. The best-of-seven series is tied 3-3 with Game Seven Thursday night. Dickson has plus bat speed and a sound swing and it seems only a late-season quad injury kept him from making his major league debut.  Blowout Buzz provides an early peek at Topps 2017 Heritage Baseball card set; including the Clayton Kershaw card on the right.  Go here to check out more pics.  This set goes live on May 31st.Per Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports; "The Dodgers are looking all over the place for a second baseman."Most of the Dodgers’ preferences are not known, but they’ve spoken with the Rangers about infielder Jurickson Profar, sources said. Two other switch-hitting second basemen — the Phillies’ Cesar Hernandez and Nationals’ Wilmer Difo -– would be potential fits, but it is not confirmed that they actually are on the Dodgers’ radar.The Dodgers also could turn back to Chase Utley, but they would prefer a right-handed hitter, likely decreasing their interest in two other free agents, Stephen Drew and Dustin Ackley, as well. The newest issue of Baseball America features Cody Bellinger on the cover, via Baseball America on twitter.  Check it out below.* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Charles Fazzino Painted Baseballs of Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax

2017-01-19T13:42:10.564-08:00

If you follow this blog then you know that I love Dodgers related artwork.  You probably also know that I have an special appreciation for painted Baseballs. After all, is there a better way to meld art and the game then to draw on the thing that everyone on the field and in the stands focus on?In the past I've had the pleasure of interviewing sports artist Monty Sheldon (link here) and have highlighted numerous balls painted by noted American folk artist George Sosnak (link here).  Today, I focus on a painted Baseball by New York based pop artist Charles Fazzino that I ran into when recently checking out SCP's current auction.  (SCP Auction Link)  Check it out above and directly below.As you can see, the subject of this Baseball is Clayton Kershaw and it has been beautifully painted on all six panels, and even includes a signature by our ace.  As with all of Fazzino's work, this ball includes plenty of sparkles, bright bold colors and a 3D effect (check out the Dodgers logo above Clayton's signature in the pic above).  ---------------While preparing this post I ran into a second Charles Fazzino painted Baseball of Clayton Kershaw on eBay. (Auction Link Here)  Check it out below.  This Baseball makes note of his no-hitter in 2014.  The asking price is nearly $2,000.---------------Then I ran into a painted Fazzino Baseball that sold in mid-December of last year that features Sandy Koufax.  This ball sold for a far more reasonable $493.00 (Auction Link Here)  * Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 1/10/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-01-19T10:22:10.907-08:00

With the Dodgers fanfest around the corner I thought that the above press photo from the New York Times would be appropriate.  It features throngs of Dodger fans celebrating in front of the Dodger Cafe on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn following the teams Game 7 victory over the Yankees in 1955.BTW, autograph tickets and VIP experience tickets go on sale today at 1:00 PM for the general public.  Season ticket holders, as of this posting, are already placing their orders.  Go here for more information.Below are more links to check out:This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1972 Sandy Koufax was elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame -- become the youngest player to ever to be enshrined.   In 1983 the Dodgers traded popular third baseman Ron Cey to the Cubs for Vance Lovelace and a minor leaguer.  Happy Birthday, Dolly Stark & Shawn Tolleson!I'd like to extend a hearty congratulations to Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez for their election into the Hall of Fame yesterday.  Go to the BBWAA website for the official announcement, here.Also, I thought I'd pass along a youtube video featuring an interview with Tim Raines.  It was conducted by college student and Montreal Expos fan who had lied his way towards getting press credentials in 2004.  Check it out here. Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider; "Former Dodgers fall short in Hall of Fame balloting."  The numbers for Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield continue to disappoint.  Couldn't anyone have given Casey Blake a single vote for the Hall of Fame?  I truly believe that his magnificent manly beard deserved at least one vote.  JD Drew, on the other hand, deserved the lack of recognition.  Can you tell that I'm still miffed at his decision to opt-out and leave town?Just in case you care, Topps has released a complete checklist for their flagship 2017 Topps Series 1 BAseball card set.  Go here to check it out.  Of note, for the first time only one of the "First Pitch" cards is from Dodger Stadium.  Ha! Ha!  Via a tweet by San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Shea on twitter:Tim Raines waited 10 years to be in the Hall of Fame. He made folks on the BBWAA conference call wait 10 minutes. That's cool.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) January 19, 2017 With the NHL All-Star Game in LA around the corner I wanted to extend a hearty congrats to both Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter for being selected as the Kings reps, via NHL.com.* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Welcome to the Blue, Jose Miguel Fernandez!

2017-01-09T16:13:17.696-08:00

Word spread this past weekend that the Dodgers were in the midst of signing another Cuban free agent.  His name is Jose Miguel Fernandez, he bats left-handed, and has primarily been a second baseman but has been playing third this winter.  Fernandez originally tried to escape Cuba in 2014 but failed, then actually escaped in December 2015, and received MLB free agent status in April the following year.  It is a minor league deal with a bonus of $200,000; per Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com.Why it took til this past week to sign a deal?  I do not know.  Per Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors:Back in April 2015, Baseball America’s Ben Badler ranked Fernandez as the third-best player in Cuba, with Badler praising Fernandez’s approach at the plate, contact skills and plate discipline.  Fernandez his .319/.403/.423 over 2580 career plate appearances in the Serie Nacional, recording 263 walks against just 113 strikeouts.  Badler felt Fernandez was only an “adequate” fielder at second base and graded his power and baserunning as below average, though overall, Fernandez was thought to be a player capable of more or less stepping right into the major leagues.And here are some notes from an April 2016 report on Fernandez by Ben Badler at Baseball America:Among the concerns with Fernandez were his thickening lower half and declining range at second base, but he has lost significant weight since leaving Cuba, another reason why scouts are interested to get an updated look at him....Given his present hitting ability and on-base skills, Fernandez should be able to quickly step into the top of a major league lineup, though part of his immediate readiness depends on how sharp is after a significant layoff from competitive baseball.  With a spot at second base still open Jose's pending signing adds an interesting wrinkle to the situation.  As you know, the Dodgers have been closely linked to trade rumors surrounding second baseman Brian Dozier of the Twins, so you have to wonder if Los Angeles is taking a step back from those discussions.  After all, they now have a couple maybes to fill the position in the high-minors (Fernandez and Willie Calhoun), and a backup catcher in Austin Barnes who can play second base (he got into seven games last season).  Or, maybe this is just a way to tell the Twins that the Dodgers are ready to move on and wont be swayed by whatever crazy rumors their front office wants to spread.BTW, Fernandez has been playing in the Dominican winter league, per Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest:He played winter ball for Aguilas Cibaenas and hit .286/.369/.286 in 56 at-bats, walking eight times and striking out five. And, as you can deduce from his slugging percentage, he did not have an extra base hit. In celebration of Jose's recent signing with the Dodgers I have made the above fantasy Baseball card of him - using the 1988 Score Baseball card design.Below are his career statistics in Cuba, via Baseball-Reference: height="200" scrolling="auto" src="http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=Xmwpy&output=iframe" width="500">Report Created on Baseball-Reference.com* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



2016 Panini National Treasures Baseball - The Dodgers Booklet Cards

2017-01-09T12:54:16.665-08:00

A couple of weeks ago Panini released their 2016 National Treasures Baseball card set, and I am only now able to share some pics of the Dodger cards found within it.  Go here for a complete checklist.  I am still working on gathering pics of the base cards, so I figured I start with photos of many of the Dodger booklet cards that are available.Something of note, I've run into several cards that are not listing in the original checklist provided by Panini, so there could very well be more Dodger cards out there that we don't know about.  For instance, there is an Clayton Kershaw Stars Booklet Materials Signatures card available that is not found on their checklist.Armory Materials Booklet #4 Corey Seager Dual Materials Booklet #8 Clayton Kershaw - not yet seenAll Out Jerseys Booklet #2 Yasiel Puig - not yet seen Triple Player Materials Booklet #3 Ripken, Brett & PiazzaQuad Player Materials Booklet #1 Clemente, Musial, Robinson & William#2 Seager, Schwarber, Sano & Story  #3 Kershaw , deGrom, Bumgarner & ArrietaTwelve-Player Materials Booklet #1 Lemon, Crosetti, Frisch, Goslin, Boudreau, Lajoie, Crawford, Simmons, Klein, Groh, Daubert, & Bresnahan (not yet seen)#2 Larkin, Jones, Howard, Carter, Piazza, smith, Robinson, Ripken, Banks, Carter, Bench, Piazza, Schmidt, Boggs, BoggsSixteen-Player Materials Booklet #2 Kershaw#3 Seager, ThompsonLegends Booklet Materials #8 Pee Wee Reese Legends Cuts Booklet Materials #11 Roy Campanella - not yet seen#38 Duke Snider - not yet seen#52 Pee Wee Reese - not yet seen#63 Burleigh Grimes - not yet seen#66 Don Drysdale - not yet seen#13 Carl Furillo #54 Walter Alston Not on checklist:#Billy Herman Star Booklet Materials #17 Adrian Gonzalez Stars Booklet Materials Signatures #27 Corey Seager #32 Adrian Gonzalez not yet seenNot on Checklist#Clayton KershawTreasure Chest 24 Materials Booklet #1 Beltre & Kershaw - 24 playersTreasure Chest 32 Materials Booklet #1 Seager & Peraza - 32 players* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 1/9/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-01-09T10:12:10.966-08:00

Check out this fantastic Sandy Koufax artwork found on the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel; pic via Jonathon Mayo on twitter.  It was part of a photo op for an upcoming documentary that follows the Israeli Baseball teams travels as they head towards the World Baseball Classic later this year.  Via Ben Fisher at the Jerusalem Post:A group of 10 past, current, and future Major League Baseball players, including first-baseman Ike Davis and former outfielder Gabe Kapler, are in the country for a week-long tour that has seen them help to break ground at a new baseball field in Beit Shemesh, meet with MK Michael Oren, who hails from the United States, and enjoy the typical tourist sites around the country, including the Dead Sea, Masada and Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre....“We brought [the players] here to have some kind of connection [with Israel]. That way, when the tournament actually starts in March, we’ll have people really, really excited about it,” she said.Below are more links to check out:Happy Birthday, Harley Payne, George Crable, Ivan de Jesus, Ferrell Anderson & Otis Nixon!Via John Sickels at Minor League Ball; "Los Angeles Dodgers Top 20 prospects for 2017."Harold Uhlman at Think Blue LA shares his, "2017 Dodgers 20 and under team."Via Stefan Stevenson at the Star-Telegram; "Clayton Kershaw, Shawn Tolleson and Chris Young visit Cowboys facility."“He’s a fierce competitor,” Garrett (Cowboys coach) said of Kershaw, who pitched at Highland Park before the Los Angeles Dodgers. Garrett said he’s played video clips of Kershaw to Cowboys’ players to show how hard he competes. The Panini America blog shares some preview pics of their 2017 Donruss brand Baseball cards; including the Corey Seager card on the right.  This set hits the market on March 1st.  Go here to check out more pics. Via Shira Springer at WBUR; "Rich Hill Pitches For The LA Dodgers, His Family And His Late Son." "Life keeps moving forward, it doesn't matter. People die, daily life continues, but with a different view on life, an understanding of time and how precious life is. We live for our son Brooks and with his memory on an everyday basis." Via J.P. Butler at the Olean Times Herald; "Remembering Bradner Stadium's baseball past: NYCBL All-Star game conjures memories of big Bradner moments."  He recalls the time when Jackie Robinson played a game at Bradner Stadium in Olean, NY amidst a standing room only crowd. Gary Joseph Cieradkowski at the Infinite Baseball Card Set shares his fantasy Ralph Branca card.  Check it out here. He always wanted to stay Blue.  Via Buster Olney at ESPN:Teammates knew that Justin Turner wanted to stay with the Dodgers. In fact, he didn’t bother pretending that he might seriously consider offers from other teams. Turner never cleaned out his locker after the close of the 2016 season and continued to work out at Dodger Stadium. Blowout Buzz shares a bunch of preview pics of Topps 2017 Bunt Baseball card set; including the Clayton Kershaw card on the right.  Go here to check out more pics. This set comes out on May 10th.Adding more to their scouting staff.  Per Matthew Moreno at Dodger Blue; "Dodgers Rumors: L.A. To Hire Former Blue Jays Scouting Director Brian Parker." A couple Dodgers minor league transaction.  Via Harold Uhlman at Think Blue LA; "Dodgers sign Steve Geltz as minor league free agent."  He's a right-handed reliever with limited Major League experience.  Uhlman also adds that the, "Dodgers sign Fabio Castillo to minor league contract."  He's a 27-year old right-handed pitcher.An old friend alert.  Via Steve Adams at MLB trade Rumors; "Nationals Hire De Jon Watson As Special Assistant."* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]