Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cardboard Diamonds Arrive From The King

Hey everybody,

There were a couple of good things in store for me on Friday.  One was attending my first Dodger game of the year, which I documented with photos in my previous post.   The second pleasant happenstance was receipt of an awesome PWE blaster from The Diamond King.  

 Kevin read my collector's mind when he packed this envelope with these cardboard diamonds...

Above is a great SSPC card of Number 20, out at old Shea Stadium.

Below is a FANTASTIC addition !  I totally dig these vintage subsets commemorating past playoffs and especially World Series'.

Here we see the 1969 Amazin' Mets chugging their way to ultimately becoming World Series Champs.  Ken Boswell crosses the plate as Art Shamsky (24) and big Ed Kranepool (7) ready themselves to give him high fives.

However, I'm not sure a high five would have been the home plate greeting in '69.  While "gimme five" was in use, back then it was usually practiced belt high, not sky high.  I'm also guessing shaking hands at the plate was still in fashion with the majority of ballplayers.

 Lookit this!  It's Richie Hebner vs. Ty Cline in another great black and white action card. It's the 1970 Playoffs between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Zinzinatti Reds.  Awesomeness.

Here's the backside.  I love it when these rosters read like a roll call at the baseball hall of legends. 

How about some more cool Dodger cards...

This is a great new addition to my Manny Mota collection.  Is that Candlestick Park in the background?

I had a lot of favorite Dodgers over the years.  Wes Parker was the first.  Parker once had a cameo on The Brady Bunch.  

I'm digging the old-time Dodger Stadium outfield wall and folks sunburning - errr, sunbathing -  in the pavilion. Those tickets used to be $2 back in the day.  

 Speaking of old-time Dodger Stadium, here's a great shot of the seats in the colors that I grew up with.  We never talked about sitting in Reserved Section or Top Deck.  We spoke in terms of sitting in the blue, red or yellow seats. 

Also included in the shot are a bunch of Dodger greatsAlong with Alston the skipper, the team photo features The Infield (GCLR), Manny Mota, Don Sutton, Willie Crawford, Ferguson and Yeager.  

Great stuff, Kevin !  Thanks so much.  I'll get back at you with some nice stuff once again.

THANKS for reading, everybody.   

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Night At Chavez Ravine Dodgers vs. Brewers

Earlier this week my man inside Dodger Stadium offered two tickets to me for last night's game. Because of his position at the stadium, he's eligible to receive two complimentary tickets for two games every homestand.  He says he's never used the seats, but after six years, it's time.  I was lucky enough to be first in line.

I was especially excited, as this would be my first trip out to the stadium this season.  Last night my seats (started out) in the Club section of the stadium, so why not show a few photos from there, as one or two of you may not have seen things from that perspective. 

Here we go...

It's a beautiful evening in LA.  On my way to pick up my tix at Club level.

Club level is cool for a few reasons.  It's the level with the large party suites. This is where LA politicians, Hollywood, and the riche watch the game in elegance and tubs of champagne.  That was not where I sat.

It's also home to the media and Vin Scully's broadcast booth.  Lots of fancy rooms with impressive names are here as well.  I couldn't find the Tommy Lasorda commissary.

Lots of Dodgers history on display around here.  Below you see a wall displaying press and media guides all the way back to Brooklyn...

Here's the 1956 guide, showing the Bums finally won. 

Our seats were on the third base wing, beyond the executive suites. To the right you can see the left field pavilions - bleachers on the east coast.  In the space between and down is the Dodger bullpen.

For you Kemp fans...

The walls were lined with these photo blowups of all the Dodger yearbooks through the years.  I took this pic for GCRL.  Sorry Jim, blogger insisted on adding this photo sideways. 

On the right side of the photo below you can see these yearbook blowups.  This Lopes photo was magnificent on that scale.

Here's the old bullpen pitcher's delivery cart from back in the day.  How cool would it have been to be that driver?

There was a charity auction for the Dodgers Foundation

Wall display of ticket stubs from past events gone by. 

After a few innings my buddy stopped by to check on us and he mentioned he had some empty seats lower and closer to the plate.  So we moved in time to catch this view of what an incoming home run pitch looks like to Carl Crawford...
A split second later - BLAMMO !  Home Run !

These new seats were in the section reserved for visitor's families, so there were a few Brewer fans around.  This guy was wearing a Yount jersey and wouldn't stop eating his mitt.

Carl Crawford got hit by a Rolando Belisario unleashed some Dodger chin music.  Note the Brewer looking for his contacts in the dirt.
We returned to our original seats for the 9th.  The Dodgers won what was a good back-and-forth battle, 7-5.

We returned to the cushioned (and warmer) Club seats in order to have a good view of the postgame fireworks show.  Fans can go out on the field and watch. 

It's Fireworks!  What a great night out at the stadium.  Thanks for the tickets, Dave!

One last bit of good news - the giants lost! 

THANKS for reading, everybody!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anybody Going To The Game Tomorrow Night?

Hey everybody,

How's it going out there?  Things are good in Dodgerlandia these days as we've stopped the bleeding and managed to win a couple.  That's the good news.

The even better news is, the Boys are headed back to the best coast for some home cookin'.  On top of all that, my man inside Dodger Stadium has got me a couple of duckets for tomorrow night, and I'll be attending my first game o' the season - FINALLY !

I have no idea where the seats are, but I'm hoping they'll be sweet.  Anyways, there aint a bad seat in the house when you're at the ol' ballgame, right?

So are there any Dodger bloggers out there going to the game also?  If we can manage it, let's try to say "hi".  I'll take a stack of Dodger cards to trade or - if your cardboard supplies are low, I'll be happy to just gift them out to you.

Of course, if any readers out there wanna say "hi" and trade a little, or want an ATBATT gift of a fistfull of cards, that's equally cool.

If so, just shoot me an email and we'll go from there. 

...even more good's Friday Night Fireworks!!! Ya-hoooooo!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yet Even More Cardboard Goodness From Jim (GCRL) and Brian (30YOC)

Hey everybody,

I received another batch of cool cards from a couple of great, generous traders who run a couple of the most awesome card blogs out there.  Readers, if you're not yet visiting and following Jim at GCRL and Brian at 30 Years of Cardboard, get on over there and get in some fun and educational (cards-wise) reading.

It's late tonight, so without further ado, let's see some cards.  First up, from 30 YOC...

 Most everyone has commented on their love of these Collisions at the Plate from 2013 Gypsy Queen, and the dude abides.  These cards are super cool.  It doesn't get much better than this one. 

The L.A. Times just started to run a series on the top 20 Dodgers of all time.  Sutton was listed as number 20.  I don't think I would place him that low on the list, but I'm glad he made the cut.

But of course, I hadda have this one.

Here comes the cards from GCRL...

It's vintage because we say it is. 
 Shawn Green cards are always welcome, as Green was one of my sons' favorite Dodgers while they were growing up.  Green's cards always go right into their collections. 

 The same goes for Sheffield.  He was my oldest son's favorite Dodger.  As he was was growing up through PONY baseball, my son always had the Sheffield bat wig-wag.  Lucky for him, he also had the bat speed and power to back it up.

On July 2, 1957, good ol' Lee hit for the cycleAtta boy, Walls!
My second all-time favorite Dodger manager.  Check out that seismograph, ancient phone thing behind Alston.

Love this card.  Hatch looking like it's pure joy to be on the diamond.

Meet the boys.
 THANKS for the great, great cards, Brian and Jim.  I really enjoy our trades.

THANKS for reading, everybody!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Never Thought I Would See The Day...

It is now becoming one of the strangest Dodger's seasons I've ever seen - and I've seen plenty.

I've come to the bewildering conclusion that a "bases loaded" situation is the worst thing that can happen to this squad.  I'll say that once again, because I'm pretty sure on every other team in MLB, the opposite is true...

BASES LOADED IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO MY TEAM!  The season is officially upside down.

Before today's game, the Dodgers were 1 for 21 with the bases loaded.

On the bright side, these 2013 Dodgers have loaded the bases 21 times.   That's pretty good for an early season stat.  However, the Dodger batters have gotta DO SOMETHING with that.  Matt Kemp - who didn't even start in the final game against the Padres - came up TWICE with the bases juiced, and both times crapped out.

The situation arose yet again in today's game.  The newest Dodger, Ramon Hernandez, got his shot at a bases loaded situation.  Every batter wants that, right?  Ramon officially joined the boys when he fouled a pitch back into the catcher's mitt and the inning was over.  Now 1 for 22.

You're probably saying, "Don't gimme one stat and say these super talented, highly paid Dodgers are not the team we want them to be."  Fair enough.  I won't focus on one little tree, let's look at the forest.  With runners in scoring position, before today's game, the Boys in Blue are batting a ridiculous .171. Hell, they're not even batting MY weight!

Yes, I know it's early and anything can happen.  But the Casey Stengal inside of me fears nothing's gonna happen until something happens!

 Where to look for answers to what ails this team?  Matt Kemp is one target, for sure.

Yes, him.

The L.A. mainstream press has been verrrryy forgiving and patient of Kemp up to this point.  While they obligingly list his abysmal stats, most articles pointing fingers at the anemic Dodger hitting have let Kemp off easy.

Most Dodger fans say Kemp will come around...eventually.  As a Dodger fan myself, I certainly hope so.   There was a good sign as Kemp was credited with three hits in today's first game of a double-header with the Orioles.  Maybe he'll break out - starting today.  But did we really have to lose 3-5 games while Kemp kept killing rallies and innings in all those other games up to this point?

All that said, Kemp's just one guy.  Surely one big bat in a slump shouldn't sputter a club as much as this.  Especially when the club has other guys hitting pretty well.   Guys like Adrian Gonzalez,

 Carl Crawford,

 and almost-hitting-pretty-well Andre Ethier.

Don't look at me. I hit a home run today. 

So why isn't this club winning more games?  Why do Dodger pitchers have to work harder than necessary, more often than necessary?

When a stable of starting pitchers or a bullpen is not doing well, the press will occasionally look up the pitching coach.  Well, since we're not hearing from the bats he's supposedly coaching, why aren't we hearing something from this guy?  

simply 'roid up and swing fer the fences!  Right?

 When word first hit the wires that Cheater Mcgwire was hired to be the Dodger's new batting coach, I asked if we were going to hire a cheater, why the heck didn't we hire Pete Rose, the Hit King?  That debate aside, McGwire's the man, and he's MIA in more ways than one.

I've come to the conclusion this guy isn't a very good manager.

He's certainly not a World Series caliber manager.  This team was assembled to be a World Series caliber tam.  We've got a Formula Series race car with a Manhattan cabbie for a driver.

In a basic test of managerial capabilities - Mattingly has shown he simply won't tweak a batting order to capitalize on hot hitters (see Luis Cruz in his moment of brilliance last season), nor is he willing to drop an inning-killing liability out of a prime hitting spot (see Matt Kemp end of 2012 and start of 2013).

But it's more than that. The team is starting to not believe in itself.  It's one thing for fans at home to change the channel when the Dodgers are down by 2 in the 6th.  It's another when you get the feeling the team isn't so sure it can come back also. 

A manager's job is to give his team the best chance of winning on any given day.  That means intelligently managing a line-up and a bullpen, and handling the unique psychology of a clubhouse full of major league egos.  Mattingly can't do those things and chew gum at the same time just yet.

It's time to consider the possibility that he learn his craft elsewhere. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ATBATT's All-Time All-Stars Center Field

Hey everybody,

This post closes out the fielding positions for my blog's take on the '76 Topps subset "The Sporting News All-Time All-Stars".   That final spot is Center Field.

For those of you who have been following this thread of posts, you well know that I've had some tough choices to make in my selections.  This one was just as tough, but in a completely different way.

You see, the type of Dodger fan that I am would ordinarily demand that I choose former Dodger Kenny Landreaux before I choose some dang giant for my All-Star team.

However, the type of baseball fan that I am demands that I choose only the best players for the squad.  So, ignoring the insignia on his cap, but not his abilities, I choose for Center Field, some dang giant...

Believe me, I wanted to choose somebody else.  My first emotional choice was Duke Snider - I think you know why.  My second choice was the card-collecting world's favorite son, Mickey Mantle.  But the more I checked the stats, the more Mays kept separating himself from that crowd. 

I don't have any original cards from Mays' playing days because they're so durn expensive, and of course, I don't really collect cards of giants.  That said, if a card came my way by trade, or if I came across a great card for a great price, like the one above, I would certainly jump on it.

In the same week that we celebrate the legacy of Jackie Robinson, get a gander at this card.  15 years after Jackie broke baseball's color barrier, the N.L. Home Run Leaders card is stacked with African-Americans and one Puerto Riqueno. 

Speaking of Willie and the bat, he retired as a lifetime .302 hitter and third in home runs behind only Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.

A true 5-tool player that I'll gladly accept on my team anytime, the Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays.

THANKS for reading, everybody!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Iconic Vintage Cards On Cards-Board

Hey everybody,

Well the wheels are really falling off the Dodger's wagon these days.  We just lost YET ANOTHER starting pitcher to injury.  Sheesh!

On the bright side, tomorrow night is Hello Kitty night at Dodger Stadium.  YAY !

But that's not why we're here tonight.  This post is all about some awesome cardboard I picked up in a trade with Kerry over at Cards On Cards.

Kerry first posted an iconic Reggie card that I've been chasing for quite a while.  Although the card depicts a terrible blow to the Dodgers - Reggie smashing 5 homers in the 1977 World Series  -  it's a magnificent card from one the guys I love to collect. 

This card is awesomely iconic.  No, it's iconically awesome!

The simple framing and text are secondary to the image as they should be, but they hold their own. How about that photo of Reggie ? All gritted teeth and home run arms.  Those Reggie glasses and that damned Yankee uniform.  Now THAT's a baseball card!

As I said, that was just the start.  Our trade talks went on and eventually expanded to include more cool stuff!  Check it out...

Did somebody say something about Reggie glasses?
 Back in the days before lasik, I used to wear glasses.  I'm not ashamed to say Reggie was an influence on my frames of choice at times.  Unfortunately, they never helped me to hit any home runs.

Speaking of icons...above are two who were greats of their generations.  Yes, it's another Yankee, but Goose Gossage was pretty damn good...and who's gonna argue with Fingers' mustache?  I'm quite satisfied to get both of these guys in one card. 

Although today's Padres and Dodgers players are kind of new to a rivalry between the two clubs, and  Speigel over at Nomo's Sushi Platter recently told us that he'll have to hack off a hunk of hatred toward the giants in order to apply some to that team down south,  I've had a healthy helping of L.A./S.D. fan rivalry since my college days.

One of my roommates was a Padres fan, so I know plenty of the old school Padres.  Heck, I'm a Benito Santiago fan, myself.  For what it's woth, one of my other roommates was a Cubs fan, so for good measure I know all about Jody Davis and good ol' Harry Carey.

The point of all that was it was great for me to pick up this card of an iconic Padre, Dave Winfield, flashing a smile that says his mama loves him.  And how about that old timer S.D. uniform?

I love commemorative cards when done right.  This is a perfect example.  What a photo.  Seaver staring in at the batter, with his face obscured in bad ass shadows that today's "photoshop first" editors would never allow.

Here's a trivia lurker question...who do you think that is at bat against Seaver?  My first impression tells me its Dave Concepcion from the Big Red Machine.  What do you think?

Finally, Kerry tossed something in that shows he's among the upper tier of traders...the guys who'll toss in something a little extra to make the trade even sweeter, just because it makes the trade even sweeter...

How about THIS blast?!!?

THANKS for a great trade, Kerry.
THANKS for reading everybody!