Hurry Up Spring Training

Dodger pitchers and catchers report to Camelback on February 22.  Full squad reports on February 28.  That makes it 16 days until we can preview the 2016 season.  I’m excited about new pitchers Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda.  Rounding out the starting pitchers are Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood. Brandon McCarthy should be ready by mid season.  It will be interesting how all this will play out.  It depends on how ready Ryu is.

So far Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig are safe.  The owners have said that they have no plans to trade either of them but we all know how that goes.  We again start Spring Training with a glut of outfielders which always leads to speculation about trades.  We also have extra second base:  Chase Utley and recently signed Howie Kendrick.  The signing of Kendrick surprised me since he had chosen to check out the free agent market.  He apparently didn’t get what he wanted so he is back with the Dodgers.

There really weren’t any surprises for me during the offseason except Zack Greinke.  Not sure why he chose to leave the Dodgers except for the money.  I hope he’s happy.  He was always one of my favorites probably because he was so quirky besides being an awesome pitcher.  I don’t think he fits in well with every team because, hey let’s face it, he is outspoken.  Don’t ask him anything unless you really want an honest answer.  Tact is not his strong suit.  That’s another reason I liked him so much. 

I’m glad that baseball is starting soon.  I’m a little burned out with work.  I can only play so much with my 5 month old kitten.  My life is baseball and my blog.  Everyone asks me when baseball is starting again.  Soon, I tell them.

  
Thanks for stopping by.  My blog will be in full swing in a few weeks.  I appreciate everyone still checking in.  Go Dodgers!!

The Excitement Begins

I’m getting excited.  I’m making firm plans for Spring Training.  Yesterday I booked my flight to Phoenix.  I’m leaving on March 15 from Long Beach Airport (my favorite airport) and returning on March 18.  I will be going to 3 games, on the 16th, 17th and 18th.  Fifteen days until Spring Training starts.  Where did the time go?
Thanks to my friend Norma for purchasing the game tickets.  We always go to the game on St Patrick’s Day so that was a given.  She is driving up on the 16th with her sister and other friends.  She is driving back after the last game.  I had to arrive on the 15th because of the flight times from Long Beach Airport.  If I left on the 16th, it would be too late to attend the game.   

  
I reserved a room by myself for the night of the 15th at the Residence Inn Marriott.  It is a bit expensive because after all, it’s Spring Training.  The other nights, I’m staying with Norma and her friends.  It will be a little crowded but should be fun anyway.

I hope to see my Dodger friends at the Spring Training games.  It will be a nice start to the 2016 season.  

Yesterday they signed Greg Maddux and Raul Ibanez as special assistants to Andrew Friedman who is the Dodger president of baseball operations.  Their roles will be to assist in baseball operations:  scouting, player development and working with the players.  I always have had a special place in my heart for Greg Maddux who is in the Hall of Fame and was once a Dodger.

Thanks for stopping by.   I just got my new camera in the mail yesterday so I am all set!!!

Fan Fest 2016

  
It was a gorgeous day for Fan Fest.  The weather was mild, in the 60’s.  Usually it is unbearably hot but it was amazingly wonderful.

  We got to the stadium as it was opening so the crowds were not too bad.  We were greeted with friendly security.  I decided it was much more fun to go to this event with my friends.  I tend to do everything by myself but certain things is much better with people you like.
  
I wore my new Kershaw shirt.

  The crowd grew as it got later

  
 The autograph line was not too bad.  It was well controlled this year.

  
 We thought we would check out the autographed ball grab bags.  We waited too long for the autographed jerseys.  They sold out.  My friends were able to snag two Maury Wills autographed balls.  Lucky.  The ball grab bags were $40 and the jersey grab bags were $80.  Last year the balls were $20 and the jerseys $40.  Inflation.  But it’s all for charity so I don’t mind paying.

  My friend Norma had been able to get an autograph voucher for Shawn Green for me.  He is and always will be my favorite Dodger.   We had to go online a week ago to get the vouchers.  They were all prepaid but to get the vouchers was very difficult.  I was only able to get two vouchers for Scott Kazmir but he was my number one priority.  Norma was more lucky.  She was able to get Shawn, Dave Roberts and Kike.  
   
 He was as usual friendly and nice.  I almost fainted when he said, “Hi again.”  No matter how often I see him, he still makes me nervous.  I was shaking so much, I could barely speak.

  
 The selfie police rained on my parade but oh well.  I’ll have to figure out how to erase her from this picture.

  Ross Stripling was partnered with Shawn in the autograph line.  He was very sweet.
  I was able to snag a picture of Chris Hatcher.  He smiled for the camera.  He had a great last half of the season.
  And this is….Zach Lee.
  
 Here is Ross’s autograph on lasts year’s batting practice ball.  The Dodger dirt adds a little character.

  There were on stage interviews.  Here’s Kike being his usual adorable self.
  I got close enough to get a pretty good picture of Kenley.  Norma really didn’t like the beard.
   

  
  Ron Cey…always a favorite Dodger
  
 Yaz

  Brandon McCarthy
  
 Austin Barnes who wins the prize for the most beautiful eyes

  Norma was getting hungry so we trekked to Tommy Lasorda’s Trattoria.  We aren’t used to buying food at the stadium so this was a first for me.
  We decided on pizza.  How can you go wrong?
  
 The line was depressingly long as were all the lines so I looked around.  I love the Cy Young mural..all the Dodgers who have won the coveted award.

  The pizza was pretty good but not sure if that slice was worth the $8.00+ that they charged for it.  A large soda was $6.00+.  Like I said, I’m not used to paying for stadium food so this hurt.
  
 We went back down to the crowded area since we had to stand in the autograph line again.  The crowd was terrible.

  
  
  
But it was nice being with my Dodger friends again.  They are the best.

   

Chase Utley was the next up for autographs.  He was cordial.

  
 Maybe not totally into it.  Utley ball below.

  
  But Scott Kazmir was very nice besides being gorgeous.  What do you think?  I really didn’t even know what he looked like.  I was impressed.  He will definitely remember me since I had one of my “you gotta be kidding” moments when I forgot my phone on the table and didn’t know where I had put it. I went into panic mode of course.  He helped me look around for it.
  His autograph 
  
  
  He signed a jersey for me as well.  I invested in a women’s Dodger jersey when I found out it wasn’t limited to one autograph a person.  I was able to use my MVP card and got a 30% discount.  Total cost of the jersey was about $60.  It was well worth it.  It’s usually difficult to get pitchers’ autographs during the season and I really am not into autographs.  I prefer pictures.  I was too nervous even to try a selfie after my phone fiasco.
  
 I had last year’s cap with me so I had the guys sign it for me.  Puig’s autograph is in the middle.  He likes to sign in the middle and usually writes so big, no one else can fit an autograph in.  The cap is a bit worn but I have many happy memories with it.  This was my fourth cap of the year since people like to walk off with it.  No matter how dirty and worn it is, it is a prime target for thieves.  I have to put a padlock on it if it’s not on my I head.  I had a cap with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig on it but that was stolen.  That hurt my heart. 

  We went into the Ketel One Baseline Club just to see it again.
  Lots of nice thoughts about the club.
  
I ran into Lisa, one of the ushers.  She is one of my favorite stadium people.

  We posed in front of a picture of Vinnie.
  
 We have to be goofy once in a while.

  
 We went into the game used store.  Matt is always very accommodating. He knows I’m always hunting for Bolsinger and Barney stuff.  I was lucky to get the official lineup card for the Atlanta Braves game July 22, 2015  where my Mike Bolsinger pitched.  It has a Mattingly signature on it.  The lineup card goes for about $170 during the season.  I got it for a mere $20.  I also bought a blue practice jersey for $20.  Thank you Matt.

  

  
  The crowd was thinning out as the day wore on.
  
I told Norma that the day wouldn’t be complete without selfies.

  
I’m getting better.  

We were tired by the end of the day but we had a great time.  We are looking forward to spring training in a couple of months.  Baseball season is getting closer and closer.

  I look forward to baseball season when I can see my friends all the time.  By the way, that’s Mika peeking behind CJ.  She’s a little camera shy.  CJ is an up and coming young pitcher.  One day he will be a Dodger.
Thanks for stopping by so I could share my Fan Fest experience with you.  You are the best.
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
 

Today Is Finally Here

  
I thought today would never arrive.  Fan fest!!!!  Fan fest is the first real event for us Dodger fans to attend.  They have had a goodwill tour this week with many stops but excluding us Dodger fans.  So today will be our first glimpse of the 2016 Dodgers.

I’m going with my good friend Norma and her entourage.  I really didn’t want to go alone.  It’s much more fun to be with friends.

  
I hope to see all of you there.  Fan fest begins at 10:00 and ends at 4:00.  There will be autographs, pictures, interviews, good bargains.  It’s well worth going.  It is free so there isn’t a huge monetary commitment.  It’s one of the few Dodger events that is free.

I’m looking forward to getting Scott Kazmir’s autograph.  I’m really not much of an autograph person but sometimes it can be fun.  I actually like pictures much more.  Norma was kind enough to get a voucher for me to actually get Shawn Green’s autograph.  He is my all time favorite Dodger.  Thank you Norma!!!

  
The big story of the week is the renaming of Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue.  The vote was unanimous.  Such an honor for the best announcer ever.

Another story worth telling is the return of Howie Kendrick to second base.  I guess they will use Chase Utley as a substitute. Again I lament the day they chose to trade Dee Gordon away.  

I will definitely post a blog tomorrow with many pictures.

Thanks again everyone for stopping by.  Love all of you!!

Just Waiting

  My kitty Billy is anxiously waiting for baseball season.

Avoiding Arbitration

  
Good news this weekend.  All six players who had filed for arbitration reached one year deals:  Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Yasmani Grandal and Luis Avilan.  Jansen will be paid $10.65 million which is a $3,225,000 increase from this past season.  Grandal will earn $2.8 million after earning a paltry $693,000 this past year.  Turner signed for $5.1 million after a $2.5 million salary last year.  Avilan will make $1.39 million.

  
  
 Chris Hatcher signed to a $1,065,000 deal and Scotty Van Slyke got $1, 225,000 for one year.

Deadline was Feb 1 for a settlement and any unsettled cases would have gone to arbitration who then decides on the player’s salary.

I’m glad that the Dodger owners didn’t hold out as they seem to do.

Also welcome Los Angeles Rams.  They are returning to where they were before.  I know many football fans are excited and happy.  Los Angeles now has the Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, Kings, Galaxy.  Here we go!!

Also newly hired is Alex Anthopoulos as Dodgers VP of Baseball Operations.  He was named Executive of the Year by Sporting News last year for the deals he got for the Blue Jays in the postseason.  He will join president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and senior Vice President Josh Byrnes.  The only higher up that seems accessible to fans is Stan Kasten, CEO, who spends quite a bit of time in the dugout.  

As Spring Training approaches, things are starting to look better.  I’m excited to see who will be at Fan Fest coming up in two weekends.  Hope everyone downloads their ticket and comes.  I would love to see everyone there.  Yes, a ticket is required this year so don’t show up without one.  Also bring lots of money because they have many good deals.  Last year they had five dollar tee shirts and many old player jerseys.  Most fun was an autographed ball grab bag.

I plan on going to Spring Training the middle of March with my friends.  Hopefully everything works out that I can go.

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate all your support!

 

Just Around the Corner

As baseball season approaches,  Fan Fest looms in the near future.  It’s free including parking.  There are few things that are free so it’s a good chance to take advantage.   There will be many of the Dodgers there including some of the new ones…I hope.  It’s a good chance to see your Dodger friends and also many of the Dodger employees.  I try to go every year.  I hate the crowds but it’s well worth it.  This year it takes place on January 30, beginning at 10:00.  

  
  
  
It’s a good chance to see if my seat is still there.

  
And see your favorites.

  
Take selfies

  
And get up close and personal.  Love that Yasiel.  He always says hi and/or gives me a hug.

 
Spring Training is also just around the corner.  it’s an opportunity to see how the Dodgers will fare during the season.  I plan on going with my good friends Norma and Pat.  I always dread the heat in Arizona but last year it actually rained part of the time.

  
 
We had a great time.

  
Actually we had a great time.

  Glendale AZ is a beautiful place.
  
  
 
The scenery is definitely the best part.

It’s a nice way to start the baseball season.  The guys are usually happy to sign autographs and sign pictures.  It’s actually close enough to drive.

Thanks for stopping by.  See everyone very soon.

  

  
 

 

Thank You Everyone

  I feel very honored that my blog made the top 100 in 2015. Thank you everyone for your support and friendship.
I had stopped writing my blog for several years while I cared for my wonderful father who passed away. He knew that the Dodgers came second to him. He always encouraged me to write and always was there for me to offer suggestions and criticism. I still miss him but I know he is smiling at me from heaven today at what I have accomplished.

My goal for 2016 is to make my blog even more worth reading. I welcome suggestions. 

I am excited about our new pitcher Kenta Maeda who took #18 because in Japan, that number goes to the ace of the team.  He feels honored to be a Dodger and also to have that number. What does he like most about LA??? The shopping, of course. I’ll have to brush up on my very rusty Japanese!!

Thanks again everyone for stopping by. You make it all worth it!! 84 more days until OPENING DAY!!

Kenta

  Thank you to my friend Jon SooHoo for this picture of new pitching acquisition Kenta Maeda. I hope to take many pictures myself when the new season starts.
He has Hiroki Kuroda’s number which is a bit ironic. They are both Japanese pitchers. Everyone knows how fond I was of Kuroda. 

Maeda has been signed for 8 years with no opt-outs, option years or no-trade provisions.  There is a question about his right elbow which in the future will probably necessitate Tommy John surgery.

The Dodger starting pitchers will be led by Clayton Kershaw who will be the Opening Day pitcher, Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood. Not too bad.

I’m looking forward to Spring Training now. I’ll probably invest in a Maeda jersey hoping that he doesn’t decide to change numbers.

Thanks for stopping by. There’s only a little over a month to wait until pitchers and catchers report to Camelback. I can’t wait!!!

Happy New Year

  
Happy New Year to everyone.  Good news on the Dodger front with the signing of Scott Kazmir to a three year contract.  It doesn’t look like the Dodgers had to give anything up since he is a free agent.  He has an opt out clause at the end of 2016.  The contract is for $48 million over 3 years.  He is only 31 which is a positive.  If the Dodgers do end up with Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda, it would round out the starting rotation even if Ryu is not quite ready.  However, it looks like we have an all lefty starting rotation.  Brandon McCarthy, post Tommy John surgery, won’t be ready until the last half of the 2016 season.

We are starting off the New Year on a positive note.  Here’s hoping that the new year is full of happiness, good health and good luck.  

Thanks again for continuing to read my blog.  It’s been a very rewarding year.  Tonight I’ll be ringing in the new year at work.  Hope everyone has a safe New Year’s Eve and a fantastic new year.

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