Tagged: Dodgers

Fantastic autograph signing event – John Ely

And yes, those were his words!

“We had a fantastic time at the signing today. And, uh, go Dodgers.”

As with most autograph signings, you never know what to expect. You can never guess what time the first person will show up or how many people. KABC was hoping for at least 400. That’s how many tickets they brought to hand out. Not tickets to the game. Tickets to give each person to admit them in for the autograph. They did bring tickets to the game for that night. Plenty of tickets.
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So, what time did I show up? Before the sun came up. And guess what? I wasn’t even the first person in line! Christoph, the first person in line showed up at 3:30. I arrived about an hour later (less than that). I left my house at 4 and it took me 15 minutes to get there. So, you do the math. I first parked my car in front of the store but then was asked to move. Yes, there was someone there at 4:30 AM to ask me to move my car. They were repainting the lines for the spots in front of the store.

We talked for about the first hour or so. He talked mostly about politics and medical marijuana, a subject he was quite knowledgeable and passionate about … seeing as he uses medical marijuana. I forgot what term he used. After he took his medication, he mellowed out and we didn’t talk for about two hours. I read my book, he read his.
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Then around 6:30 we were asked to move so some workers could clean the sidewalk. That’s when the rest of the fans started showing up. About five or six cars pulled in. We took the line and started forming it in the parking lot while they were cleaning the sidewalk. Alex came by and dropped off his dad, and Ronnie came. I talked with Ronnie for a while. Once they finished cleaning, we went back and reformed our line. Five hours to go till the signing started.

Lots of people wonder, how in the world do we wait for hours and hours just to get a few minutes with a ball player. Well, we spend hours talking to other fans in line and getting to know each other. I met Ronnie at both the Dodger Caravans earlier this year. The most memorable conversation was between Ronnie and another fan Edward. They were discussing/debating trading Ely for the Astros’ Roy Oswalt. Edward said he’d take it. Ronnie said he wouldn’t. He said Ely was gold and Oswalt was feathers. Edward laughed and said Ely was fool’s gold then. It was great. I wish I had recorded it and taken pictures to put in my slide-show. Guess my photo-journalistic skills weren’t sharp, as a result of less than 2 hours of sleep and being up before 4.

The KABC crew showed up and started setting up tables and forms and giveaways. They set up their tent and speakers but had no power. They sent one of their employees to get the generator. Just after he returned … the KABC crew was asked to dismantle. No tables, no giveaways, and the Dodger Dog truck wasn’t coming. Christoph was looking forward to having his first Dodger dog. He’s a new Dodger fan, longtime baseball fan. They had little red tickets (like raffle tickets) to hand out. There were about 400. The KABC employee came back with somewhere between 50-100 tickets left.
While we were waiting, Sons of Steve Garvey’s very own Alex Cora came up to Roberto of Vin Scully is My Homeboy and introduced himself. I didn’t say anything since I didn’t know if “Alex” read my blog or not. Probably not. Anyway, it was nice to have “met” one of the SOSG.
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Surprisingly, John Ely showed up early! He was schedule to sign from 11:30 – 1.
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He showed up a few minutes before 11.
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My friend Pat was taking some pictures of Ely as he was walking up. Her sister behind her told her, “don’t get in front of Linda! She takes good pictures.”

It took about another 15 minutes before they started letting us in.

Christoph went in first. He told John that he got there at 3:30 that morning. John was like, wow, you got here that early? What’s your name? I’ve got to write this out to you since you got here so early. Christoph had an official ball and one of the not official ones. John inscribed on the official ball and then Christoph gave him the other ball. He said John didn’t have to write his name on that one.
Then it was our turn.
I handed him the newspaper first and then I noticed he only had BLACK sharpies on the table. Black will not show up well on the color photo since it was so dark. I was like, hold on! You don’t have a blue sharpie. I need a blue sharpie. So I dug the blue sharpie out of my purse. One of the KABC employees was, he’ll sign in blue if he gets to keep the sharpie. I just bought the sharpie that week. I should’ve been like, he can hold onto it if I get it back at the end. It’s my only blue sharpie. He signed my newspaper and then I asked him if he could sign another photo. I wanted him to inscribe “Dodger Stadium Debut 5/6/10” but I didn’t want to hold up the line. So, he just signed it. I’ll ask him to inscribe it later.
He was so great. Pat, Norma, and I got our things and I left to see how long the line was while they talked to someone about getting another line on Norma’s account. I got to the back of the line. Someone in front of me heard me talking and said, “hello there. I recognize your voice. Do I know you?” Turns out, it was Eric from my Dodger group. We’ve never talked but we exchanged voice mails a few years ago. Pat and Norma came out and took me out to lunch. We went to Johnny’s Pastrami Restaurant. It was so good! Their pastrami sandwich was HUGE. I got the cheeseburger.
After lunch, we went back to see how the signing was going. There was about ten to fifteen minutes left and about ten people left in line. As he was getting close to the end, some more people came running in. They just got there from the Casey Blake signing in Pasadena.
Deuce! Everyone
knows this little guy! He was one of the last, if not the last person to get an autograph.
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On his way out, I asked John if I could get a quick sound bite. He said sure, said his little thing, and then gave me a HUG! I could’ve believe it. He gave me a HUG! And I didn’t have to ask for it. The last hug I got from a Dodger was from Russell Martin, way back in April 2007.
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I waited with Pat for a while longer while she was getting her phone taken care of. When I finally got out to my car… there was a note on there from Sit ‘n Sleep asking me to move my car.
It’s official. John Ely is my new resident favorite Dodger. Randy Wolf. You have been replaced.

You’ll never believe who was warming up

In the bullpen on Saturday night’s Dodger game against the Braves in the 8th and 9th inning with the Dodgers trailing the Braves 9 – 2 (Dodgers scored one run in the bottom of the 9th to finish the game 9 – 3). I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw action in the bullpen. I figured Kuo wasn’t an option, Broxton and Weaver weren’t options… so who was left since Troncoso imploded, Belisario was done, and Haeger was mopping up.
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Can you see the name on the back of the jersey? LOL yes I know you have to click on the picture to make it bigger.
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How about now? If you can’t see the name, you can at least see the number.
Who wears #17 on the Dodgers?
No, not Jason Repko. He gone.
Got it yet?

Andrew James Ellis.
It was confirmed on Dodger Talk when I stumped Ken Levine and Josh Suchon. They thought I didn’t know, but I surprised them. They were surprised. They were flabberghasted. They got excited over the possibility that AJ Ellis might have had a chance to pitch. If they archive the Dodger Talk, I’ll post the link and tell you at which point I come on. It was probably one of the better calls of the night, if I do say so myself. Josh sounded giddy at the prospect of asking Joe Torre about it tomorrow. Since I won’t get to hear the response, I hope someone out there will and post a reply so I can find out. Maybe it’ll be in the paper. But Ken and Josh said that their vantage point from the Press Box doesn’t always give them a great view of who is warming up in the bullpen. Basically when I said it was AJ, Josh was like “FROM THE MOUND?” I was like, yup. Wind up and everything. Josh got real excited about the possibility that had Charlie Haeger imploded and if the Dodgers deficit became greater … that Andrew James Ellis could possibly have relieved Charlie Haeger in the 8th or 9th inning.

You heard it here. You see for yourself.

I personally would have loved to have seen AJ pitch, even if it meant the Dodgers were losing more than they were. Hello, the score was already 9 – 2 at the time in the Braves favor.

Sweet Spot and the Creek

When I got into the Stadium today, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go down to the Kiddie Korral or not. Then I figured, why not? What else was I gonna do. Well, I was hanging around and it started to get full. I went down because Matt Kemp was signing. But by the time I got there, he was done. I thought about getting out but I stayed. And it paid off!
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If you saw the Castles episode called “Suicide Squeeze”, I can reiterate what Beckett said. “That was Joe Freaking Torre”

Next, I went to the Left Field area because I saw the Padres pitches running sprints. And Heath Bell signs there often. So, I got him on the Padres fan fest balls Jenny and I got. Hehe he joked about he has some Padre balls too, but he doesn’t sign those or something like that. Two balls signed (three if you include the one for Phanny) and now it was time to go wait for James Van Der Beek, who was throwing out the first pitch. Meanwhile, I got to say hi to Steve Lyons. I wanted to chat with him, but he had to get going.

Remember, Dawson’s Creek came out in 1998. I was just starting high school. I was the perfect age to fall in love with Dawson or Pacey. We were probably the target age. It was right up there with Roswell and Buffy, and N Sync and Backstreet Boys. Since I got Brian Littrell (Backstreet Boys) autograph and photo with him during the playoffs when the BSB were singing the National Anthem, I figured I had a good chance of getting a picture with James Van Der Beek. No autograph, since I didn’t bring anything for him to sign. I have the Season 2 of Criminal Minds somewhere. If you haven’t seen it, it’s amazing! James guest starred in two episodes (Big Game and Revelation). AMAZING performance by James.
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I called out to him, asked him for a photo. He came over and I gushed on about how amazing he was in Criminal Minds and how I watched Dawson’s Creek when it first came out. He was incredibly nice, as they usually are. And patient because my camera for some reason did not want to work.

Now that I got two of the three things I wanted to get done out of the way, time for the last and most likely impossible thing. I took a picture of Jon Garland last October, he signed it in February, and he commented on it. So, I figured, I might as well make him a copy to have. Unfortunately, he was the starter that day. My friends told me to try anyway. So, I went over to the visiting bullpen and got some nice pictures of Garland out there. I also managed to get Yorvit Torrealba to sign my Padre ball. He didn’t say much. But he only signed for me and someone else. He was waiting on Garland
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Right after Torrealba signed my ball, a security guard came and kicked out anyone who didn’t have tickets to that section. I was getting my things to go, but the National Anthem was starting. The security guard kept telling me I had to leave. I told him, “Look, I’m not stalling. But can I leave AFTER the National Anthem?” I even stepped out into the aisle so I wasn’t in Section 52 anymore. I was serious. It was not a stall tactic. It was a sign of respect for our National Anthem. Just like all the Vendors stop selling when it’s time for the National Anthem. No matter where I am in the stadium, if I’m walking somewhere or to another section, when it’s time for the National Anthem, I stop. If I can, I even walk out of the walkway area and into the seats and stand for the National Anthem. I didn’t mind that he was kicking me out of Section 52. What got me miffed was that he wanted me to get out of there during the National Anthem. Everyone is supposed to stop what they’re doing and show some respect for our Nation, right?
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For a nine inning game, it was a very long game. I met a fellow Dodger fan, Kenny (seriously, why is that most of my Dodger friends have similar names?!?) and got to sit with him for the first few innings. Got to talk to Josh Suchon for a little bit as well. Then something interesting happened at the start of the ninth inning. Most fans had already cleared out by then. I noticed these two guys in the section to my right, but wasn’t really paying any attention to them. Until I heard one of them say: If you don’t delete those pictures right now, I’m going to smash your phone. They kept going back and forth, back and forth. Yet, there weren’t really any ushers or security around. I know the usher from that section was covering for another usher. And security had been busy (you know, keeping fans away from the visitor’s bullpen – and seriously, I did see security rush out of the stadium earlier).

I called out to the usher to my left and nodded towards the two guys. He noticed them and went over right away. I had a feeling if someone didn’t interfere, things were going to get ugly. The one guy who kept saying he was going to smash the other guy’s phone was wearing a throw-back Dave Winfield jersey. It was when the Padres’ colors were yellow and brown. Apparently, Photo guy was taking photos of Winfield and his friends. He was actually standing in front of the Padre fans and taking their photos. Winfield got offended and wanted Photo Guy to delete them. Naturally, the guy in front of me pulled out his phone and took a photo of Winfield. It took half an inning (which was a long half inning), but Photo Guy finally walked away after security came and diffused the situation.
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Hey, Winfield. You’re in a public setting. You are going to get your photo taken.
Hey Photo Guy. Next time, don’t be so obvious about it!
And yes, I did sneak a picture without them smashing my camera.

Bobbleheads and Autographs

Last night I got my 10th Dodger bobblehead. My collection now consists of Russell Martin, Takaishi Saito, Brad Penny, Takaishi Saito, Joe Torre, Casey Blake, Manny Ramirez 1, Matt Kemp, Manny Ramirez 2, and Andre Ethier. However, my favorite bobblehead is the one I got off Ebay.
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Yup, sure it is. Randy Wolf.
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Last night being Andre Ethier Bobblehead night, Andre did something I do not recall seeing any player ever do. Then again, I guess being on the DL he had time. He spent about 30-45 minutes signing autographs at the Kiddie Korral. No joke. They rotated the people in and out of the Korral about four or five times. He signed everything from baseballs to caps to bobbleheads. He even put the drama of last year’s photo day behind him and posed for pictures with several fans.
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Word must have got out fast. Because the line got LONG. I called Dodger Talk to mentioned this and the call screener asked me if I got Andre’s autograph. I said no. He asked me why not? Didn’t I want it? I said the line was too long. It was ridiculously long! Maybe if I had gotten in line at 5:45, I could have gotten it. Oh well.
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Here’s the mess left behind by people who were taking their bobbleheads out of the boxes while they were in the kiddie Korral. Someone even lost the bat to the bobblehead.

Man. Every player on the DL should spend time signing autographs. Just one player per game. Come on. How awesome would that be? Yesterday Andre, tomorrow Raffy?

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If you’re friends with Jon SooHoo on facebook, then you’ve seen this picture from his vantage view on the other side of the plate.
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Here’s Blake DeWitt thinking, man that was close! James Loney has been putting the wheels in motion. He stole his 6th base of the season last night. He also tagged up and scored on a sac fly that I think most fans weren’t sure if the ball was deep enough.
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Xavier Paul putting the ball in play.
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Matt Kemp caught stealing second base.
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Xavier Paul watching the ball bounce away as he lays down a perfect sac bunt.
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The DODGERS WIN!!!

I think Xavier Paul forgot about the celebratory air bump. He started running in, then turned and looked at Matty. He changed his course and headed to center field instead of towards home.

Thanks Jamey and Jon!

First, thanks Jamey Carroll for stopping by and signing my Opening Day baseball and taking a photo with me. Thanks Pat for getting him over. Secondly, thanks you Jon SooHoo for taking the time to send me a copy of the photo you took of us. No kidding, less than 5 minutes after I sent the email, I got a reply.

Here’s Jamey Carroll and me on my camera.
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Here’s Jamey Carroll and me on Jon SooHoo’s.

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Opening Day here at last!

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Dodgers 0 -1 after losing to the Pirates… I don’t even want to think of the score.

It looked promising at first when Matty Kemp singled in two runs in the top of the first. Then the bats went silent for a few innings. Well, maybe not the bats. They did strand like half a dozen baserunners, and one baserunning blunder by Russell Martin.

On the bright side, if you think about it… the last two years when our Opening Day starter pitched well on Opening Day …. they found themselves on the DL not too long after that.

2009 – Hiroki Kuroda pitches for the Dodgers on Opening Day down in San Diego. The Dodgers defeat Jake Peavy and the Padres for the first time in how many years? Kuroda finds himself on the DL not that much after his Opening Day Start.

2008 – Brad Penny pitches for the Dodgers on Opening Day here in Los Angeles against the Giants. He shut them out and the Dodgers won. He struggled for a little bit before being placed the DL as well.

I don’t recall who pitched on Opening Day in 2007 (might have been Derek Lowe or Jason Schmidt). Okay, I just looked it up. It was Derek Lowe. I knew it was against the Brewers and we lost. Jason Schmidt pitched the home opener against the Rockies. He gave up 3 runs in 4 innings. That was the year where if the pitcher hit a home run, he landed on a DL. Can you name the other pitcher who hit a home run that year and then found himself on the DL?

It’s good to be back

It felt so incredibly amazing to walk back into Dodger Stadium today.

Even though it was an exhibition game. Hopefully the Dodgers can poke their heads out of the ground now that it’s time to play for real!
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Yes, that’s a real gopher … I was waiting outside my usual gate when the dad in the car in front of me noticed the gopher poking its head out. His little boy (had to been no older than 2) didn’t like seeing the gopher very much.

At the gate, I met Dennis and Thomas. Dennis was bringing his son to his first game and wanted some tips. I told him what I knew, which isn’t too much. I showed them how to get into the field level for “batting practice” and he took Thomas down to the “Kiddie Corral” to try and get an autograph. It didn’t look too promising. I wondered if he remembered me telling him to come back to the left field section if the kiddie corral didn’t work.
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Clayton Kershaw and George Sherrill were in the bullpen when I got there. Sherrill was having a bullpen session (or a simulated game? There was a “batter” standing in front the catcher swinging an invisible bat). Padilla came out to run and said “not today” when asked for an autograph. There was another player out, one I didn’t recognize.

Charlie Haeger came out with a trainer to run a few sprints. He was one of the two players I had hoped to see today. Okay, so I wanted Padilla and Kershaw’s autographs too … but didn’t think I’d have a good chance of getting either one of them. Turns out I was right. Charlie however … I called out to him and held up the little picture of him that I cut out from Friday’s copy of the L.A. Times. I’m so glad to have my Times subscription starting up again. I’m going to try a new method this year. I want to get the pictures autographed BEFORE I put them in my book. Charlie said he’ll get to me later.

Sure enough, he ran and then came over to sign for me. I told him thanks for being my first autograph for my 2010 book. He said, cool. I think. After he took a quick photo with me, he signed two or three more before going in.
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Sure enough. As soon as I got ready to get my picture taken, the wind started blowing my hair into my face. Before Charlie came by, I was starting to get worried that my day-game-streak was coming to an end. I have been to 5 straight day games (8 of 9) where I have gotten either a ball, autograph, or photo from a player. Thank you Charlie for keeping my streak going! After Charlie signed for me, the security guard on the field came over to stand behind him. They do that whenever a player starts signing. It was the same guard from last year. I was surprised when he shook my hand and talked to me. He didn’t talk to me much last year, mostly he talked with Cat.

Once I got my autograph from Charlie, I didn’t have to wait around the area anymore. I got asked my several people who it was who signed for me. I went to say hi to Ernie, Cat’s dear usher and mine as well. As I was talking to him, I realized what time it was. I was late to meet Kristin! Long story short: Cari invited me to Opening Day and gave my ticket to Kristin to give to me. She knows I like to get there early. It was 11:45 and I was supposed to be at the side entrance (where the smokers go out to smoke) between 11:30 and 11:45. No Kristin. I called her and left her a message. No, I didn’t miss her. Not only did I get my ticket from Cari for Opening Day, I also got my ticket from Kristin for Opening Night. I can’t say enough how wonderful my Dodger friends are!

Since it was about another half hour till first pitch, I decided to go look for Pat and Cat and anyone else. Funny thing was, I was stopped a few times by a few ushers and security who were welcoming me back. The one that surprised me the most was when a security guard said, “no more wolf hat this year.” I stopped and tried to remember if I ever talked to him. I couldn’t think of a time last year in any of the 14 games where Wolfie started had I talked to this security guard before. Yes, I went to 14 of Wolfie’s starts last year. He had 2 wins, 2 losses, 10 no-decisions (Dodgers had 7 wins, 3 losses) and that’s not including his one post-season start where he got yet another no-decision and the Dodgers won. By the way… of Wolfie’s 16 no-decisions, 11 of them were at home and 5 were on the road.

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I found Cat and she was busy collecting autographs from Angel players for one of her blog friends, Mimi. She hit the jack-pot when it came to autographs! Now, Cat doesn’t like having her picture taken … but I think this is lovely picture of Cat in her dugout club seat.
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Charlie Haeger and Casey Blake look a little… surprised by Alvin, Simon, and Theodore’s rendition of “America, the Beautiful” before the Star Spangled Banner.
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I stayed in my spot for the first inning. I wanted to get a good picture of Chad Billingsley throwing the first pitch.

Then in the top of the second, I started making my way to Cat’s season seat, since she was in the dugout club. I was greeted and welcomed by a few more ushers. Like Cat said in her blog, I was extremely touched by the welcome I received from all the Dodger employees I met last year (and even a few new ones this year).
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At first I thought this was going to be a hot dog. It was wrapped up in napkins so I didn’t know what it was. I just assumed a Dodger dog. When I pulled it out, I realized it was too small to be a Dodger dog. My guess is, it was a pulled bbq pork sandwich. It was incredibly amazing!

The first three innings took like an hour and a half to go by. It must have been all the walks and that one grand slam Billingsley gave up. I know Kuroda can be a slow pitcher … and he was supposed to
pitch later that game. He did. He came in and did really well. I was glad for Kuroda. Too bad for Bills though.

Three Up:
Martin going 2-for-5 in the lead off spot as the Designated hitter.
Kuroda’s 4 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out 5 batters
Blake DeWitt turning two double-plays (if you’ve been following the Dodgers and Dodger Talk during spring training, you know why that would be an up)

Three Down:
Billingsley’s struggles
CPK is back, no more Brooklyn Dodgers Pizza
No more Strike Out Meter above the Right Field Pavilion (I noticed this after one of Kuroda’s strike outs and I wanted to know how many strike outs we had)

It was great to see all my Dodger friends and Dodger Stadium employee friends (Rudy, Francis, Juan, Ernie, Robert, Kenneth and everyone else whose names I either forgot or still need to learn)! It had only been about two months since I last saw Pat and Cat … but two months felt like a long time. I can’t wait to see JoAnna. I haven’t seen her since November?