December 2014

2014: What will you remember?

By Jon Weisman

In their 26th year of pursuing their seventh World Series title, the Dodgers don’t feel they’ve fulfilled their mission because they didn’t win a championship.

Nevertheless, despite what happened in October, it was a memorable 2014 for a variety of reasons.

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Dodgers officially sign Brett Anderson, designate Erisbel Arruebarrena for assignment

(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have officially announced the signing of pitcher Brett Anderson to a one-year contract today, making room for him on the 40-man roster by designating shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena for assignment.

Anderson, who will turn 27 before Spring Training begins, has thrown 318 2/3 innings over the past five seasons while battling injuries (including 43 1/3 innings last year for Colorado with a 2.91 ERA), so sure, it’s optimistic to lock him in for 30-plus starts in 2015.

But the potential for the appearances he does make is high — he has a career 112 ERA+ — and fits with the Dodgers’ defensively enhanced infield.

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A final Dodger trivia quiz for 2014


By Jon Weisman

Test your knowledge of the 2014 Dodgers and their place in history with these 20 questions. Answers below.

  1. The 2014 Dodgers hit into two triple plays in one season for the first time since 1955. What two Hall of Famers hit into the triple plays in 1955?
  2. Yasiel Puig did something on July 26 that hadn’t been done by a Dodger in 109 years. What was it?
  3. On May 25, Josh Beckett threw the Dodgers’ first no-hitter since what pitcher did so in 1996?
  4. Name the two Dodgers older than Beckett to throw a no-hitter: a future Hall of Famer in 1925, and a past New York Giant in 1956.
  5. The day after Beckett’s no-hitter, another pitcher took a perfect game into the eighth inning against Cincinnati. Who was it?
  6. Early in 2014, Dee Gordon took the National League lead in stolen bases and triples. The last Dodger to lead the NL in both categories in one season was which 1960s star?
  7. Name the three Los Angeles Dodgers to have at least 60 stolen bases in a season before Gordon did in 2014.
  8. When was the last year before 2014 that the Dodgers led the big leagues in stolen bases: 1965, 1970, 1975 or 1980?
  9. Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

    Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

  10. On August 27 at Arizona, what did Clayton Kershaw allow to happen for the first time all season?
  11. True or false: Kershaw has more career innings than former Yankees great Mariano Rivera.
  12. In 2014, Kenley Jansen became the sixth Dodger with 100 career saves. Who were the first five?
  13. When this reliever passed the 100-inning mark as a Dodger this year, he had the lowest career ERA in franchise history. Who was it?
  14. Kershaw made six starts in June and pitched 44 innings. How many runs did he allow that month?
  15. During Kershaw’s 41-inning scoreless streak this summer, how many runners reached third base: three, five, seven or nine?
  16. What slugging Dodger outfielder this season hit four home runs off Arizona pitcher Wade Miley?
  17. Who was the Dodgers’ Opening Day second baseman this season?
  18. Place these 2014 Dodgers in order of when they were first called up from the minors as rookies: Chad Billingsley, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw.
  19. Hanley Ramirez is in second place on the Dodgers’ all-time home run list for shortstops. Who was first with 43 homers as a shortstop in his Dodger career?
  20. In 2013, the Dodgers rallied from a 9 ½-game deficit to win the NL West. What was the Dodgers’ biggest deficit in the division in 2014?
  21. True or false: The Dodgers never spent a day with a losing record in 2014.

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How Yasiel Puig landed the cover of MLB 15 The Show

Courtesy of Sony PlayStation

Courtesy of Sony PlayStation

Puig PS 2By Cary Osborne

On the morning of July 25, Yasiel Puig visited Sony PlayStation headquarters in San Mateo and took a tour of the campus. The Dodgers were in San Francisco that day to play the Giants, and San Mateo is about 20 miles from the ballpark.

The people at PlayStation remembered when they recently made an important choice. It’s Puig’s affection for baseball and gaming that helped land him on the cover of the video game giant’s franchise baseball game “MLB 15 The Show.” The game will be released March 31 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and on the handheld PlayStation Vita.

“The choices are endless. There are plenty of players throughout the league that you could say are worthy of being on the cover of the game. But I think this year we wanted to do a couple of things,” said Mike Webster, director of product marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America. “We wanted to focus on someone whose passion for gaming is only superseded by their passion for baseball. Where gaming is organically part of what’s important to them. In that way, they can more organically speak to the brand and the game.”

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Year in review: 1899 mystery, ace Clayton and playing catch

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An 1899 newspaper clipping reviews the Zeke Wrigley controversy.

By Mark Langill

Looking back at the 2014 season, here are five memorable moments from life at the ballpark.

Zeke Wrigley

Entering the 2014 season, it appeared the Dodger franchise had 9,972 victories since joining the National League in 1890, which meant planning for a 10,000th victory in late May. When public relations manager Jon Chapper called the Elias Sports Bureau in mid-April to double-check the numbers, he was told the team actually had 13 more victories to its all-time ledger.

The discrepancy centered on the 1899 season – MLB credited Brooklyn’s record at 101-47 while the team had listed an 88-42 record in media guides dating back to the 1930s. Steve Brener, the former Dodgers’ public relations director from 1975-87 who returned to the ballpark in 2012 as a public relations consultant, was the target of good-natured ribbing by Generation X members, who accused the media maven of making a mistake 114 years ago with his bookkeeping.

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2014 postscript: From piano to panic, a Kershaw no-hitter odyssey


By Jon Weisman

Embarrassing as it is to admit, I think what I might remember most about my first year with the Dodgers was the stress I felt trying to do a job worthy of this franchise.

That being said, there were some incredibly cool moments that I’ll recall. But nothing remotely compares to the one I’m about to describe, one culminating in a tension beyond dreaming.

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Memorable moments of 2014, big and small

Clayton Kershaw's June 18 no-hitter.

Clayton Kershaw’s June 18 no-hitter. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Cary Osborne

Where do we start with my favorite Dodger moments in 2014? Obviously they didn’t end with the season. I’m sort of big on history, so the thing I will remember most about 2014 was Clayton Kershaw’s incredible year. But the following are some other memories — personal and otherwise — from an eventful year.

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Have a wonderful holiday!

— Jon Weisman

True Hollywood Stories: Behind the scenes with celebrities at Dodger Stadium in 2014


By Cat Belanger

This is a mix of top celebrity moments of the year and my own experiences with them. Disclaimer: I am going to complain about having to talk multiple times to David Beckham in this article and hope you feel bad for me.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM VS LOS ANGELES DODGERSChrissy Teigen: In case you missed it, prior to Chrissy’s first pitch, she tweeted that she was drunk. This instantly sparked a ton of publicity surrounding her appearance at the Stadium. But while some people shun her for drinking prior to her first pitch, what they didn’t see was she was treating the whole experience as a fun event (which it really is).

It was her dad’s birthday, and she brought him, her mom and some friends to enjoy the night together. She made her first pitch a great family event.  I work with all of our first pitch celebrities, and it’s sometimes sad how celebrities only treat it as a publicity stunt, then leave after rather than enjoy the game. Chrissy enjoyed every minute, from coming early with the family to enjoy batting practice (and some adult beverages), to specially ordering her father a cake to surprise him in the sixth inning. Chrissy was one of my favorite first pitches ever merely, because she had the best time here from start to hazy finish.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Our players fanboying out over Jessica Alba (obviously), Martin Lawrence and David Beckham: One of the differences for me this year was our players had a spike in interest for the big names we had coming through — one being David Beckham. News of David’s attendance spread through the Clubhouse prior to a game — and I was put to work as the annoying autograph asker. There were so many things I needed to get signed by him, I had to go back up to him multiple times with items. This is where I’m complaining that I had to keep talking to David Beckham, but I was even annoyed by me.

CHICAGO CUBS  VS LOS ANGELES DODGERSThe Dude. Being exactly like the Dude: This had been a long time coming. We have wanted Jeff Bridges to come out to the park for a while. There were a few really fun moments with him.

  • When I introduced him to Don Mattingly, who himself has a very laid back surfer vibe to him, it was like introducing two of the same person to each other.
  • When I took Jeff down to the cages to practice his throw, he and his friend/trainer practiced some sort of meditative yoga first. Jamey Wright, Andre Ethier and I watched in awe.
  • When we had a mini-meeting with his family and team about him “bowling” the first pitch to start, à la his “Big Leibowski” character, it was just a really interesting conversation — with lots of practice bowls.
  • When he drew a pic of his face on a baseball as an autograph for Brian Wilson, who is a mega fan of his.

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Change has come to the Dodger bullpen

By Jon Weisman

Throughout the flurry of Dodger deals that greeted us in early December, I’d see a recurring question from folks on social media: “What about the bullpen?”

This puzzles me, because roughly two months before pitchers and catchers report, there has already been a significant teardown of 2014’s core relief corps.

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