By Cary Osborne
The Dodgers traditionally let go of Dodger Blue in favor of green one day out of the year — today, St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s still weird to think that 79 years ago, they went green for an entire season.
By Jon Weisman
This week of the Dodgers Love L.A. tour (presented by Bank of America) is all about the community … almost.
There’s one other tiny aspect of it, largely unnoticed and not all that important, but meaningful just the same.
For the first time in the new year, a Dodger player puts on his uniform.
That moment, just a few days before Punxsutawney Phil reveals himself, turns on the pilot light for the coming season.
“It was a long season last year, had some ups and downs,” Dodger reliever Chris Hatcher said. “As I’ve gotten longer into baseball, the shorter the offseason gets. This year, I’m raring and ready to go. Putting the jersey on, it pushes it a little closer and in your mind, you’re tightening it up a little bit.”
Putting on the Dodger whites today was particularly special for some players, such as 24-year-old right-hander Jharel Cotton, who did so for the first time as an official Major League member of the 40-man roster.
“It’s coming up really quick,” Cotton said. “I just got done playing ball in November, and it’s already Spring Training. I’m ready to go — I’m excited.”
Added to the thrill for Cotton was getting the opportunity to hang with his teammates, before the season starts.
“It’s a blessing,” he said. “It’s my first time seeing them. It’s been a long offseason for them. I’m just ready to be in the clubhouse and share (moments) with them.”
If this was admittedly just one moment in time for Hatcher, Cotton and the Dodgers, it was a moment of a lifetime for the people they met, including those members of the Wounded Warriors Project who previously wore uniforms of an entirely different kind.
Sporting an Andre Ethier jersey, East Los Angeles native Jonathan Nunez was effusive about the lunch he shared with the Dodgers at City Hall, after joining the team in attending today’s Vin Scully Avenue vote.
“It’s a great honor and a great privilege to not only be associated with the Wounded Warrior Project, but to be alongside these great gentlemen from the Dodgers organization,” said Nunez, who was most thrilled to see past Dodgers including Maury Wills, Eric Karros and Orel Hershiser. “It means the world because it feels they haven’t forgotten about us, and they recognize what we have done for our country.”
Nunez has been involved with Wounded Warriors for six months, as he aims to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder after serving separate tours for the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I have seen progress, not only in the way I cope but how I cope,” Nunez said. “I’ve been introduced to veterans with similar problems, and we’ve picked our brains for lack of better words as far as how to deal with our various disorders. We’ve built a network, and because of that I’ve seen a growth in how I act, how I not only deal with my disorders but how I move forward with them.”
And at the end of the day, meeting men and women like Nunez is what meant the most to Hatcher.
“We go out there and play 81 games in front of all of these people,” Hatcher said. “Not very often do we get a chance to get out in the community and socialize with people.”
The Dodgers have only worn two logos on their caps since moving to Los Angeles in 1958 — the interlocking “L.A.” and, on June 23, 2007, six times in 2011 and Jackie Robinson Day 2012, the Brooklyn “B.”
In the spring, they’ll wear a third.
The Dodgers will wear a lightweight cap with a cursive capital “D” logo — the same “D” from the Dodger script on their jersey — during selected Spring Training games. The LA logo will be retained for other games.
The jerseys are part of Majestic’s new Flex Base uniform system, which features a lighter-weight jersey. The jerseys will also be worn throughout the postseason.
The Spring Training jerseys will have a highway sign on the sleeve with state initials for Arizona or Florida, representing each team’s preseason home. In the Dodgers’ case, that will be Arizona.
The names and numbers on the backs of all jerseys will feature a sublimated Spring Training design pattern featuring Spring Training marks and the silhouetted batter logo. The same designs will also be on the inside of the caps’ crowns.
The highway sign will also be featured on the left side panel of the cap. The right panel will have an embossed National or American League logo.
By Jon Weisman
Today, the Dodgers acquired a Rule 4 competitive balance round B draft pick (No. 74 overall this June), right-handed reliever Ryan Webb and minor league catcher Brian Ward from the Orioles in exchange for catcher Chris O’Brien and pitcher Ben Rowen.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has more on the deal. The 29-year-old Webb had a 2.95 FIP with Baltimore last year and 37 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings against 63 baserunners. Ward had a .641 OPS in a season spent mostly at Triple-A Norfolk.
And now, to fill the rest of your off day, more notes …
By Jon Weisman
Hi. Here are the uniform numbers for the offseason additions to the 40-man roster:
By Josh Tucker
At the Sydney Cricket Grounds, the beauty is in the details. The bunting along the porches at the century old Members Pavilion. The rich red clay imported from California. It has been done right, and it’s the subtleties of Sydney that truly stick out.
One of my favorite details is the addition of customized Australia stickers at the base of the bats. It may have gone unnoticed, but walking by Joc Pederson in the batting cage, the Dodgers prospect pointed it out. It’s safe to say, he’s enjoying all facets of his first Major League road trip.
Clubhouse Manager Mitch Poole designed the decals to commemorate the trip Down Under. The stickers use the clubs secondary logo with the iconic red numbers and were made by a company based out of Florida called Pro Helmet Decals.
After alternating between “Los Angeles” and “Dodgers” road jerseys since moving to the West Coast in 1958, both styles will be used during the 2014 season. The team will wear “Dodgers” for the regular-season opener in Australia on March 22, as seen in the images here with Hyun-Jin Ryu, Matt Kemp and Brian Wilson.
“Because we are equally proud of our iconic brand name and the city we represent and with the number of Dodger fans across the country, we felt it important to have two sets of road jerseys to feature both the team name, as well as Los Angeles,” Dodger executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said.
When the Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958, the road jersey featured the name “Dodgers.” The next year, the team’s road jersey featured “Los Angeles” and continued that way through 1969. The team name returned to the jersey in 1970 through 1998, before the city name returned from 1999 to the present. The last time the Dodgers wore alternate jerseys was in 2011, when they wore powder blue Brooklyn jerseys for six home dates.
Although the uniform has undergone minor changes over the years, the basic look has remained the same since 1938 when the team was based in Brooklyn. Prior to 1938, the uniform style often changed, including a one-season experiment in 1937 with green-colored “Brooklyn” lettering across the chest.
Former Dodger first baseman Wes Parker, who this week participated along with other Dodger Legends on the team’s community caravan, values the throughline of the team’s uniform, bridging the generations.
“When I played with the Dodgers, it meant I could wear the same jersey worn by Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider – my heroes,” said Parker, who won six Gold Gloves during his career from 1964-72. “I loved when they added the red number under the lettering in the early 1950s. When I wear the jerseys these days at community events, it’s a wonderful badge of honor for me to carry into the world. And not many of us get to do that. It’s prestigious, it gets instant recognition and it means I once played for this ballclub.”