The Campanella Award is the first of what figures to be a multitude of awards the left-hander will take home after this season, as he has put together one of the best years by a hurler in Major League history. The Texas native is currently the only pitcher in baseball with 20 wins and he has accomplished that in just 26 starts, joining Pedro Martinez (1999) as the only pitchers since World War II to win 20 games in under 30 starts. Kershaw also leads the Major Leagues in ERA by a wide margin (1.80) and with one start remaining has an outside chance of winning his second “triple crown” as he currently trails Washington’s Stephen Strasburg by seven strikeouts. Kershaw will most likely be the first pitcher in baseball history to have the best ERA in the Major Leagues four consecutive seasons.  

The NL MVP candidate also leads the Majors this season with a 0.86 WHIP and ranks among the NL leaders in opponents’ batting average (.195, T-1st), shutouts (2, T-4st), complete games (6, 1st) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.78, 1st). The Dodgers are 22-4 (.846) when he takes the mound in 2014. 

The 26-year-old made his fourth consecutive All-Star team this season and made his fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Dodgers. On June 18, Kershaw no-hit the Colorado Rockies, allowing just one runner to reach base (via error) and struck out 15 in what is widely considered to be one of the three or four greatest single-game performances in baseball history. He won the NL Pitcher of the Month award in both June and July and took home NL Player of the Week honors twice this season.

Kershaw has gone 97-49 in his seven Major League seasons and since making his MLB debut in 2008, he leads the Majors with a 2.49 ERA and a .209 opponents’ batting average. The 2011, 2013 and soon to be 2014 NL Cy Young Award winner, is set to join Koufax (1963, 1965-66) as the only Dodger to win the honor three times. Kershaw was originally selected by the Dodgers in the first round (seventh overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Highland Park (Texas) High School.

Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have made a significant impact off the field throughout his seven-year career, hosting the second annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose earlier this month to raise money for their charity organization, Kershaw’s Challenge, which encourages people to make a difference by giving back to at-risk children and communities in need. The charity has provided assistance to a variety of organizations, including to its cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” which helped the Kershaws build and sustain an orphanage for children in Lusaka, Zambia, called “Arise Home,” along with the Dream Center in Los Angeles, Cure International in Zambia and Mercy Street in their hometown of Dallas, Texas. For his charity work, Kershaw was recognized by Major League Baseball with the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award as the baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. He was once again nominated for the award by the Dodgers this season and is also in the running for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, handed out by the Major League Baseball Players Association. 

Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953 and 1955), eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis (153 in 1962). In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.

He began his career in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the league before joining the Dodger organization in 1946. Campanella played for Class B Nashua of the New England League, making that club the first integrated affiliated baseball team in the United States.

On Jan. 29, 1958, just as the Dodgers were making final preparations for their move to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, marking the end of his playing career. On May 7, 1959, a Major League record-setting 93,103 fans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on “Roy Campanella Night” for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and Yankees.

He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was among the first three Dodgers to have their uniform numbers retired alongside Jackie Robinson and Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers’ Community Relations Department until his death on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71.

--Dodgers Press Release

Major League Baseball today announced the preliminary schedule for the 2015 regular season. The Dodgers will begin the 2015 campaign at Dodger Stadium on Monday, April 6 vs. the San Diego Padres. The three-game series will run April 6-8 and marks the third time in the last eight seasons Los Angeles has kicked off the season opposing San Diego. The last time the Dodgers hosted the Padres on Opening Day was April 5, 2004. 

You can view the schedule here.

The Dodgers begin their road schedule on April 10 in Arizona and close out the regular season with three games against the Padres at Dodger Stadium from Oct. 2-4. The San Francisco Giants visit Dodger Stadium for the first time on April 27 and for the final time on Aug. 31. American League teams that will visit Los Angeles throughout the 81-game home slate are the Seattle Mariners from April 13-15, the Texas Rangers from June 17-18, the Oakland A’s from July 28-29 and the rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from July 31-Aug. 2.

Interleague road dates for the Dodgers in 2015 include travel to Texas (June 15-16), Oakland (Aug. 18-19) and Houston (Aug. 21-23). The Dodgers will head to Anaheim for an unprecedented September Freeway series against Angels from Sept. 7-9. The Dodgers play a home and home two-game series against the Rangers beginning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 15 and concluding three days later in L.A. on June 18. 

The holiday schedule for Dodger fans next year sees the Boys in Blue at home on Memorial Day (Monday, May 25 vs. ATL), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21 vs. SF) and Saturday, July 4 (vs. NYM).

The Dodgers will join all Major League clubs in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Wednesday, April 15 and will play host to the Seattle Mariners at Chavez Ravine for an Interleague matchup and special pregame ceremonies.

 --Dodgers Press Release
Baseball Commissioner Selig presented Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award today.

Scully is the 14th recipient of the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, which was created in 1998 to recognize accomplishments and contributions of historical significance. Scully is only the second non-player to be recognized, joining a fellow member of the Dodgers family, Rachel Robinson, who was honored in 2007 for advancing the legacy of her husband, Jackie Robinson.

Scully’s 65 years of consecutive service with the Dodgers is the longest of any sports broadcaster with one team.  He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers’ broadcast team in 1950, a year removed from graduating from Fordham University, where he played baseball.  In 1953, the 25-year-old Scully became the youngest person ever to broadcast a World Series game.  Two years later, he was behind the microphone for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ first and only World Series Championship.  On October 8, 1956, Scully was in the booth for the only perfect game in Postseason history when Don Larsen of the New York Yankees blanked the Dodgers in Game Five at Yankee Stadium. 

In addition to his career chronicling the Dodgers, Scully has called 25 World Series, 12 All-Star Games and many national Games of the Week. He delivered play by play for Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run in Atlanta on April 8, 1974.  Scully’s television call of Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit home run in Game One of the 1988 Fall Classic has become one of the most oft-repeated plays in Baseball history. He served as the master of ceremonies for the unveiling of Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team during the 1999 World Series. Scully has received countless honors in the sports world and beyond, from the 1982 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting from the National Baseball Hall of Fame to his 2009 induction to the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, where his plaque joined those of Jaime Jarrin, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Edward R. Murrow and other luminaries from all facets of broadcasting. 

Commissioner Selig said: “Vin Scully is a treasure of the National Pastime. From Brooklyn to Los Angeles, from Jackie Robinson through Henry Aaron and from Sandy Koufax through Clayton Kershaw, Vin has depicted the history of the Dodgers and the timeless beauty of our game with class and grace. Major League Baseball is honored to commend Vin Scully’s 65 years of excellence.”

On July 29, 2014, Scully announced that he will return to the Dodger broadcast booth for an unprecedented 66th season in 2015. 

 --Dodgers Press Release
The Dodgers today recalled catcher Tim Federowicz (#26), right-handed pitcher Yimi Garcia (#63) and infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero (#7) from Triple-A Albuquerque and selected the contract of outfielder Joc Pederson (#65) from Albuquerque. The club also reinstated right-handed pitcher Chris Perez from the 15-day disabled list (bone spurs, right ankle) and designated infielder Carlos Triunfel for assignment.

Pederson, who is making his first appearance on the Major League roster, was honored as the 2014 Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player, the league’s Rookie of the Year and as an outfielder on the All-PCL Team, after becoming just the fourth player in the 112-year history of the Pacific Coast League to post a 30-home run/30-steal season. The 22-year-old batted .303 with 30 steals (T-7th, PCL), 17 doubles, four triples, 33 homers (1st, PCL) and 78 RBI in 121 games with Triple-A Albuquerque this year.

Garcia, 24, will be making his Major League debut after going 4-2 with five saves and a 3.10 ERA in 47 appearances with Triple-A Albuquerque. He limited right-handed hitters to a .200 batting average (28-for-14) and posted a 2.84 ERA (6 ER/19.0 IP) in 14 games after the All-Star break. The native of the Dominican Republic is in his sixth professional season after being signed as a non-drafted free agent on Jan. 29, 2009.

Guerrero will be making his first appearance on the big league roster since appearing in both games Down Under during MLB’s Opening Series in Sydney. The 27-year-old hit .329 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 65 games with Albuquerque, including a .356 batting average with runners in scoring position (26-for-73).

Federowicz has appeared in 18 big league games in two stints with the Dodgers this year, but tore up the Pacific Coast League with a .328 batting average, 26 doubles, 14 homers and 48 RBI in 78 games with Albuquerque. The 27-year-old posted a .297 batting average with runners in scoring position (22-for-74) for the Isotopes this season.

Perez last pitched in a Major League game on Aug. 3 against Chicago-NL and made five rehab appearances with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Triunfel played in 12 games in five stints with the Dodgers this season, his first year with the organization.

--Dodgers Press Release

According to the Oklahoman newspaper, the Dodgers will be moving their Triple-A affiliation from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City as early as the 2015 season.  

The Oklahoma City team is currently called the RedHawks, but that name could change, in theory, when the team changes ownership.  The reason for the move rests with the New Mexico environment in relation to evaluating baseball talent. 

"The Dodgers reportedly have been searching for a city more suitable to evaluate their top prospects. Starting last season, the Dodgers have required Isotopes officials to place baseballs in a humidor to try to counteract the effects of the thin, dry air, Albuquerque being 5,300 feet above sea level." 

The Dodgers have been connected to Albuquerque for parts of 44 seasons.  

Clayton Kershaw for MVP? I think not. Of course I won’t argue if he wins it, but I certainly wouldn’t vote for him. Missing five weeks of the season hurts. On the one hand, it’s remarkable that he’s among the league leaders in various categories given the time that he’s missed. On the other hand, who’s to say he would have been so dominant over those five weeks? What if he had a few pedestrian outings over that span, “ballooning” is ERA closer to 2.50? Sure, his strikeouts and innings would have increased, but so – possibly – could his WHIP and ERA. That being said, I do believe that he has been the most dominant pitcher in the NL – no matter who you compare him to. For that reason, along with his leaderboard status, I would vote for him for the Cy Young Award. That may seem like a double standard, but for me it’s the difference between “best pitcher” and Most Valuable Player for the entire season.

• Miguel Rojas. Who knew he was going to be such a wizard on defense? Such an important piece to the roster. For that matter, Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke have rounded out a most impressive bench. Ned had his work cut out for him last offseason – safe to say that he passed with flying colors in assembling an effective set of role players.

• Speaking of Ned, his recent acquisitions left me feeling like Frank McCourt was pulling the strings again. Darwin Barney? Kevin Correia? Roberto Hernandez? Seems like the kind of moves that Ned made a few years ago. But the early returns have been excellent. Can they keep it up? Time will tell. No one expects them to be lights out over the next six weeks and beyond. But if they can keep the Dodgers in games, they will have proven Ned and Co. to be quite competent yet again.

SportsNet LA is going to be televising a handful of Isotopes games in the coming weeks. It’s really just more baseball that no one is going to see, and not just because 70% of fans can’t get the channel. The games will be tape delayed and shown midday, when no one is home to watch them anyway. It is, however, a step in the right direction. I’ve always felt we should be privileged to watch some prospect baseball on occasion. Hopefully things expand to the point where fans can watch Triple-A and Double-A games on days that the Dodgers are off, or where the schedule allows an “organizational double-header” by showing a Major League game at 4pm Pacific Time, and the Triple-A game following.

• If you haven’t been to the Baseball Exhibition at the Reagan Library, you need to go. Really. Here’s a bit of my visit there a few weeks ago.

• I’ll be offline for a bit. Time for a little R&R with the fam.

--Just my two cents

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