News And Notes, FanFest Info, Minor League Signings, Passing Of a Legend
By Scott Andes
Here are a few news and notes on this beautiful sunny Southern California Saturday afternoon. Spring training camps are just a few short weeks from breaking.
Dodger Stadium Fan Fest to be moved inside Dodger Stadium.
For the first time ever, the Dodger Stadium Fan Fest (Presented by State Farm) will be moved from the parking lot inside Dodger Stadium. This will be the third annual FanFest, which will be held on January 31. The gates open at 10 AM, with admission, and parking free for everyone.
However in order to acquire autographs, you must purchase an autograph session voucher online for 20 dollars. All proceeds will go to benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.
Apparently more than 20 players currently on the Dodger’s major league roster will be on hand to sign autographs. Thos e players include Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Kenley Jansen, And new Dodgers Yasmani Grandal, Howie Kendrick, Brandon McCarthy, and Joel Peralta.
Also on hand to ink autographs, will be former Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Eric Karros, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Mickey Hatcher, Steve Yeager, Tim Wallach, Ken Landreaux, and Jerry Hairston Jr. Also signing will be coaches Mark McGwire, and Lorenzo Bundy.
There will be more than just autograph sessions though. The FanFest will also feature other activities, including running the bases, a social media lounge, Photo Opportunities in the dugout, and the usual on stage interviews with current and former players.
If you’ve been to the last few FanFests you’ll remember how unorganized they were outside, and how long the lines were for autographs. Hopefully it will be a bit more organized with shorter wait times with it being inside Dodger Stadium.
Fans will also be able to purchase opening day mini-plans, and individual game tickets, (Not opening Day tickets) at the FanFest. Fans will be able to purchase their autograph session tickets for the January 31 Fanfest on at Dodgers.com/FanFest
Dodgers Sign Sidearmer Ben Rowen
The Dodgers signed sidearm right hander Ben Rowen, (and Cunningham) to a minor league, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
Rowen a 26-year old right hander from Rancho Palos Verdes, California, was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 22 round of the 2010 amateur draft.
Call to the Pen
Rowen has pitched in just eight major league games as he made his big league debut last season in Texas. He pitched 8.2 innings and posted a 4.15 ERA with four earned runs, ten hits allowed, and struck out seven while walking four.
In 34 games for the Ranger’s triple-A affiliate the Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League, he posted good numbers. In 2014, for Round Rock Rowen was 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA and 31 strikeouts against nine walks in 47 frames pitched. During his minor league career, Rowen has posted a 21-5 record with a 1.72 ERA, with 7.4 whiffs per nine, and 2.7 walks per nine, while recording 40 saves. And yes he throws sidearmed/submarine style.
Dodgers sign third baseman Jarek Cunningham
The Dodgers also signed minor league third sacker Jarek Cunningham. Cunningham is a 25-year old right handed hitter from Spokane, Washington. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the eighteenth round of the 2008 draft.
Cunningham has never appeared in the majors, but has reached as far as the double-A level with the Pirates organization.
The young infielder batted .246 with eight home runs in 354 plate appearances last season for the Pirate’s double-A affiliate Altoona Curve of the Eastern League. Cunningham has experience at third base, second base, and shortstop. He’s a career .247 hitter with 65 minor league home runs, and an OPS of .731.
Mr. Sunshine passes away.
The sad passing of a legend rocked the Baseball world on Friday night, as Cub’s legend and hall of famer Ernie Banks passed away at the age of 83.
Banks was one of the greatest shortstops of all time, blasting 512 home runs, and playing 19 seasons with the Cubs. While he never got to play in a World Series, he is still considered one of the best shortstops of all time. Although he also played over 1,000 games at first base, and got some playing time at third base, and left field. He won two National League MVP awards, had five 40+ home run seasons, eight seasons of 100+ RBIs, and was an eleven time all-star.
From 1953-1971 Banks played just about every game with a smile on his face, never afraid to show his love and passion for the game of Baseball. He was most famous for coining the phrase “Let’s play two”.
Banks was inducted into the Baseball hall of fame in 1977, and finished his illustrious career with 2.583 hits. Condolences go out to the Banks family and Cubs fans everywhere.