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Dodgers: MLB May Have a New Date for Opening Day Circled on its Calendar

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Dodgers fans are used to Opening Day being placed in March or at the very least a home opener in April. The coronavirus has put a temporary hold on that though, leaving fans to wonder when we will finally get to see baseball. As it turns out, the league is considering one holiday in particular as an option.

The news comes out just as Toronto announced that it will not allow public events until July. That lines up well with this prediction that Major League Baseball could see baseball kicking off on July 4th. It might end up being a very patriotic Opening Day indeed for the Dodgers.

If baseball were to start on July 4th with the schedule as is, that would put the Dodgers against the Marlins at Chavez Ravine at 7:10 PM. With Toronto being banned from crowds, that date actually does make sense. Most experts at this point have predicted that we would be lucky to see baseball start back up in late June.

Should the Dodgers get going on July 4th, that would put them approximately 61 games behind schedule. The league still has plenty to figure out in regards to how many games will actually be played this year, and how that would all play out. Some have predicted that baseball will opt to push the schedule into November or even as late as December. 

Whatever the case, the fact that baseball has not been called off entirely yet should be somewhat of a relief for Dodgers fans. How would you feel about an Independence Day Opening Day?

NEXT: 2019 Playoff Baseballs Were De-Juiced, According to New Study

Dodgers: 2019 Playoff Baseballs Were De-Juiced, According to New Study

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Between the Astros and Red Sox investigations, controversial new rule changes, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob Manfred and the commissioner’s office have had their hands full these past few months. Another new story came to light Tuesday morning, this one regarding the baseballs in the 2019 postseason.

To sum up the investigation’s findings, there were a large quantity of baseballs in the 2019 postseason that had the same “batch codes” as 2018 balls. The 2018 balls were not nearly as “juiced” as the 2019 balls. The study references “lace thickness”, which varied from ball to ball. Player testimonials also aligned with the study’s results.

“‘Everything we saw as players would have said that the baseball was different,’ said the pitcher, who requested to remain anonymous.”

From a Dodger standpoint, one can not help but wonder if Will Smith’s fly out to the warning track in game five would have been a home run with one of the 2019 balls.

Even the Dodgers dugout instinctively thought the ball would keep on traveling, much like every normal 2019 baseball.

While playing the “what if” game is fun, the Dodgers were still playing with the same inconsistent batch of balls as the Nationals. The de-juiced balls didn’t stop Anthony Rendon or Juan Soto from going back-to-back off Clayton Kershaw in game five.

MLB has publicly rejected the notion of juiced balls in the first place, much less the de-juicing of those same balls. However, as we all know, Rob Manfred isn’t exactly the most trustworthy commissioner in professional sports. Here’s to MLB resuming play sooner rather than later, as these scandals piling up are no good for the game.

NEXT: The Dodgers 2020 Schedule Could Get Really Weird

Lakers News: Los Angeles Players Symptom Free After Positive Tests

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The Lakers look to be making out okay after two players tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks back. The team completed their 14-day at-home isolation in order to ward off the spread of the virus just in case more players were infected.

Two Lakers players tested positive almost right after the NBA season was officially suspended indefinitely. The timeline of that all makes sense, given that Los Angeles played the Nets that same week. The Nets had four different players test positive for the virus, including Kevin Durant.

Although the players have been cleared of the symptoms, that does not mean much more changes about their lives for the moment. There are still no workouts being held, and the NBA has not given teams any clear direction as to when games could start back up again.

The NBA was suspended when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

MLB News: Baseball Has a Decision on Minor League Pay During Hiatus

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MLB is making things right with their players in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. After agreeing to player-friendly deals with the player’s union in regards to service time, the pay of minor league players was the next thing to be discussed.

As it turns out, the league is more than willing to work with minor leaguers. That is interesting, considering that MLB has not historically taken very good care of their lower-level players. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that that league will continue to pay minor leaguers $400 a week until at least June. 

The $400 a week stipend may not sound like much, but it is actually a raise for lower minor league players. Veteran players will fall short of their expected salaries, but this is still very much a win for MLB and their minor leaguers

MLB still does not have an estimated start date for baseball, so the May 31st date does not reflect any anticipated change in schedule. There are still far too many unknowns to predict when baseball will be able to start back up. This agreement would be addressed again if baseball is pushed back even further, or worse, canceled altogether this year. 

MLB is also making sure that minor league players have their medical benefits covered. This is a key aspect of the deal, which could have left injured or rehabbing players without any options for medical care. Overall, it’s a good move for the league, no matter how little the pay. 

NEXT: Justin Turner and Joc Pederson Affected by New MLB Agreement

 

Dodgers: Justin Turner and Joc Pederson Affected by New MLB Agreement

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It might be one of the most difficult times in history to be a Dodgers fan right now. Even more than losing back-to-back World Series, the last six months have been wild for fans in Los Angeles. The Astros cheating scandal just reminded us that we should have had our first championship since 1988, and things have only gotten stranger since then.

The Dodgers got Mookie Betts in February, which was great, but things have gone downhill quickly. The entire sports world shut down with the COVID-19 pandemic, and baseball has had to have conversations on how to proceed. The league has already decided with the Player’s Union that 2020 will count as one year of service time, regardless of whether or not games were played.

That rule adjustment makes this year that much more difficult for Dodgers fans. If no games are played this year, Mookie Betts can enter free agency without ever playing a game for Los Angeles. Unfortunately, there are more key pieces on the team that going to be entering free agency after 2020.

Justin Turner

When Justin Turner came over to the Dodgers, very little was expected of him. At best, the assumption was that he would earn some sort of bench role and rotate into the lineup. Turner shocked the baseball world when he hit .340 for the Dodgers in 2014 across 109 games played. 

Since that time, Turner has become a staple in the Dodgers’ lineup. He has hit 112 homeruns and driven in 383 en route to two World Series appearances and a few iconic clutch moments. Turner will be 36 in November and is also in the final year of his four-year deal. It does not seem likely that JT would play anywhere else, but if the year were to be skipped altogether, it would be hard to justify spending more than two years on him. 

Turner’s offense and defense took a little bit of a downturn last year as his age begins to show a little. Regardless, he is one of the best stories to come out of Los Angeles in a long time. Expect him to get a Chase Utley type of deal, but for much more money.

Joc Pederson

If you were surprised Joc was still on the team when Spring Training started, you’re not alone. Pederson seemed like the perfect trade candidate when the Dodgers acquired Mookie Betts, maybe even before that. A powerful left-handed hitting outfielder that crushed 36 homeruns in platoon role just screams trade bait for a crowded outfield like the Dodgers have.

And that’s not to say they did not try. The Dodgers had a deal in place that would have sent Joc and Ross Stripling to Anaheim, a deal that ultimately fell through. Nevertheless, Joc is in the final year of arbitration before he is eligible to become a free agent. He projects to earn close to $15 million a year annually, putting him far out of Los Angeles’ price range for a platoon guy. 

So if 2020 is a total loss, the Dodgers held onto Joc for no reason at all. The plan was likely to look for a trade partner throughout the year, but we may never know. 

Everyone Else

There are four other guys scheduled to enter free agency that are worth noting as well. Pedro Baez is in the final year of arbitration, earning $4 million in 2020. It’s a little bit of a guess to assume Baez what Baez gets paid since the Dodgers have used him in a very strange way throughout his career. 

Alex Wood signed a one-year, $4 million deal to return to the Dodgers and enter their starting rotation. With Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin ready to go, it seems as though Wood would go elsewhere in 2021. 

Blake Treinen signed a one-year, $10 million deal that the Dodgers were hopeful would pay off. Treinen has been an elite reliever as recently as 2018 and they were betting on him returning to that form. He only threw one inning in spring training, but I am sure there are other teams that would be willing to take a gamble on him. 

Enrique Hernandez has been a fan-favorite since he arrived in Los Angeles, but he is in his final year of arbitration as well. Your guess is as good as mine as to what teams will pay him, but he was having a heck of a spring. Kiké hit three homeruns in thirty at-bats during Spring Training.

Outlook

All of that to say, the 2020 season better happen. The team will look much different next year no matter how many games are played in 2020, so now is the time to take advantage and bring a World Series back to Los Angeles. 

NEXT: Dave Roberts Says All Options to Play Should Be Considered

Dodgers History: Dusty Baker and the Birth of the High-Five

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As the world practices social distancing amidst the Covid-19 scare, the staff and contributors at Dodgers Nation are looking forward to a time when we can all gather together again at Chavez Ravine to cheer on our Boys in Blue.

When that day finally comes, we’ll cheerfully celebrate every Belli home run and Kershaw strikeout with endless high fives. In doing so, we’ll pay homage to a piece of Dodgers history that dates all the way back to 1977.

On the final weekend of the 1977 regular season, fans watched anxiously with hopes that the Dodgers would become the first team in MLB history with a quartet of players reaching 30 home runs in a single year.

Dusty Baker remained the final piece of the puzzle with Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith having already reached the milestone.

Finally, on October 2, 1977, in the final game before the playoffs, Baker ripped his 30th home run of the season.

Waiting for Baker in the on-deck circle was Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke, who in celebration of the team feat raised his hand high in the air. As chronicled in the ESPN 30 for 30 short titled “The High Five,” Baker, unsure how to respond, slapped Burke’s hand and the high-five was born.

While Burke would controversially be traded to the Oakland A’s the next season, the celebration became a Dodgers’ mainstay and a part of their advertising strategy in the following seasons.

As many already know, the high-five has since grown and is now one of the most popular means of connecting with others in an exciting fashion.

So as Dodgers fans remain quarantined in their homes, we encourage you to look towards happier times when we can all be together again.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to honor Dodgers history with high-fives all around in celebration of a 2020 World Series Championship.

Until then, let us know below who you’re looking forward to giving a high five to sometime soon!

Dodgers News: Mookie Betts’ Loyatly to LA Questioned, Turner’s Opening Day Video Pops Off, and More!

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For a week without sports, there is plenty of news every day for the Dodgers and all of baseball. We’ve got a lot of glimpses of players at home, most recently Kershaw’s juggling challenge to teammate Cody Bellinger. We also got to look back on Hee-Seop Choi’s famous homerun derby from 2005.

Speaking of getting glimpses of players at home, Justin Turner and his wife Courtney are clearly missing baseball. The pair teamed up for an iconic remake of what Opening Day could have been.

Dodgers: Justin Turner Teams with Wife for Glorious Opening Day Video

On a more serious note, ESPN hosts debated whether or not Mookie Betts would show any loyalty to the Dodgers if the season ended today. The short answer: nah. 

Dodgers: ESPN Talks Mookie Betts’ Loyalty to Los Angeles

And finally, Dave Roberts discussed the potential of playing games and what needs to be done. Roberts believes that every option to play needs to be considered, even if it completely changes the game we know.

Dodgers: Dave Roberts Says All Options to Play Should Be Considered

All of that and more, this week at Dodgers Nation! Check back daily for the most up-to-date information on your favorite Los Angeles baseball team. 

NEXT: Dodgers Pitching Prospect Finds Way to Work Mechanics and Fight Boredom

Dodgers: A Visual of Clayton Kershaw’s Pitch Dynamics and Spin rate

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In a perfect world, the Dodgers would be 4-0 and by now and Clayton Kershaw would have picked up his sixth opening day win for Los Angeles. But we’re instead remaining hopeful that there will even be a season in 2020.

While the best-case scenario looks to be about June for baseball to return, there’s no reason why we can’t remain excited about an incredible club the Dodgers have on paper. And that incredible team’s pitching staff would have once again been led by none other than Clayton Kershaw.

Doom and gloom setup aside (apologies for that), let’s get into what you came here to see… motion graphics!

User TCSportsFan on Reddit posted a fantastic graphic of Kershaw’s pitch dynamics and spin rate.

Clayton Kershaw’s Pitch Dynamics from Dodgers

On the fastball, that spin rate of 2,477 would put Kersh in the top 30-35 range of Major League pitchers with a minimum of 1,000 4-seamers thrown since 2017. However, his average spin rate is closer to 2,400 over those three seasons. Moreover, the slider places him in the top 100, and surprisingly — for being known as much as he is for having a devastating curveball — that curve spin rate of 2,463 is about middle of the pack at best for Uncle Charlies tracked since 2017.

Where the hope and change would come for Clayton and company would be in his research with the fine folks at Driveline Baseball. Of course, as mentioned earlier this spring, Kershaw is amongst the Dodgers that took a trip up to Kent, Washington this offseason to have his pitch efficiency analyzed. The early returns were promising for the 32-year-old, but now it’s in sit and wait mode for the lefty.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, I’m not a huge analytics nerd, but I do enjoy them and think they 100% make baseball better. But I ultimately just really liked the Reddit graphic and felt inclined to share with you fine folks.

NEXT: Clayton Kershaw Working to Blend Old School and Analytics

LA News: Kings Make a Trade, NCAA Gets it Together, and More!

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It was quite the news day in Los Angeles, not necessarily for all of the right reasons. The Lakers made headlines when Shaquille O’Neal went public with his reasoning for appearing on a controversial Netflix docuseries. The Kings made a move that should prove beneficial, and college sports finally figured out how to get it together.

College sports were a little bit behind the curve in terms of creating player-friendly rules amid the coronavirus pandemic. But it looks like they finally got there, as the NCAA Division I Council voted to allow schools to provide spring-sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for winter sports athletes, who had their seasons cut short.

The Los Angeles Kings made a move on Monday by signing forward Tyler Madden to a three-year entry-level contract. The Deerfield Beach, Fla. native scored 65 points in 63 career games, which was the most points on the Northeastern University squad in that span. Madden was originally acquired in the trade that sent Tyler Toffoli to Vancouver.

Shaq had a little bit of explaining to do to the Los Angeles faithful, but don’t worry Lakers fans.

Lakers: Shaq Explains His Appearance on Netflix’s Tiger King

And finally, you won’t want to miss Clayton Kershaw challenged Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger in a juggling competition for the ages!

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Challenges Cody Bellinger in Charity Juggling Match

All of this and more at LA Sports Report! Check back daily for the latest in Los Angeles sports news.

Dodgers Pitching Prospect Finds Way to Work Mechanics and Fight Boredom

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Desperate times… 

All of us are trying to find ways to pass the time and keep our minds occupied as we do our parts to flatten the curve. With that said — while he’s admittedly more of a slider guy — Dodgers left-handed pitching prospect John Rooney is back home in New York and finding ways to stay in throwing shape and to stave off the boredom.

It proved to be a hilarious combination.

Last season the lefty was surpassed by a few young up and coming players on the Dodgers top prospects list per MLB, but he’s still a quality arm making his way up to LA. The 23-year-old was drafted in the third round of the 2018 MLB draft and ended his season with a promotion to the Single-A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2019. 

Understandably, he was excited to continue his progress here in 2020, but with the Coronavirus shutting down operations at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, that’s on pause indefinitely.

However, thanks to John, we can all now add his “three easy steps” method to build up our mechanics to avoid crying ourselves to sleep too!

Tweet us your photos of socks taped to your arm and tag John Rooney!

NEXT: Get to Know More About John Rooney