Tag:Davey Lopes
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:20 pm

Dee the Flea and Lopes' Philly/LA influence

LOS ANGELES -- He scoots. He scrams. He flips and darts.

The Dodgers list rookie shortstop Dee Gordon at 5-11 and 150 pounds, and while he's still growing at 23, he's already grown much in the eyes of first-base coach Davey Lopes.

See, that's because Lopes has been working with Gordon since 2006, when Gordon's father, Tom, worked in the Philadelphia bullpen and Lopes served as a Phillies' coach.

Dee Gordon was 18 then, and even skinnier.

"He used to come to the ballpark and work out, take ground balls before he signed," says Lopes of Gordon, whom the Dodgers drafted in the fourth round in 2008.

Three years later, here they are, together again on the other coast.

"It's crazy," says Gordon, getting a chance while Rafael Furcal is on the disabled list. "It's the game, I guess."

Lopes was high on Gordon back then, and remains high on him.

"Most people question him because of his build, whether he can stand up to the rigors of a major-league season," Lopes says. "But the only guy I can compare him to is, when Ozzie Smith started, he wasn't very big, either," Lopes says. "And from the left side, you could knock the bat out of his hands, literally.

"He was very thin in San Diego. Maybe not as thin as Dee. But he was no body builder. Can it happen [with Dee]? Who knows? I don't think with Ozzie, people back then said he would be a Hall of Famer."

Lopes isn't putting Gordon in the Hall, rather, his point simply is, who knows? It's tough to put limits on kids this young either way -- what they can't do, or what they can do.

Gordon punched out multi-hit games in six of his first 13 starts -- he's also got four steals -- and he impressed Tigers manager Jim Leyland this week.

"He's going to be a hell of a player," Leyland said. "He's not bigger than a half-minute right now. He's going to be a tremendous player."

In 13 games, he's hitting .273 with a .298 on-base percentage. He remembers Lopes hitting him hundreds of ground balls when he was a kid in Philadelphia, and he remembers watching intently as Lopes talked stealing and baserunning with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

"He's very receptive to constructive criticism," Lopes says. "He wants to know when he's done something wrong. And that's the only way to get better.

"He's got a lot of energy. He has good genes, he's been around the clubhouse."

Likes: Congrats to Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper on his new five-year deal in Chicago. Good broadcaster, good guy. ... Cameron Diaz on the Late Show with David Letterman this week. ... Bad Teacher looks like it's going to be a hoot. ... The Drive-By Truckers on Letterman this week. ... Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the art of bringing people together and bridging the gaps between disagreements: Mexican food and beer.

Goodbye, Big Man.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"We said we'd walk together baby come what may
"That come the twilight should we lose our way
"If as we're walkin', a hand should slip free
"I'll wait for you
"And should I fall behind
"Wait for me"

-- Bruce Springsteen, If I Should Fall Behind

Posted on: November 30, 2010 2:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 12:07 pm

Dodgers' early moves eye-opening

Come on now, the week's most intriguing issue isn't what the scales said when new Dodger Juan Uribe stepped on them during his physical examination Tuesday.

It's what the scale says when the Dodgers plop their 2011 payroll on top of it.

Maybe Uribe's new three-year, $21 million deal in Los Angeles will be looking a little ragged in 2013. Who knows, it might not look so great by the end of 2011. He's 31, seems like 36, and do you really think he can pop 24 homers in a summer again as he did in 2010?

But while the addition of Uribe provides plenty of cordwood for Hot Stove League debate, the fact that the Dodgers now have signed four significant free agents and we're not even to the Winter Meetings yet is the strongest signal yet that perhaps the worst of the Great McCourt Divorce Trial is starting to move through.

In handing left-hander Ted Lilly $33 million, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda $12 million, right-hander Jon Garland $5 million and now Uribe $21 million, the Dodgers have shelled out some $71 million during the offseason's first month.

You can argue that there is nary an impact player like a Cliff Lee or a Carl Crawford among them.

But neither, now, is there a Charlie Haeger in the projected mix for 2011.

The Dodgers are back in the game. Nobody's predicting a division title here but, already, the rotation is improved over that wing and a prayer they trotted out in 2010. Vicente Padilla as opening day starter was the organization's most embarrassing moment since the 1986 club filmed The Baseball Boogie music video.

In Garland and Lilly, general manager Ned Colletti is taking a smart, calculated gamble with veterans who are reliable and will handle a heavy innings-pitched workload. No, they don't completely close the gap with the world champion Giants of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. But more threadbare clubs like the Padres shouldn't run circles around them again.

Meanwhile, Uribe at second base at least has a better chance for a happy ending than Uribe at shortstop. No, that pear-shaped body isn't prototypical for a middle infield position. But a couple of things about Uribe:

-- He's a winner. He played pivotal roles on two World Series champion teams, the '05 White Sox and last year's Giants. When the stakes are high, he's come up big. He had nine RBIs in 14 post-season games last month.

-- He's beloved in the clubhouse. The Giants thought the world of him. On a Dodgers club that had clubhouse issues before Colletti arrived (Milton Bradley) and with a roster of younger players that still don't all get it (Matt Kemp), Uribe will add more than, say Manny Ramirez (no matter how the Dodgers spun his influence in the early days).

Again, this isn't to make Uribe out to be more than he is, which also is a man who batted .248 last season, owns a career on-base percentage of .300 and rarely works the count.

Truth be told, given where the Giants are and where the Dodgers are, this move is excellent for San Francisco, too. The Giants, who already specialize in ancient middle infielders (Omar Vizquel, Edgar Renteria), were smart not to over-extend with Uribe.

But for a Dodgers team that many figured would be drowning in the McCourt divorce saga for the next several years, the four moves so far at least represent hope that the clouds will part sooner rather than later.

And those don't even count what could be Colletti's best stroke of the winter, bringing back Dodgers legend Davey Lopes to coach first base. Lopes, a free agent after a dispute with the Phillies over his value, is the sharpest baserunning coach in the game.

That, and the possibility that maybe he can reach the still-maturing Kemp, make this way more than your average coach hire.

The Dodgers still have plenty to do and will be in the market for a catcher if they non-tender Russell Martin on Thursday (and the catching market is weaker than month-old iced tea).

But at the very least, a fourth-place club that finished 80-82 in 2010 has sprung out of the blocks quickly toward 2011. It's a start.

Posted on: October 13, 2008 8:22 pm

You'd think a major fight broke out

LOS ANGELES -- Something doesn't add up with Monday's disciplinary action. Since when does $16,000 equal zero?

The first number is the total dollars in fines handed out to seven different Dodgers and Phillies in the wake of the Game 3 dustup in this National League Championship Series.

The second number is the total ejections from the hollering match that started when Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda buzzed a fastball in the general vicinity of Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino's head.

This is a gross overreaction from baseball's discipline office.

It also is a prime example of how well things can go when they're actually handled on the field.

Umpire Mike Reilly and his crew did an excellent job of restoring order -- as did the coaching staffs from both teams.

And yet the Dodgers' Larry Bowa is slapped with a $500 fine by baseball's discipline czar, Bob Watson?

And Philadelphia's Davey Lopes gets $1,000?

"You'd think a major brawl happened," Lopes said during batting practice before Game 4. "He must have seen something on ESPN I didn't see."

Both managers, the Dodgers Joe Torre and the Phillies Charlie Manuel, also thought the fines were excessive. Especially because, again: No ejections. No punches throwing. Nothing but some screaming and hollering.

"They had total control of the situation," Lopes said of the umpires. "That's what I don't understand. All I said was, 'Play the game!'

"From (Watson's) perspective watching on TV, I guess they thought I was trying to incite a riot. ... I don't know. Who cares, it's over. He has a job to do. You can believe me or your lying eyes. He knows what it means."

Posted on: October 8, 2008 8:54 pm

Bowa, Lopes and Black Friday

PHILADELPHIA -- Even after the Phillies won their first -- and only -- World Series in 1980, you know what still sticks in people's craw around here?

An incident from the 1977 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that they say helped steal another World Series opportunity from the Phils. Black Friday, they still call that day.

It played out with two out in the ninth inning during Game 3 when, with the series tied at one game apiece and Philadelphia leading 5-2 ... well, a couple of things happened before we get to the incident.

When the Dodgers put a runner aboard with two out, Phillies manager Danny Ozark allowed slow-footed left-fielder Greg Luzinski to remain in the game when many folks thought he should have inserted Jerry Martin a defensive substitute.

Pinch-hitter Manny Mota hit a long drive to the wall that Luzinski couldn't handle. Vic Davalillo scored, and Mota wound up at third when second baseman Ted Sizemore couldn't handle Luzinski's throw.

Up next, Davey Lopes hit a scorching ground ball that bounced off of third baseman Mike Schmidt's knee. Shortstop Larry Bowa fielded the carom and threw to first. On a bang-bang play, umpire Bruce Froemming ruled Lopes safe.

So instead of game over, Phillies win 5-4, Mota scored to make it 5-5. Dodgers shortstop Bill Russell eventually singled Lopes home with the go-ahead run, and Los Angeles won to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Two days later, the Dodgers clinched the World Series berth.

Wouldn't you know it, too: Not only are the Phillies and Dodgers reprising their hard-fought NLCS' of 1977 and 1978 here this year, but Lopes and Bowa are here as well -- the former as Philadelphia's first-base coach, the latter as the Dodgers' third-base coach.

"I see it a lot," Bowa said of flashing back to that play. "Especially when Davy says there's no way he was out. I see him all the time and he says no way. But he knows he was out."


"Why should I admit it?" Lopes shot back in a separate interview Wednesday. "To tell you the truth, I've never seen the play, don't want to see the play. Why Larry keeps dwelling on it, I have no clue.

"I'll be honest with you: We've got another game to play (Game 4), do we not? So what's the problem? Did they give up? Is that what he's telling me, that he gave up the next day? Or did Tommy John just throw too many sinkers for him and that's why we won?

"It wasn't the last game. They had plenty of opportunities to turn and reverse that. They didn't do it. So stop crying and get over and move on."

Bowa: "I do think the reason the play was called like that is because Bruce Froemming -- Davey Lopes was one of the fastest guys that played in the National League. When the ball went off Schmidty, (Froemming's) first reaction is there's no way anybody is going to throw him out because of the way he runs after the ball ricocheted to me. And I think he just got caught up in the fact that Davey was exceptionally fast and couldn't believe the play was going to be that close.

"But that was a big play, but I don't know if it would have gotten us to the World Series."

Lopes: "But what about the next day? That's what I'm trying to say. That game did not end on that particular inning, that particular day. I mean, they had the chance to regroup and come out and kick our butts the next day, but they didn't do it. They did not do it. It wasn't a one-game elimination-type thing. And that's what I don't understand.

"I think it's just a poor rationalization on whomever is talking about it."

One more from Lopes: "Black Friday, Blue Friday, I don't know why people talk about such a negative when they have such a great organization for so many years. That's something that happened, like, was that '77? Like, 31 years ago, if my math is correct. Why they dwell on it, I have no clue."

Can't wait for first pitch Thursday night.

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