An interview with Davey Lopes

An interview with Davey Lopes

Is it going to be strange to go out on the field tomorrow and see not only your former team in the dugout but also Larry Bowa coaching third base and vice versa, if Larry would feel a little strange looking over and seeing you?

DAVEY LOPES: I can't speak for him. It's not going to be strange for me simply because I haven't been part of the Dodgers organization since 1981. There's only two people over in that organization that I remember: Tommy Lasorda and Billy DeLury. There's no attachment whatsoever. I mean, none of the players I played with, I'm sure they're not going to show up. So that's the only way I would have some kind of emotional feeling playing against them.

Those series in '77 and '78, can you describe what they were like, especially against that Black Friday game in '77?

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DAVEY 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, what, was that '77? Like 31 years ago, if my math is correct. Why they dwell on it, I have no clue.

The rivalry was great. The intensity of playing those games was as equal to the World Series. And a lot of times it's more difficult and intense because you're trying to get to the World Series. It's almost like -- I don't want to say there's an emotional, I don't want to use the word let down, but gratification that you got to the World Series.

So those two years were two great teams, and we took advantage of some mistakes that they made and obviously they went on to a World Series and we in turn got beat by the Yankees two times.

Along those lines, I feel I have to give you a chance to respond to this. When we asked Larry Bowa the same question, the first words out of his mouth were Davey's been out for 31 years and he knows it but he won't admit it.

DAVEY LOPES: Why should I admit it? 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, do we not? So what's the problem? Did they give up? Is that what he's telling me 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.

Davey, you obviously being in Philadelphia for the last few years, you probably had a pretty good idea why the fans keep dwelling on it and why people keep dwelling on that '77 series and everything. Have you kind of gotten that sense why it's such a big

DAVEY LOPES: No, because they're trying to say that play cost them going to the World Series. Is that what they're saying?

I think so.

DAVEY LOPES: But what about the next day? That's what I'm trying to say. That didn't the game did not end 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 that's just poor rationalization on whomever is talking about it. Mainly the players over the years. And just afraid to admit they got beat by a better team that particular time. That's what it was. It wasn't just that one play.

The Phillies current stolen base success has been phenomenal. And you've obviously been in this so many years. When you see a player, do you get pretty ramped up about you see what the person can do to start with and what you think you can do with them to help them take it up two or three more levels from where they are?

DAVEY LOPES: I've been fortunate to be with an organization that puts a lot of emphasis on base stealing. Unfortunately, in this game -- I think it's starting to come back into the game more because there's not many balls flying out of the ballpark, if you can't manufacture runs by base stealing, hit and run or something, you're going to look awful bored out there.

Like I said, I'm fortunate, I came with an organization that they want to implement running into their offense. I've had some great students. They love doing what they are doing. They listen to what I try to teach them. And they've been very successful and they've made me look pretty good.

Can you talk about the approach you've taken with guys like Jimmy and Shane and Chase and Jayson?

DAVEY LOPES: Well, basically I have to earn their trust. I think the first thing you have to do when you go to a new organization or you start working with individual ball players, you have to earn their trust today. And I just go about teaching. I mean, I have a background in teaching. I have a degree in teaching, and I actually teach. I just try to teach them what I feel is best for them. Not necessarily do exactly what I did. But try to adjust and polish whatever they have and make them better.

Jimmy's pretty damn good right now. He's getting better. He's added a little more running to his game. I think he's attempted to steal third base more than in years past. And I believe he can get better. It's just a matter how much he chooses to run.

Vic, when I was over in Washington, somebody told me he had like four or five stolen bases at a time. I asked him what is wrong with you? Obviously the first thing he said is they don't let me run. They don't let you run because you've been getting thrown out. So we worked on a few things. I knew before we had a relationship for a short period of time in San Diego.

The other guy that we lost, Michael Bourn, in my opinion could be better than all of them because he has an extra gear that most players don't have speed wise. Good student also. And the other guy that took his place pretty much Jayson Werth and he's had a tremendous year this year and he's a very talented guy. And I could see Jayson being a 30 30 guy to be honest with you.

You've worked now with Charlie for a couple of years, what do you think is his biggest or best attribute as a manager?

DAVEY LOPES: Charlie's greatest attribute, any manager's greatest attribute, is he gets the most out of his players. The players like playing for Charlie Manuel. He lets them do their thing. His disposition is great with the ball players. You very seldom see him go off. But if he needs to go off, he goes off.

He's done it a few times. And I think Charlie's greatest asset, he manages people. He knows how to manage people. And that's why you see the success that he has out on the field.

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