In their first major blunder of the off-season, the Phillies allowed 1st base coach and base running guru Davey Lopes walk. Lopes was happy in Philadelphia, but with the additional responsibilities he has handled in his 4 years with the club, he felt he should be properly compensated. Lopes told reporters, “I just felt it was time to make a stand.”
Normally first base coaches are low man on the totem pole as far as salary goes. But Lopes did much more for the Phillies than point runners in the right direction.
He taught them how and when to steal bases and was the sole person in charge of the running game, something that is the manager’s job on most teams. Since 2007, Lopes ensured that the Phillies led all of baseball with an 84.3% stolen base success rate.
Lopes is right; with the added responsibilities, he deserved a larger pay check. He said the money they offered was good, but it did not reflect his true value to the team. Lopes stated, “I wanted to get paid what I felt I was worth…Believe me, I wasn’t trying to break the bank.” So, why not pay the man?
I spoke with Lopes during an event in 2009 about base stealing and also about player discipline. I asked him why a particular player (who shall remain nameless ;o) continually seemed to be in the wrong field position during certain situations. Lopes told me that he had personally spoken to that player about that exact issue on numerous occasions, but the player felt he knew better and would not follow instructions. I then expressed that I did not think discipline should be part of his job, to which he agreed. But Lopes is the kind of man that always does the right thing, whether it is his job or not. So after four years of doing many tasks that he was not getting paid for, I can see why he felt the need to make a stand.
The real shame here is that when Lopes expressed this to the management team, it fell on deaf ears. He should not have been allowed to walk. Will the Phillies suffer as a result of this loss? Only time will tell, but I can assure you that either way, he will be greatly missed by both the team and the fans. I wish Mr. Lopes all the best in his future and hope he lands in a city that appreciates his talents.
And The New Champs Are…
…the San Francisco Giants! Ok Phils fans, you can now officially feel better about the Giants whooping us in the NLCS; they did the same thing to the Rangers in the World Series, taking the title by 4 games to 1. The Giants pitching totally shut down the Rangers powerful offense, just as they did to the Phillies.
Another thing to feel good about? Cliff Lee lost both games he pitched in the series. I will always appreciate Lee for what he did for the Phillies in 2009, but losing him stings a little bit less now. It will be interesting to see where Lee lands in 2011.
So congratulations to the World Champion Giants and their fans…they deserve the title! See you next year :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography