Friday, August 01, 2008
An Interesting Comment On Andy LaRoche
I had the pleasure of attending the Dodger Adult Baseball Camp in January and one of the great things it afforded me was one on one access with a number of the Dodger minor league managers and instructors. These guys are great to hang out with and love to talk anything and everything baseball. Late one afternoon, I was soaking in a tub of ice sucking down my 2nd or 3rd postgame beer when one prominent minor league instructors (who shall otherwise remain nameless) crawls into the whirlpool next to me and pops open a cold one for himself and starts complimenting me on my last at bat against the team he was coaching. GREAT STUFF, YOU CANT IMAGINE, sorry I digress. Anyway we started talking about this and that and the conversation turned to third base for the Dodgers 2008. This the spot I was waiting for and I jump in hard, talking him up and down how the future is now and the now is Andy LaRoche. He told me that he thought that Andy was going to get his chance this spring, but there were many in the organization, including himself, who didn't think that Andy's body would hold up enough to reach his potential as a player. Fast forward to spring training and Andy gets hurt on that %$#@%ing freak play. I knew in my gut that Andy would likely never get the shot he deserved again...
For the record, back in January this ML Coach was most worried about 3rd base on the 2008 team. He didn't buy that Nomar could play a whole season either and he didn't think that there was anyone else ready in the org to play 3rd base for the big club (sorry Blake DeWitt – and he really spoke like that "big club" ha!). He raved to me about how good Chad Billingsley was going to be this year and how Kershaw was a great kid, who did everything right, and just happened to be the best pitching prospect he has ever seen. He also loved the core of Loney, Kemp, Ethier, and especially Martin, he hoped the front office would keep this nucleus together and that they would each be Dodgers for a long time.
It was pretty apparent that the Org was hell bent on anyone but LaRoche at 3rd. If we had to give him up for 2 months of a player, while I know there will be a few tears on this board about it, I am glad we did it for one of the best pure hitters I have ever seen and a player that could make this year's team great.