In hiring Davey Lopes as their new first base coach the Dodgers are adding one of the game’s most successful base-stealers and base-stealing coaches to the staff, but there’s also an added bonus: Lopes is longtime friends with Dave Stewart, the former All-Star pitcher-turned-agent who represents center fielder Matt Kemp.
Kemp clashed with the previous coaching staff and Stewart wasn’t shy about going public with his thoughts on the situation, but now he’s confident that “Matt will have someone he can trust” in Lopes, whom he calls “the best friend I have in this world.”
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Lopes got in touch with Kemp several weeks ago to talk about his offseason workout program and yesterday Lopes spoke about the importance of having a good relationship with young players:
You have to adapt to today’s player. You have to be able to communicate. You need a guy to build you up. That helps elevate a player.
Kemp could definitely use some building up after seeing his OPS drop from .842 to .760 while his defense declined significantly as well, and Lopes’ base-stealing expertise may come in particularly handy. Kemp swiped 35 bases in 2008 and 34 bases in 2009, but was thrown out on 15 of his 34 attempts this season. Lopes isn’t a miracle-worker, but he seemingly has as good a chance as anyone of helping Kemp get back on track in 2011.
Danny Picard of Boston Metro reports that, during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed by security. The man was in the media-credentialed area next to the Red Sox dugout but he did not have media credentials. He was, however, using a small camera and texting frequently. When the man was taken away from the area, an Astros staffer tried to intervene, saying he was authorized to be in the area. Security did not buy the story, so the man was not allowed to return to that area but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.
This wasn’t the first time security had been made aware of the man. Apparently the same man had been up to some shady business during the ALDS against the Indians as well, which means the Astros may have been cheating throughout the postseason.
Representatives from all three teams have thus far opted not to comment on the matter. MLB chief communciations officer Pat Courtney said in an email on Tuesday, “We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally.”
Teams, especially nowadays, are paranoid in the postseason about sign-stealing, so they’re always doing their due diligence to make sure their signs are secure. Sign-stealing is part of the gamesmanship of baseball. Players and coaches are, obviously, allowed to use their eyes, ears, and mouths to communicate about opposing teams’ signs. They’re not allowed to use any kind of technology, including cameras and cell phones. If the allegations are substantiated, the Astros’ recent and upcoming accomplishments may be looked at with a raised eyebrow.