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Blog Entry

Dee the Flea and Lopes' Philly/LA influence

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

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.

Dislikes:
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

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