If you were wondering whether there are any hard feelings lingering over Davey Lopes departure from Philly, the answer is no. A resounding no. The former first base coach exchanged a hug with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and spent a significant time during pre-game laughing heartily with the Phillies coaching staff as they prepared for batting practice.
"It got a little emotional out there," said Lopes, who is now the first base coach with the Dodgers, who open a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park tongiht.
It even got a little emotional during an interview with reporters as Lopes recounted his time in Philly and the circumstances surrounding his departure.
"I started feeling it last night when we flew in," Lopes said. "You see people walking around in downtown Philly saying Hey Davey, how you doing, sorry to see you're not back with us. Like I said, it's a little emotional. The four years I had here were as great as you could possibly have it. To see how this club and this organization grew to be, if not the best, then they have to be in the top three in the game of baseball, organizational wise, from top to bottom. Everything they do, from top to bottom, first class all the way. I kind of miss that."
The Phillies wanted to re-sign Lopes over the offseason, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement. In an interview with CSNPhilly.com after talks broke off, Lopes said they "had a different opinion on what I felt my worth was." Yesterday, he acknowledged money was an issue. But he also felt pulled back to Los Angeles so that he could spend more time with his daughter (she is an adult).
"That was a big part of my leaving," Lopes said. "Like I've always said, it was a very difficult decision. Believe me. I have nothing but great memories of this ballpark, and the fans, I consider the best in baseball. The intensity level coming into the ball park every day, I miss that tremendously. As you'll see when you go to LA with the empty seats. They're something you're not used to seeing in L.A. Neither am I. But, you know, this organization, the Phillies, from David Montgomery on down, is first class. They treated me great. It was a very difficult decision, believe me.
"It wasn't just (money). Was it a part of it? Yes, it was a part of it. But I have the utmost respect for Ruben, as a general manager and as a friend. He did what he felt what he had to do. I did what I had to do. That's it. There's no animosity whatsoever."
Lopes is clearly disappointed with the situation in L.A., where an MLB appointee has taken over day-to-day operations of the club and attendance is lagging.
"It's different," Lopes said. "It's been good, yeah. But it's different. It's not like what I remember. Put it that way.
"It is what it is, for now. We'll see what happens in the near future."