There is no immediate evidence to support the recent Philadelphia Inquirer story that claimed there was a rift between Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda and Executive Vice President Fred Claire and that Lasorda might ultimately become manager of the Phillies.
Nevertheless, the recent firing of Dodger Vice President Al Campanis, the reassignment of Claire to Campanis' position, the imminent retirement of farm director Bill Schweppe, the desire of Lasorda to move into the front office and the pressure on scouting director Ben Wade to stimulate a recently beleaguered farm system has created a situation in which management is jumping at shadows.
"The tension around the stadium is so thick that you can cut it with a knife," a prominent member of the personnel department said.
Lasorda has one year left on a three-year contract. His Dodger-blue blood previously prompted him to reject managerial feelers from the Montreal Expos, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. Would he accept a Philadelphia offer that does not include front office authority? That isn't clear. This much is: Phillie President Bill Giles, who makes the personnel decisions, is having too much fun to give it up, according to writers covering the club. In addition, since recently appointing Lee Elia as the managerial successor to John Felske, Giles has said Elia will have the job "for years to come," though his contract extends only through the rest of this year.
Could it be that the Inquirer story was part of a scheme hatched by Lasorda acquaintances to force the Dodgers' hand, to elicit a definitive decision on Campanis' former position before Lasorda's current contract expires?
Just speculating, of course.