Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

Mets Concerned Lasorda Has a Personnel Agenda

June 24, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Now that Fred Claire and Bill Russell are gone from the Dodgers, who is feeling the most pressure from Tom Lasorda's resurrection?

The New York Mets.

Lasorda's rise to interim general manager has created concern within the Mets' front office he will angle to bring Bobby Valentine and Mike Piazza back to Los Angeles.

Don't believe people who tell you it can't happen, because, in the Fox era, obviously anything can. (That includes flashier uniforms. ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that the Dodgers are considering a change for next season.)

Valentine, the Mets' manager, has made it clear he wants the team to sign Piazza. If it doesn't, Valentine might walk away from the last two years on his contract.

According to his agreement, he can't leave to manage another major league team. He can, however, return to manage in Japan. He could use that threat to escape from his contract with the Mets, who would, in this scenario, let him go to the Dodgers in return for compensation, probably minor league players.

In case you've forgotten, Valentine is Lasorda's favorite manager. He always has believed they could have the same kind of relationship he had as a manager with Al Campanis.

Valentine, of course, would want to bring Piazza with him.

Why would Fox officials be willing to spend the money required to sign him now when they weren't before?

Perhaps Lasorda could talk them into it. As we now know, Piazza didn't require as much money to sign as was widely reported. He wanted a no-trade clause, which the Dodgers, foolishly, wouldn't give him.

The next question is whether Lasorda wants Piazza back.

It's no secret Piazza distanced himself from Lasorda in recent years, much like a rebellious son would from his father. Lasorda didn't appreciate it. But strong ties remain between them. The relationship is definitely salvageable.

A final question: How much influence does Lasorda have with Fox?

That's unclear, but, as someone said Monday, Lasorda plans to be an interim general manager the way Bud Selig is an interim commissioner.

*

The Sacramento Kings aren't ready to talk seriously about a deal that would bring them Elden Campbell and either Eddie Jones or Nick Van Exel for Chris Webber. . . .

They still believe they can romance Webber into accepting Sacramento as his new home. . . .

The Clippers should take 7-foot center Michael Olowokandi with the first pick and count on Nebraska point guard Tyronn Lue being available at No. 22. . . .

All that talk about Jerry West moving across town to the Clippers? They've never talked to him about it. . . .

If you only go to one horse race a year, Sunday's Hollywood Gold Cup should be the one. . . .

Of his new deal with Gary Stevens, trainer Bob Baffert says the jockey can ride any horse in the stable, including Real Quiet. . . .

What about Kent Desormeaux, who rode the 3-year-old to wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness?. . . .

"I told Kent, 'You had better start wining and dining Gary,' " Baffert says. . . .

Azumah Nelson, Gabriel Ruelas, Miguel Angel Gonzalez and others on the July 11 boxing card at San Antonio's Alamodome will spar between 11 a.m. and noon Sunday at Hollywood Park. . . .

Some of the fighters will start their morning at Dockweiler Beach for the Keep L.A. Running 5 and 10K runs. . . .

Northern California was counting on a victory over Southern California in the IntenseCity Summer All-Star Slam on Sunday night at Santa Ana College Gymnasium until UCLA recruit Ray Young was called to the national junior team. . . .

The North is recruiting another UCLA recruit, JaRon Rush, of Kansas City, Mo., as a ringer. . . .

The city of Ontario is honoring Anthony Munoz on Friday night at the Ontario Convention Center. . . .

Got $100 million to spare? Riviera Country Club is for sale. . . .

Fred Couples applied for membership at L.A. Country Club but hasn't been accepted, probably because celebrities aren't welcome there. . . .

When I mentioned that to Jim Murray, he recalled a story about Victor Mature's rejection at L.A. Country Club because he was an actor. . . .

"Mature sent them a copy of one of his films to prove that he wasn't," Murray said.

*

While wondering how long before Lasorda will be pitching batting practice, I was thinking: Next up is Dana Scully in the booth with Vin, Glenn Hoffman won't be here long unless Fox evicts those squatters in the bullpen, George Steinbrenner would have fired Claire and Russell on different days to double the headlines.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|