Marlins respect Lasorda's passion
Players enjoy seeing interim skipper argue, but say ball was fair
JUPITER, Fla. -- With all due respect to legendary manager Tommy Lasorda, the Marlins say the umpire got the call right.
In the first inning of Tuesday's game at Vero Beach, Fla., James Loney of the Dodgers tapped a slow roller that straddled the first-base line. Marlins pitcher Andrew Miller drifted over, and with the ball teetering at the chalk, he picked it up and tagged Loney.
Home-plate umpire Damien Beal ruled Loney out, ending the inning. Seconds later, the 80-year-old Lasorda, filling in as Dodgers manager for Joe Torre, trotted ever so slowly toward Beal to protest.
Seeing the fight in Lasorda brought big cheers from the Dodgertown crowd.
Back managing because Torre was preparing to travel for preseason games in China, Lasorda contended the ball was foul. He said so publicly Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning in an interview on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning."
Asked about the play Wednesday, Miller and catcher Mike Rabelo both claimed the ball was fair and Loney was indeed out.
"It was clearly on the line, or on the fair side of the line," Miller said. "I just stabbed at it real quick to touch it while it was in fair territory. When I picked it up, [Loney] was arguing with the call.
"I was more shocked that he didn't run. I didn't pick it up clean. If he could have run, my throwing angle wouldn't have existed. So he was more intent to argue with the umpire. I'll take an out, any way I could get it." Rabelo repeated that the ball was fair, and he encouraged Miller to make the tag. The Marlins catcher actually was more surprised to see Lasorda in the role of manager.
"I didn't know he was managing until they made a pitching change," Rabelo said. "Then I said, 'Holy cow, he is managing!' Afterwards, I found out about Torre. I think that's pretty cool. When I was a kid, he was managing [the Dodgers]. He's a vocal guy.
"He's very passionate. Even in the ninth inning, he was rooting on some of the younger guys who are still in Minor League camp. I thought that was pretty cool. He was cheering on anyone wearing blue."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.