Odalis Perez and Lo Duca Have a Past
You know how Odalis Perez, the new Nationals Opening Day starter, spent four season with the Dodgers? And you know how new Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca also spent a lot of time with the Dodgers? That means they've been a battery before, right? Those guys were probably best friends, right? This is like reuniting college buddies or something, right? Um, right?
The Dodgers scolded Odalis Perez for lashing out Sunday at, well, everyone except the pitching staff, expressing their disappointment in the emotional starter and strongly encouraging him to apologize to the team....
"If you have a problem with something, you should talk to the team and not pop off in the paper," catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "If you're going to pop off in the paper, then you've got no guts.
"You go to the source ... that's how it gets solved. Then you have more respect for that person. You have no respect for somebody when they pop off in the paper, and you hear about it hearsay."
"No guts," huh? That's clubhouse code for "my best buddy, with whom I'd be happy to christen a brand-new ballpark in a city across the continent five summers from now," right?
At the time (July 2003), a columnist wrote "Look for the Perez-Lo Duca bout on pay-per-view." But now all that's in the past, and there's no reason to regurgitate a five-year old story.
But....since you're weak-minded and you want to stir up past demons, you probably want to read Perez's comments that prompted the "no guts" response, don't you? According to then-L.A. Times guy but now WaPo guy Jason Reid, they included:
* "If we keep playing the way we're playing, there's no way for us to go nowhere."
* "We need to start producing, or get some other players to produce, because all the pressure's on the pitching staff ... and that's not fair."
* "The trade deadline is coming. If we don't make a move, we're going to waste this season like last season. If we don't score runs, we don't produce, we're not going to win."
Later, Perez sort of backtracked to the Times, saying "You have to realize, I wasn't trying to hurt no one. It was for the benefit of the team. We weren't hitting, we weren't scoring runs, and if we don't score, we're not going to win....Maybe some took it personally, maybe some respected me for what I said and some didn't. But this is a team here. We're brothers, and I don't want to be an enemy on this team."
And then again the next season: "We scored less runs than Detroit, a team that lost more than 100 games. But I learned from that. It was a mistake, even if I told the truth, because I just shouldn't have said it."
So all was well. Except that two summers later, all was again not well, with Perez venting to reporters after a team meeting in which he felt he was singled out for criticism, according to several Southern Cali papers.
"There are people here who think they are superstars, but nobody on this team is a superstar,' Perez said. "There are people who are going to the Hall of Fame, and I respect that, but people come from other teams and think they're superstars. ... If we pull together, we'll be fine. Hopefully, we can pull together and not be saying things about other players.'...
Perez...took exception to what he perceived as being called out in front of his teammates during Saturday's meeting.
"If you have something to say to me, don't embarrass me in front of everyone,' Perez said. "Teammates are teammates. If you feel that way, talk to me [privately]. Don't embarrass me publicly. That's [messed] up.''
So I guess, all in all, you can think of Perez as your classic "Clubhouse Guy," in the sense of "a guy who sometimes happens to be located in a clubhouse."
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