LaRoche chats about time with Dodgers
Rookie fields questions about his big-league experience
Dodgers rookie third baseman Andy LaRoche fielded fans' questions during a live Web chat on Tuesday. He talked about his first season in the Major Leagues, including what it was like to get his first big-league hit and home run, and dressing like a clown during a recent road trip.
Thanatos: Which current Dodgers player has been the biggest help to you in the transition to the Major Leagues?
Andy LaRoche: I'd probably say Russ Martin, because he went through the same thing last year that I'm going through. He's helped me understand what to expect and how to go about your business around the clubhouse. I know he's just a second-year guy, but he's taken me under his wing and shown me the way things are around Dodger Stadium.
TrueBlue42: How did you feel when you launched your first Major League home run? Do you have the ball?
LaRoche: It was a great feeling. I did get to keep the ball and I'm glad to get that monkey off my back. A few of the guys were giving me a hard time about when I was finally going to hit it. I got it in Colorado and I don't have to worry about that anymore.
TrueBlue42: Did your brother, Adam, congratulate you on your first home run?
LaRoche: Yeah, he called me that day after the game and congratulated me. They were in San Diego and a few of his teammates came out during the game and told him and then he called me afterward. He said 499 more to go.
dodgerfanrob22: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up?
LaRoche: Craig Biggio was probably my favorite player growing up. I was a big Astros fan and I loved the way he played the game. He was hard core and always got dirty.
zerbs63: If you could pick, would you rather play with your brother or compete against him?
LaRoche: With him, definitely. That's always been a dream to be on the same team.
Dodgers123: How is playing in the Major Leagues different from the Minors?
LaRoche: I think from a hitter's standpoint, the pitchers are a lot more consistent. They hit their spots and don't make as many mistakes as in the Minors. The biggest difference is probably the stadiums and the fans. Every day it's 30, 40 or 50,000 people out there and in the Minors it's less than a thousand. It's a lot more fun up here where every day is pretty much a big game and fans are booing you or cheering for you. That's probably the biggest difference.
bradalban: What adjustments are you going to make for next season?
LaRoche: I'd say probably my approach at the plate. I can't be quite as aggressive, because they have scouting reports, so I'll probably have to be a little more patient or selective at the plate.
Dodger81: What was your "welcome to the big leagues" moment?
LaRoche: I think when I first stepped on the field in Atlanta and it all just kind of sunk in. When they announced my name in the starting lineup, a great feeling came over me. And seeing myself up on that big JumboTron. I'd say that was it.
UPress: I know you'd rather be in Los Angeles because that is where the big club is, but city-wise, which city do you prefer, Vegas or LA?
LaRoche: Definitely LA. It's too hot in Vegas, for one. And second of all, it's a great place to go on vacation but living there, everything is so fake and all for show. I still don't really know my way around LA or the area. I know there are a lot of great restaurants, but you have that in Vegas, too. I'd like to get to Hollywood or Beverly Hills maybe and walk around there. That would be cool.
zerbs63: What is the clubhouse morale like now that the Dodgers have been realistically knocked out of contention for postseason play?
LaRoche: Obviously we're still trying to win every game and everybody still has their stats to worry about. It's not as exciting as it was when we were still in the playoff hunt, but a win is a win. We're still trying to play the spoiler role right now.
Thanatos: Have you had a chance to spend time with Tommy Lasorda? What's it like to be around him?
LaRoche: Oh yeah, I always seem him around and he's a character. I always tell him I wish he'd try to throw me his curveball and I tell him he wouldn't get the ball back. He thinks I would be able to hit it but he's a character and he's a good guy.
jacmacho: Who do you hang out with on the team when you're not on the field?
LaRoche: A lot of the guys I came up with, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp , James Loney and Dewlyn Young. Also Joe Beimel and Brad Penny. Mostly it's the younger guys. Chin-Lung Hu and I will go out to sushi together. It's a good group of guys and I like hanging out with them.
dids113208: I know that in 2005 you, Kemp, Hu, Tony Abreu and Hong-Chih Kuo were all teammates in Vero Beach. Do you have any funny memories you can share with us?
LaRoche: Yeah. I've got a couple funny stories from there but it doesn't really involve these guys. One time we were coming home from the game and we saw a dead alligator in the middle of the road so we took it and brought it back to the house. DY (Dewlyn Young) was in the shower and we put it in the shower and shook the tail like it was alive. That scared him pretty good. Another guy on the team Jamal Hamilton, he wasn't home, so we put it under his sheet on his bed and he screamed like a little girl when he came home and found it.
psquar3: Thanks for taking time to answer our questions. How often do you communicate with your brother, Adam, since you're in LA and he's in Pittsburgh.
LaRoche: I'd say probably once or twice a week. We don't only talk about baseball stuff. But it's small talk to see how each other are doing or how the family is doing -- that sort of stuff.
Joe-Jo: I noticed that you come from a baseball family. What was you favorite position to play when you were growing up?
LaRoche: I was always a catcher growing up so I'd have to say that. Both of my brothers were always pitchers so they had to have someone catch them. So they would strap the gear on me and send me back there. My oldest brother, Jeff, was always wild so that was a fun time.
Tony07: What has been your favorite moment so far in your early career?
LaRoche: I'd say probably just my first hit. Having it be in the same stadium and same place where Adam got his first hit, Atlanta. That was pretty exciting.
JTown: What's your favorite pastime outside of baseball?
LaRoche: I like riding four-wheelers out in the desert, that sort of thing. I also like fishing. I'm not a big hunter. Both my brothers are into it and I go duck hunting with them from time to time but I really like fishing. Adam still owes me a fishing trip from a bet we made a few years ago over who would hit more homers.
andylaroche1fan: Now that you got your first career homer, what else would you like to accomplish?
LaRoche: That really wasn't a big goal of mine. Obviously, everybody says it but I'd like to win the World Series. That's the only team accomplishment. Personally, I'd like to hit over .300, and home runs -- I don't have a certain number that I'd like to hit.
Krunko: Will you be buying Halo 3 today?
LaRoche: Well, I probably would have if my Xbox 360 didn't crash a few weeks ago. I might get a PlayStation 3 or I might get another 360. We'll see.
jes618: Will you be undergoing surgery on your back during the offseason? Is it a chronic problem?
LaRoche: No, it's not really a problem anymore. There won't be any surgery at all.
tru2myblue: Do you think that you're the immediate answer to the Dodgers' need for a power-hitting third baseman?
LaRoche: Oh, I don't know. That's not for me to decide. It's up to them and what they think. I think I can come in and do a good job playing third base and I think I can put up some good numbers, but that's for the fans, the coaches and the media to decide. I'll just wait and see how I play and let others decide if I'm the answer.
andylaroche1fan: Does anybody make jokes about your first career home run because you hit it in Colorado and people say the ball travels farther there?
LaRoche: Yeah, just DY. He said it doesn't count because it's there but other than that, nobody really. He doesn't have one yet and he was hoping to get one before me, so that's why he said it didn't count.
Thanatos: Do you participate in fantasy sports or prefer to leave everything on the field?
LaRoche: Yeah, I do fantasy football and this is my first year doing that. I did fantasy baseball a few years ago back in college but that's about it.
TrueBlue42: Coming in on the last road trip to San Francisco, I heard the rookies had to wear interesting attire. Can you tell us some of the favorite costumes worn that day?
LaRoche: I'd say Kemp's was right up there. He had a fat suit on with a thong and tassels. Martin had the "Nacho Libre" outfit which was pretty hilarious, too. Takashi Saito was in a Samurai costume that fit him pretty well. Jon Meloan had a barbarian outfit on. I was a clown but it was all pretty funny.
dodgers18: What kind of music do you like?
LaRoche: All rock. Mostly classic rock. I just went to a Van Halen concert last week because they're starting up their tour and that was pretty sweet. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Leppard, Britney Spears ... LOL. There's not a certain band that's my favorite. I just like good music. I don't care who's singing it. I've got to throw Metallica in there, too.
Dodgers123: How competitive were you and your brother when you were kids? Do you still compete about baseball now?
LaRoche: We don't really compete now, just friendly things. I was the most competitive one in the family, whether it was a board game or ping pong. I would always compete and I wanted to win bad. I take that same mentality on the field but off the field, we don't really compete much.
psquar3: Do you have a pregame ritual before you go out onto the field?
LaRoche: Just day to day. If something works for me one day and I do well, I'll eat it again the next day. Or certain routines with stretches. It changes day to day and there's not one thing I do every day of the year.
tru2myblue: Do you feel any added pressure being considered one of the top, if not the top prospect for the Dodgers?
LaRoche: No, not at all. I just go out there and do my thing. I try not to worry about what Baseball America says or what any of the papers say. I just try to go out and have fun. It's a game I've been playing my whole life. Just being in the big leagues and trying to impress the coaching staff and everybody else. That's what I worry about, not what the media says.
LaRoche: Thank you all for taking part in my first Web chat. We appreciate all your support this year and hope to see you out here in the final week of the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.