Mr. Ambassador

A new and exciting addition to the game of baseball was announced at the Winter Meetings lat week, the World Baseball Classic.  This is an unprecedented event for baseball, as more than 170 of the best players in the world will compete for their home countries in a tournament.  This is a tremendous idea by the Commissioner and the Player?s Association. Four_faces_edited_1  

The World Baseball Classic is intended to show how much the game has grown internationally, as well as providing a platform to promote the game at its finest.  For the first time in the history of international play, the best players in the world will compete.  When I managed Team USA in the 2000 Olympics, we sent minor league players.  In the WBC, you will see players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Derek Jeter represent the United States against Manny Ramirez, Miguel Tejada and Albert Pujols representing the Dominican against players like Ichiro and Tadahito Iguchi representing Japan.  The talent will be at its highest, and, consequently, so will the competition.

Tickets are already being sold, and I am telling you to log on today to buy yours.  Before you know it, the games will be sold-out, and then you?ll kick yourself for not listening to me.  You can visit www.worldbaseballclassic.com to buy tickets, or to just get some general information about the tournament.

This tournament presents the game in an exciting new format that combines the love of baseball and the love of country.  The first World Baseball Classic will bring a unique blend of enthusiasm and passion from baseball fans around the world.

Commissioner Selig has named me the Official Ambassador of the WBC, a position in which I Hat_and_flag am proud and honored to serve.  I hope I can help this to be a huge success.  More importantly, I hope I can convey my excitement for this tournament to the millions of baseball fans around the world.  Baseball is truly an international sport, as about 30% of Major League players are foreign-born.  There are currently 122 National Baseball Federations around the world, compared to just 60 in 1992.

I have worked hard to spread the words Dodgers, and baseball, to many nations.  I have either played or managed in 13 of the 16 countries that will compete in the WBC.  It is a real joy to see the progress that many countries are making in baseball.  The late, great Walter O?Malley had a vision, which he passed on to his son, Peter O?Malley.  The vision was to see a true world series, with the best team from Major League Baseball playing the best teams from around the world.  We worked tirelessly to realize the vision.  The WBC is the closest thing to a true world series, and I am very excited to watch the drama unfold this March.

The format of the tournament is four rounds, with four pools of teams.  Pool A has China, Japan, Korea and Chinese Taipei, and will play the first round in Tokyo, Japan.  Pool B has Canada, Mexico, the United States and South Africa, and will play the first round in Phoenix, Arizona.  Pool C has Cuba, Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico, and will play the first round San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Pool D has Australia, the Dominican Republic, Italy and Venezuela, and will play the first round in Orlando, Florida.  The semi-finals and finals will be played at Petco Park in San Diego on March 18 and 20, respectively.

From now until the end of the tournament I will be keeping you updated with the progress of the games and the additions to each team?s roster.  Stay tuned, and I hope you enjoy the World Baseball Classic as much as I do.

19 Comments

Tommy,

You’ve been an ambassador for MLB baseball for decades. Mr. Selig just recognized what we already know — there isn’t anyone better than you to represent the passion and love Americans have for our national pastime than Tommy Lasorda. You’re a class act and a national treasure, and we’ll look forward to your updates on the tournament.

Ed Morrissey

PS. I miss Dodger Stadium; I moved to Minneapolis eight years ago and haven’t made it back since. Angel Stadium and Petco Park are great venues, but I think MLB missed the boat by not setting at least some games in the crown jewel of all baseball parks.

I’m so excited about this whole thing. We are going to see some great baseball…but the best thing is how the game is reaching out across the world.

*waits for MLB.com to start broadcasting Japanese League games*

thanks so much for the info Tommy.

bobby

http://marlins.mlblogs.com

I’d been keeping an eye on this for months since hearing about it during the regular season, waiting to find out when tickets to the semis and finals would go on sale.

I was lucky enough to get right in and score a pair close to the infield when they went on sale, and within about 15 minutes all the field level seats at Petco were gone.

The last three WBC games are going to kick off a great week of baseball, concluding with my first Cactus League trip. Can’t wait. I hope the WBC is a big hit.

dec 16 2005 Utrecht, NL
Hi Tommy,

I’m leaving for China this Saturday, was wondering if you know of any teams in the Xi’an area, Macou, Hong Kong or Guangzhou?

We never met but I played against your Ogden team in 1968. I scouted Jack Clark for George and trying to wrap up my school career I’d like to get another job as a scout but for over here in Europe, any tips?

friendly greetings

Mike Ocon

It is wonderful,that you Tommy Lasorda, have been awarded the Manager Of The Century and also to Sandy Koufax for the Player Lifetime Achievement Award on the same day!Not enough accolades could ever be said to justify how great you and Sandy were and are today and all the thrills you have given all The Los Angeles Dodger fans and all of baseball that are wonderfully forever etched in our hearts and minds!Once again, Thank-You very much!

Congratulations Tommy, I am a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and an admirer of your managment style. I salute Mr Selig for his recognizing you as our worlds “Ambassador” of baseball.
As a kid growing up in The Arroyo Seco, I was priveleged to frequent Dodger Stadium almost at will. I remember one opening day, the one that Kevin,Tony,Mike,Johnny and I all ditched school, and made our way down the old 81 line.We had no tickets, so we arrived early, as was the way back then.

Long story short, we snuck in for batting practice, and stayed a little past our welcome in the bathrooms underneath and behind the right field pavillion.As we were being ushered out of our hiding spot, running down that short hallway, we saw a crack in that great big blue wall. Could it be? Yes it was,the back door of the visitors bullpen was greeting us. We had nowhere else to run, not to mention, no tickets to show the ever vigilant usher…

The next thing I remember was two guys in Astro’s uniforms waving us in the bullpen,and then “WHAM” they closed the door behind the last one of us.It turns out the guys from Houston were not so bad. They had been watching our feeble attempts of hiding, and decided to pull a fast one on Dodger security.So we all got to sit in grand style for the top of the first inning, buckets full of sunflower seeds, ice cold water from the same fountain that numerous greats quenched their thirst as they marched into battle against my beloved Dodgers…

I was in “Blue Heaven”…

Then one of those guys in that “Gawdawful” Astro’s uniform turned to me and asked, “Hey, who is this Freddy guy?”

That was about when Mitch Suba kicked our tails out of his bullpen, and I have never been prouder to be a Dodger fan…

Lets re-capture some of that magic!!!

Tommy,I forgot to tell you, your ribs rocked!!!
and the pasta, Hmmm-mmmm good.

Tommy,

Congrats on the great job you are doing for baseball. I am very dissapointed that Cuba will not be allowed to compete in the US for the WBC. Hey, the dodgers need at least one more starter, so maybe we can pick one up as a defector. I would like to hear your thoughts on Cuba not being allowed to play here since you spent some time in Cuba during your playing days. I think baseball is above all the political turmoil like the Olympics is supposed to be. Come on Tommy, don’t get politically correct on us, you never did before.

Jack

I just want to say Happy Birthday to Sandy Koufax,Tiger Woods and myself who were all born on December
30.Thanks again Sandy Koufax for all your fantastic exploits!In golf, Tiger Woods unbelievable!Tommy,don’t you think that Jeff Weaver is a must sign!He is rated 9th best picher in the National League for whip which is walks plus hits per inning pitched at 1.17.We need Jeff Weaver,AS WELL AS ALL OUR OTHER STARTERS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES!MY QUESTION IS,WHY ARE WE HESITATING!JEFF

WEAVER is something special and we have not seen him pitch his best yet!C’mon Dodgers, sign him!Frank McCourt,JUST THINK OF ALL THAT EXTRA REVENUE IN THE POST SEASON!ALL THE BEST TO OUR GREAT NEIGBOURS WISHING NOTHING BUT PROSPERITY AND GOODNESS FOR 2006 AND ALL THE REST OF THE YEARS!

Hey Tommy. First off I would like to say that I was born to be a Dodger fan. 10/4/55 to be exact. I’m sure you remember that date. Here’s to a New Year and hoping the Dodgers can return to the excellence that all us Blue worshippers are used to. Just checked in to see some of the changes occuring during the off season and I have to admit that is quite an impressive infield. Although I have been discouraged by the move away from raising prospects from the minor league system as was the norm when the O’Malleys were in charge, I am confident that the new higher ups are making the right moves to bring another World Series ring to Los Angeles. Make that to the Blue; forget those Costa Mesa Angels or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. I’d like to finish by saying that when posed the question of what celebrities you’d most like to meet I came up with Carol Burnett for a female celebrity and Tommy Lasorda for a male celebrity. Maybe I can win the Think Blue contest and come to the park when you have the celebrity baseball game if Carol plays and kill two birds with one stone. Baseball is the greatest game in the world and in my opinion the only game that really matters. Take care Tommy and Go Blue!

Tommy,

There could not have been a finer choice for baseball’s ambassador. Congratulations. I am sure you get requests for one on one discussions all the time, but I figure I will try anyway. I am an MA grad student in SE Iowa and am doing a paper for an international business class. My topic is the internationalization of baseball. I have some good research already, but would like to be able to ask you a few questions for my paper. I would love to get your thoughts and see how much farther baseball plans to go to truly internationalize the game.

By the way, it has been dificult for me, as a lifetime Dodger fan, to be away from my hometown in Southern California. I grew up watching you congratulate Steve Garvey, Joe Furgerson, and the likes as they rounded third after hitting home runs, and I have been beleeding Dodger blue ever since.

I hope we get the chance to talk soon. It would be a great honor to be able to use baseball’s truest ambassador as a source for my paper.

Take care.

It is a wonderful thing that The United States Of America has let Cuba into the World Baseball Classic.I’ll say it again as a Canadian,we have the greatest neigbours in the world in the United States Of America,Our Brothers forever!

Hi Tommy,
I am nervous as I write this email to you. I sure hope that you get this. I write to you tonight because I happen to be one of the most loyal Dodger fans in the World. I, like you bleed Dodger Blue. Other than my brother, I dont know of many people out there who believe that every season that comes will be the one that takes our team to the World Series.

I have had the pleasure of meeting you in person at a Dodger fashion show fund raiser. You were kind enough to let me take your picture and I just wanted to say thanks for all of the work that you have done for our team and the game of baseball.

The one thing that I would like to ask of you if I may,

is that I would love to get an autographed ball from you. I currently have one of the greatest play by play announcer Vin Scully and would love nothing more than to place your ball right next to his as the greatest manager ever. Please let me know how this could happen if at all.

Thank you for all of your dedication and hard work.

I look forward to another great season at “Blue Heaven on Earth”.

Sincerely

Cesar Oliva

G’day Tommy from downunder,

I sincerely hope you are planning to visit Australia before the WBC starts. Our country is in dire need of more media coverage about the WBC, On the TV News or TV Chat shows as well as in the newspapers and on the internet locally.

Australians are still mainly Cricket lovers and Baseball is considered a minor sport here. In saying that many young Aussie players are signed Pro in the USA each season and our own club http://www.asl.baseball.com.au has 5 junior players signed Pro the last 5 years. One of which, Dave Sutherland has a bright future ahead in your own Dodger organisation.

I get sick and tired of negative comments about the WBC…. some fans just cannot see the big picture about World Baseball. I love your positive outlook about Baseball and life in general.

I’m a Baseball player from the 70’s and Coach Juniors now and play a bit still in Australia and was lucky enough to live in LA a few years and attend many Dodger games when you managed. I loved watching Orel Hershiser bat butcher boys and pitch, Kirk Gibson, Mickey Hatcher and was there one day when Ramon Martinez hit a Home Run and the 20+inning game in Houston one night on TV when you had Mickey Hatcher pitching !!!. My wife grew up in California listening to Dodger games on the radio with her dad and my workmates uncle in California was Transport manager for the LA Dodgers for many years since the 1960’s.

The Dodgers are MY TEAM ( except for Australia of course). I was especially honoured to meet and chat with Roy Campanella one day on my way into Dodger Stadium.

I hope you get to come to Australia Tommy and preach the WBC and Baseball gospel ( Do you still bleed Dodger Blue???)

Cheers

Glen Long

http://www.asl.baseball.com.au

TOMMY, HOW COULD THEY NOT SIGN JEFF WEAVER? AFTER WASTING ALL THE BUCKS ON DARRIN D ,O.PREZ BRAD PENNY?THEY ARE ALL WASHED UP.

Tommy,
Thank you. You are awesome. I watched you in several TV shows in PR promoting the WBC in spanish while I was there. You must be very proud of the attendance to the games which resulted from your promotions all over the world. I pray for your health and hope that in four years the WBC becomes the true World Series. Also, I’d like to congratulete Morgan and Miller for their good calling of the game between Cuba and the D.R. and for keeping politics out of the broadcasting.

Thanks to all three of you.

I would like to hear your thoughts on Cuba not being allowed to play here since you spent some time in Cuba during your playing days. I think baseball is above all the political turmoil like the Olympics is supposed to be. http://www.nicholasfinnegan.com/

Mr. Lasorda, I just wanted to thank you for being so kind to our Grandson Blake Smith last night at the Sounds baseball game in Nashville. He was visiting us from Wetumpka, AL and meeting you was such a surprise. He played on his first t-ball team this years and they were called the Dodgers…so who knows, he may be a future Los Angeles Dodger. Thank you again for your kindness.

Blake’s Nana

Mr. Lasorda, Thank you so much for your kindness to my Grandson (Blake Smith) last night at the Sound’s baseball game in Nashville. He played his first t-ball this year and his team was the Dodgers. Maybe he will be a future LA Dodger. Thanks again. Blake’s Nana

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