Happy Anniversary

I have to admit I didn?t know the term ?blog? when Major League Baseball Advanced Media asked me to begin a new project called ?Tommy Lasorda?s World.? But it didn?t take long for me to realize the potential of connecting with baseball fans via the computer. Technology has changed over the years, but the relationship between baseball and its fans has been part of the game since the 19th century. Fans have followed the results of their favorite teams and players through many different means of communication over the years — the daily newspaper, radio, television, cable television, satellite radio and now via their computers. At least the basic rules of baseball haven?t changed so dramatically– it?s still 90 feet between the bases!

 Congratulations to my friends at MLB Advanced Media on their second-year anniversary of providing such an array of baseball-related blogs. I still maintain an extensive travel schedule, and in each city, it never fails to have someone comment on something they read on an MLB web site, whether the Dodgers? home page or something in a blog. And people also love the photos provided by our team photographers: Jon SooHoo, Juan Ocampo and Jill Weisleder.

 I spent most of Spring Training at our Vero Beach facility, watching both the Major League and Minor League players. Every morning, I had a chance to see so many minor leaguers having breakfast together in the main dining room and then reporting to one of the fields to begin their day?s work. I couldn?t help but think back when I was a rookie pitcher in the Dodger organization, arriving in Vero Beach with so many hopes and dreams. It?s gratifying to spend time with these future Dodgers because you can see their potential. Sometimes, they just need a pat on the back of an extra boost of confidence. I tell them, ?I know what it?s like to be your age, but you don?t know what it?s like to be my age!?

 The Jackie Robinson Day celebration throughout Major League Baseball was a fitting tribute to a great man and competitor. Jackie was the subject of my first posting on this blog. People always ask, ?What kind of player was Jackie Robinson?? When Jackie was on the field, he was exhilarating. Every at-bat was exciting, and when he got on base, things happened. Our opponents would take shots at him at every base he reached. He knew what they were trying to do, but he never backed down, he never half-stepped, he never relinquished his competitive zeal. He played baseball like he was still in a pair of shoulder pads taking handoffs in the UCLA backfield. His style was not one of reckless abandon. He knew what he risked every time he stepped on the field, but he refused to be intimidated.

 Jackie was also a good friend. He loved to shoot pool with the guys and was very social with everyone in our clubhouse. I’ll never forget what he said to me during my Major League debut. I was struggling a bit and had a few runners on base. Jackie came to the mound from second base and said, "Settle down now. We’ll get you a double play and get out of this." His encouragement meant the world to me.

22 Comments

Wow, great story about the legendary Jackie Robinson. Looking forward to reading more about your amazing like in baseball.

Steve

http://soxblog.mlblogs.com

Hi Tommy, I just want to take the time to thank you for beign the heart of the team that i have loved since i was 6yrs old. As a 33yr old man now and father of a 6yr old boy who loves the game as much as i did as a kid, I pass on to him a lot that ive heard you talk about in interviews or speeches. When i think Dodgers, i think Tommy Lasorda. You are the greatest motivational speaker of all time. Your Hall Of Fame speech is second to none. Tommy, I am one tough son of a gun, and have to admit that listening to you speak at times, can bring a tear to the toughest of us all. Thank you for oh so many great memories and for being a great inspiration to me and to my children. Thank you Tommy.
Joe

Hi Tommy, First of all i got to say you are one true Dodger fan.Playing for them and now being such a great invovlment in the Dodger organization, I mean that is one dedicated fan. You showed me what kind of fan I need to be, and that is a Dodger Fan, just like you. You are a great inspiration to me. I have been a dodger fan since i can remember. My mom would not stop talking about Fernando Valenzuela and thats when i became interested in the Dodgers, had never seen a game till i saw them win the 88′ World Series on tv. Then I new I was True Blue. Im 25 years old now and still true blue, and the weird thing is I was born and raised in Arizona, and still live here. I get alot of Booing, but youve showed me never to give in, so I still think blue!! I got one question for you. What happen to the EEPHUS pitch? and why dont Pitchers use it anymore? Thanks.To my most respected and favorite manager ever. Your Friend Marco Tapia Jr.

Tommy,

I have been a Dodger fan since the days we shared Dodger Stadium with the Angels. My dad had a friend named Billy Hunter who once was the third base coach for the Orioles.

When they came to town, we would get to go into the locker room and dugout, talking with the players during pre-game activities.

One of the coolest memories was the old Coke machine in the locker room that dispensed 6 ounce bottles?you know the horizontal floor model. And the best part was that you didn?t have to put any coins into the machine to get a coke?so cool!

Way this so cool? Because it was Dodger Stadium!

I have been on a business trip back east that has taken me from So Cal to Binghamton, NY. Today I had the opportunity, for the first time, to visit Cooperstown and the NBHOF. What an experience!

One of the things I wanted to do is see your plaque enshrined with the rest of the ?immortals? in the hall. It was GREAT to see your representation of our beloved Dodgers. Your representation of the Dodgers transcends baseball, surpasses sports and enters into the Hall of Life.

I am so blessed to have those youthful memories of Dodgers Stadium?not to mention the Dodgers games I attended with my dad.

Today?s experience in Cooperstown was the cheery on top of the sundae!

Jesus Christ bless you Tommy, you are a national treasure.

Still enjoying your stories Skip

Tommy,
I have been a Dodgers fan since the day I was born, and I have to say, I love you Mr. Lasorda. Thank you for helping make the team that I love so much what it is today. You are an inspiration and an idle.

-Blue for Life

-Garett

Tommy, you are one of greatest encouragers in all of sports. Thanks, for sharing a moment where you were encouraged by Jackie. By the way, how is it that you became such an encouraging person?

Tommy:
I saw my first MLB games at age 8 in a new stadium called Chavez Ravine–some left-handed kid named Sandy was pitching. I have bled Dodger blue ever since. Even though I have lived in Atlanta for 25 years, I still follow and root for the boys in blue. Thanks for all you have done for the game, and for Dodger fans everywhere. By the way, I always hear about “the unwritten rules of baseball,” such as “you never make the second out at home.” Do you have one to add to my collection? If so, please drop me a line, or ask one of your helpers to do it (they do give you helpers, don’t they?).

Hi Tommy I’ve been a Dodger fan for nearly 60 years, I got your autograph on 7/10/93 at Bamomtes, along with Mike Piazza & Erick Karros. I could’ve gotten one a few years earlier in the Shea Stadium’s parking lot. I was with my oldest daughter, but the pen was out of ink. Luckily she got one earlier from Ron Cey, she loved the big #10 he put on it. I remember you as a pitcher(vaguely) and as an outstanding manager. I don’t want you to belittle Mr. little, but I’d like you motorvate these 2007 Bums and give them some P E R S E V E R A N C E.

Thanks for writing your blog Mr. Lasorda. I have grown up a Dodger fan and share the same birthday as you. As you know, the Boys In Blue usually win on that date (9/22).

Mr. Lasorda,
Did you ever have a barber chair in your office with your name on it? Someone in my town is selling it and I just want to know if it is authentic as advertised. Thanks for your help. I have been a Dodger fan since 1956 when I met Duke Snider at a golf tournament.

I don’t mean to blow my own horn,Tommy,but as a Dodger Fan I’ve been through 10 managers:Durocher,Shotton,Dressen,Alston, Lasorda(ya know him),Russel,Hoffman,Johnson,Tracy & Little. In my heart, your still the MANAGER.

Tom, I don’t Know if you respond to our comments but I’d sure like to know your feeling on this present group of Dodgers. I certainly came a long way in the past few years, starting with Sports in Demand’s Extra Innings for a couple of years and now I have my own PC and I watch the games on MLBTV. I wish I had these connection in the days when you were managing a great team. I really hope these guys start to play the way your guys did, back in the day.

I have one for jonmcphail: You never make the last out at third, especially taking an extra base or stealing. I also think it’s really bad to get picked off at second anytime.

HI Tommy, I read your artical on Jackie Robinson above. When I was a kid I played second base because he was my idol.I was later placed in the outfield, left or right, I always enjoyed shagging flies. But maybe that was a mistake because I never had the ability to hit the long ball. I was a contact hitter, I hardly ever stuckout, but I had no wheels either. Jackie was always my hero, I a have nice picture of him in my living room taking a daring lead off third base.

Dear Mr. Lasorda-
Yesterday I was going through some very old pictures in preparation of my father-in-law, Frank Marchio’s passing. (It won’t be long.) I came across an old black and white Christmas card of a beautiful young baby, signed by “The Lasordas.” This card has been saved after all these years. I wonder, do you recall Frank? Frank played in the Dodger organization from 1949-1958, I believe. I have only been a part of the Marchio family the last 7 years, so unfortunately I never had opportunity to see Frank play with my own eyes. I have had opportunity to read many newspaper articles- including a headline, “Italians Flock to Baseball!” as well as discuss with him, through many questions as he has never been one to drop names- his younger days with The Montreal Royals, The St. Paul Saints, and The Quincy Gems. Do you have memories of Frank’s love, Bonnie, of Quincy, IL? The family recalls a story of you running over her spaghetti pot with your car after a party. She was not happy with you, and was the type of woman to tell you!

Frank has instilled a love of the game in all 3 of his sons, as well as his grandsons. Our family is grieving at this time, as we anticipate the end. We take comfort in our memories, and wonder- do you have any you could share? Thank you for your time, Mr. Lasorda.

Hi Tommy,

I still speak with Sy all the time. Remember ole Sam Wall? I remember the many meals out with he, you and Ernest Boignine and many of the pitchers from the 70’s and 80’s. Had lots of fun. Hello to Jo. I was the personal manager/agent for that famed harpist LLOYD LINDROTH. You ran across him many times with Sam Lovello in Nashville with Johnny Hobbs and the rest. Stay happy and if you speak with Sy, tell him I said hello and all my best to you and yours.

George Michaud

Kansas City, Missouri

MR.LASORDA, THESE ARE COMMENTS OF A BASEBALL FAN. I TRUELY BELEIVE THAT THE DODGERS SHOULD GO AFTER A-ROD, I KNOW THAT IT WOULD BE VERY COSTLY, BUT WITH THE CURRENT TEAM/PITCHING THAT YOU GUYS HAVE HOW FAR DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY CAN GO IN TO THE PLAYOFFS? (LOOK AT WHAT LAA DID TO YOU GUYS!) NOW THATS PLAYING WITH THE BIG BOYS OR BIG BATS, IS WHAT I BELEIVE THE DODGERS LACK. NO DISRESPECT TO ANY ONE ON THE CURRENT ROSTER RIGHT NOW, I THINK THE DODGERS SHOULD CONSIDER EITHER & ANY OF THE STARTING PITCHERS (MAYBE KEEP PENNY) FOR A-ROD, A FUTURE HALL OF FAMER, THE DODGERS CURRENTLY DONT HAVE ANY IN THE NEXT 5-10YRS. A-ROD JERSEYS WOULD BE THE #1 SELLING JERSEY IN LOS ANGELES! PLEASE DONT LET ANOTHER SHOULD OF / WHAT IF YEAR GO BYE! ONCE AGAIN ARE THE DODGERS GOING TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF RUN SUPPORT OR BE THE BLUE TEAM ON FOX MAKING SOME NOISE? AND JUST THINK ALL THIS FROM SOMEONE WHO’S NOT EVEN A DODGER FAN!!! ANDY , BKSFLD, CA.

Tommy you’re the greatest!
I grew up in Cypress park just down the street from Dodger Stadium pass the river. My father never missed a game on spanish radio where at times you were the “guest” and how you admired Fernando Valenzuela.

I grew up thinking you would always be the Manager, (by the way you still are). Thanks for the great moments and the bounding I had with my father for so many years before he passed away.

I still remember those slim-fast commercials…they were really funny.

Write back Tommy…I’ll send you a pound of Coffee from my coffee company. antiguacoffeehouse.com

Yancey Quinones, Cypress Park, Los Angeles

Hi Tommy, My name is Lauren Stefanovich. I was born and raised in Hazleton, PA. I have been a Dodger fan my entire life through my dad. I even have your autograph on one of my Dodger hats since you are the best Dodger manager ever. Next year is my dad’s 60th birthday and I would really like to take him down to a Spring Training game in Florida. I was wondering if you could tell me what the easiest way to go about this is since we would be coming down from Hazleton. Please write back and give me any advice you may have for me. Thanks Tommy and keep doing what you’re doing!

Mr. Lasorda,

I grew up cheering for the Dodgers with my dad in Indiana and we have shared so many wonderful memories together around baseball and the Dodgers. There truly is something special about the Dodgers and you are reason behind it. It is a legacy passed down from father to son. I live in Phoenix now and attended the Dbacks Dodgers game with my son who is 6 years old last night. On the way to the game I was telling my son, Niko (A Dbacks fan), all about the Dodgers in hopes that he would be rooting for our boys last night. Even telling him that Gonzo now plays for the Dodgers was not enough to sway him. The Dodgers lost 2-0 but after the game I walked down to the end of the aisle holding my son and as you walked by I told him, “There goes the greatest coach ever.” You reached out and shook my son’s hand and I just want to say thank you for stopping and taking the time. I think you planted the Dodger seed with that handshake and he’ll be rooting for our boys in no time. I can’t wait to tell my dad about it. You are the best. Go Dodgers!!!!!

Michael Martin, Phoenix AZ

Mr. Lasorda:
I greatly enjoy your blog. You have always displayed an integrity that is good for the game.

I have a request that is above and beyond–you (the Dodgers) had a game in the 90’s vs. the Phillies where you were down 8-0 in the 8th inning but ended up winning. Your post-game comment was that you told the team that no one ever hit an 8 run homer and that they would have to come back one run at a time.

I am a quadriplegic and I saw that as an analogy to many situations in life. Do you remember what year that was?

Thanks so much,

Dan McCormack

Xenia, OH

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