August 2009

The Lasorda Cup

 

Lasorda Cup 1.jpgHere it is, boys, the Lasorda Cup. 

The team who wins this cup is the team who wins the Lasorda Elite Games, which is a high school baseball tournament of the premier players from the western part of the United States.

There are four teams of players who are invited by our scouts, and it gives the players a great opportunity to play baseball at beautiful Dodger Stadium.

I’m looking forward to working with the players and seeing what they are made of.

The Apple of My Eye

 

jumping 2.jpgLast weekend my granddaughter, Emily, won a few blue ribbons at her equestrian competition and I couldn’t be any prouder of her.

She loves riding horses, and she has worked very hard to get good at it.  She has sticktoitiveness, as the more people tell her that she can’t do something she does everything in her power to show you that she can.

I love her very, very much and am a very proud grandfather.

Congratulations, Emily.  Pop Pop and Mom Mom love you very much.

Italian Dinner #2

 

bamonte's.jpgLast night I went to Bamonte’s in Brooklyn.

I’ve been going there for decades, as have many people because it has been around for 109 years.  They are now on the fourth generation of Bamonte’s running the place, with a fifth generation being raised in the art of Italian cooking.

If you want Italian food like mama used to make, go to Bamonte’s.

If you want to be treated like a friend when you dine, go to Bamonte’s.

If you want to know what it was like to be from Brooklyn, go to Bamonte’s.

If you want a piece of Brooklyn Dodger history, go to Bamonte’s as many of the Boys of Summer took the trolley there after games.

If you want to know why I think it is the best Italian in New York, go to Bamonte’s.

Speaking of the Boys of Summer, tonight at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn I will be inducted into the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.  To have my name mentioned with those guys, some of the best guys to ever wear the Dodgers uniform, some of the best guys to ever play the game, is very special for me.  I played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and ’55, and what an amazing experience it was to play in front of the fans at Ebbetts field and be a part of one of the best eras in baseball.

Italian Dinner #1

 

 

il mulino.jpgLast night I had dinner at iL Mulino in the West Village.  It was outstanding.  I would like to thank Brian Gallighan and his lovely wife Deborah for hosting my family.  The pasta was delicious and the Lasorda Wine was a perfect pairing.  Brian and Deborah have a beautiful family as they are raising three well-mannered boys, Robert, Gregory and Grant.  A note to the scouts here on the East Coast: keep your eye on Robert.

 

The chefs and founders of iL Mulino are two brothers from Italy.  In fact, they were born and raised in L’Aquila, the regional capital of the mountainous countryside of Abruzzo, Italy. Abruzzo is my father’s home region, so you know the food has to be outstanding.

 

We also had the pleasure of dining with Chief Joseph Esposito of the NYPD.  He has been on the force for over 30 years and Chief of the Department for nine.

 

I told him the story of when we used to come into New York to play the Mets at Shea Stadium.  I would holler to the police officers guarding the dugouts to hold their heads up high because they represented the second greatest police force in America.

 

They’d holler back, of course.

 

Well, after one game the clubby told me there was a group of police outside waiting for me.  I went out and they presented me with an old, scuffed-up ball that they all signed and it said, “To Tommy Lasorda, the second greatest manager in all of baseball.”

 

I got a laugh out of that.

 

After their heroics during 9/11 I have to bump them up into the number one slot.  With all due respect to law enforcement everywhere, I have to commend the NYPD for their bravery in face of danger and for their commitment to serving and protecting despite the grave danger that faced them.

 

They are my heroes.

Is Brooklyn in the House…

 

Brooklyn portrait.jpgBelow is the news release the Dodgers put out about me today.  This Sunday I am being inducted into the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.

To be enshrined with the Boys of Summer is a great honor that I will cherish forever.  I played in Brooklyn with those guys.  I made lifelong friendships with them and am very appreciative to have my name mentioned alongside theirs:

 

LASORDA TO BE INDUCTED INTO BROOKLYN DODGERS HALL OF FAME

This Induction Marks Lasorda’s 14th Hall of Fame

LOS ANGELES – Hall of Fame manager and Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda will be inducted into the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.  The induction ceremony will take place at KeySpan Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones this Sunday, August 16 during a special ceremony.  The day will begin at 3 p.m. EST with a news conference at KeySpan Park, followed by a tour of the Brooklyn Baseball Museum where Lasorda will be inducted.  From there he will go out on the field for the pregame ceremony and address the crowd.  The game starts at 5 p.m.

As part of Lasorda’s 60-year career with the Dodgers, he played in parts of two seasons for Brooklyn (1954-55) as a left-handed pitcher.  After being called up from one of the Dodgers’ three Triple-A affiliates, the Montreal Royals, Lasorda made his Major League debut on August 5, 1954 against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Lasorda finished the ’54 season with the Brooklyn Dodgers and continued with them through the middle of the ’55 season when he was sent back to Montreal to make room on the roster. 

Although Lasorda went 0-4 with a 6.52 ERA in his Major League career, he went on to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers for 20 seasons (1977-96) and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, joining fellow Brooklyn Dodgers Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Leo Durocher, Roy Campanella, Burleigh Grimes, Dazzy Vance, Zack Wheat, Walter Alston, Wilbert Robinson, Walter O’Malley, Branch Rickey, and Larry MacPhail.

This enshrinement marks Lasorda’s 14th Hall of Fame.  Most recently, he was inducted into the Inland Empire 66ers Hall of Fame on August 1 and the Ogden Professional Baseball Hall of Fame on July 10.  He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on August 3, 1997 after winning eight division titles, four National League pennants and two World Series championships (1981, 88). 

Lasorda has also been inducted into the Pacific Coast League HOF (2006), Canadian Baseball HOF (2006), Italian American Sports HOF (1989), California Sports HOF (2006), Montgomery County Coaches HOF (2002), South Atlantic League (2001), Albuquerque Baseball HOF (2007), and the Louisiana Italian American HOF (1985), the Cleveland Italian American HOF and the Rhode Island Italian American HOF.  Later this year Lasorda will be enshrined in the Philadelphia Sports HOF (November 12).

Loons Largesse

 

LASORDA NO 2 RETIRED.JPG

Boy did they surprise me!  The good people of Midland came out to see the Loons play and see me have my number (2) retired. 

 

Lasordas Landing.JPG

They also renamed a part of Dow Diamond after me, as it is now called Lasorda’s Laning.  What an honor!

 

LASORDA SPEECH.JPG

After all the fanfare, which was very humbling, I had the opportunity to address the sold-out crowd.  I thanked them for their support of the Loons, and their support of me and the Dodgers. We are very fortunate to be affiliated with such a first class organization.  

 

LASORDA AND JUAN BUSTABAD.JPG

I would also like to congratulate Juan Bustabad and his coaches on the outstanding job they are doing preparing the young ball players to make it to Dodger Stadium.  Keep your eye on the players on this Loons team because in a few years you will see quite a few of them in the big leagues.

My next stop is New York.  On Sunday I am being inducted into the Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Fame.

Around the World in 222 Days…

 

99939.jpgI’m not sure if you know this, but the circumference of the earth is 24,859.82 miles.  Well, as you can see by my odometer above I have traveled enough miles since January 1, 2009 to go around the world four times.  And it’s only August!

For the next few days I am in Midland, Michigan, home of the Great Lakes Loons, which is one of our single-A affiliates.  We partnered with the Loons in 2007, and since we affiliated I have made more speecahes and appearances than the mayor.  The people in Midland think I live there.

Did you know that Dee Gordon, the Dodgers’ No. 7 prospect according to Baseball America, leads the Midwest League with 61 stolen bases, 11 more than his closest competitor…he also leads the circuit with 137 hits, 17 more than his closest challenger…Gordon, 21, leads the ML with 82 runs scored as well…the left-handed hitter, who was a mid-season Midwest League All-Star, is tied for sixth in the league with a .310 average…he was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2008 draft?

Did you know that Tony Delmonico is batting .407 (22-for-54) with three homers and 11 RBI in his last 15 games to raise his average to .285 from .264…the Dodgers’ sixth-round selection of the 2008 draft is also batting .336 (37-for-110) in 31 games beginning July 1 after hitting just .224 (15-for-67) in 19 games in June?

Did you know that Nate Eovaldi has allowed just one earned run in 10.0 innings in his last three games (one start), and has a 0.91 ERA (5 ER/49.2 IP) in his last 12 games (six starts)…the Dodgers’ 11th-round selection from the 2008 draft has allowed just one home run in his 79.0 innings of work overall…he is 2-4 with one save and a 3.30 ERA in 20 games (13 starts)…the 19-year-old is the Dodgers’ No. 10 prospect according to Baseball America?

With future Dodgers like these our organization’s future is bright.  I would like to congratulate De Jon Watson, Chris Haydock and their staff of minor league managers, coaches and roving instructors for the outstanding job they do.

They are charged with taking young players and making them better.  It sounds obvious, but to train a youngster to be a big leaguer cna be tough, and our farm system does a great job of teaching them the Dodger way of playing baseball.

CHiPs

 

badge.jpgLast night I was driving home down the 5 South and was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol.  Since I was on the 5 you know I could not have been speeding because it is the worst freeway in the world.  Most of the time I wish they would just blow it up and start over because it is brutal.

When the officers came to my car I wondered why they were pulling me over.  Perhaps they were Giants fans.  Or maybe they are sons of a couple umpires I used to get on back in the day.

They told me I was swerving.

Swearing at the bad drivers cutting me off?  Maybe.  But I wasn’t swerving.

I told them I didn’t have anytihng to drink, and in the middle of my sentence the officer recognized me.

I ended up chatting with the two officers, signing pictures for their families, I talked to one of their mothers and made sure they loved the Dodgers.

My point is that they did their job, and they did it well.  People never give law enforecment the credit and respect they so richly deserve.  I would like to congratulate those two officers on representing themselves, their families and the CHP to the highest degree of class, dignity and character.

You Better Win Or….

 

IMG_0722.JPGYesterday I spoke to 36 youngsters who are trying out for USA Baseball’s 16 and Under team that will represent the United States in an international tournament in Taiwan.

Only 18 of  the 36 will make the team, but if you take the names of the 18 who don’t make it and check their progress in five years I am sure that most of them will be on their way to the big leagues.

I tried to impress upon them what an honor and privilege it is to represent the U.S. in any cirumstance, but especially when you are playing baseball.  I told them that they represent the greatest country in the world and that they weren’t going to do anything overseas to embarrass themselves, their parents, or our country.  All they are going to do is win, because baseball is America’s game.

When I took the 2000 USA Baseball team to Sydney, Australia in the Olympics I wanted to beat the Cubans because everybody told me we couldn’t, and I told them if they’ve been beaten before then they’ll get beaten again.  They told me I didn’t have a good team, and I told them all I cared was if they were alive.  My wife told me I was crazy for going to Australia with a bunch of kids I didn’t know and I told her that in 25 years there would be a trivia question of who is the only person to win the World Series and to help thier country win a Gold Medal; the answer would be me.

I wish the youngsters and their coaches the best of luck in Taiwan.  I truly hope they win, and I also hope they enjoy the experience because it is a special one.

Future Dodgers

 

Hawaii.JPGYesterday I was in Upland where I addressed a group of senior leaguers before they began play in the Western Regional Tournament.  It was a pleasure speaking to them, as I tried to impress upon them not just what it would take to win, but what it would take to succeed in life.

There were teams representing Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and of course, a couple from California.  Some of these kids were so big I asked them if they were malted milk babies.

I told them to win with pride, and to lose with dignity.  And I told them how important it is to represent themselves, their families, and their home state to the highest degree of class, dignity and character.

I also told them to lay off the umpires.  They are like sacred cows in India; you can’t touch them.

Umpires.JPG

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