As our troops come home from Iraq, hopefully in time to spend the holidays with their families, I am especially thankful for all they do for us. While they are half a world away, it is easy to lose sight of their service and sacrifice, but let’s never forget all they do to keep us safe and protect our way of life.
This is a special holiday season for many of us, but especially for them. Like most of us, our families are the most important part of our lives, and it is almost unimaginable to be away from those you love during the holidays, so while we give gifts to those we love, let’s remember the gifts the Armed Forces gives us, and let’s give something back to them.
Whenever you see a veteran, not just of the Iraq war, give them a hand shake or a hug, and say thank you for their service. I know I will.
As we are in the holiday spirit I often think of my family, and especially my father. He and my mother filled our house with so much love, which is the best gift of all. My father worked 60 hours a week driving a truck in a stone quarry, which during the winter months was freezing. But he never missed a day of work, and did all he could to give us a great life.
One day he was telling us about his home in Tollo, Italy. He made his home sound like a castle, and I often wondered why he would leave if it was such a wonderful place.
Many years later I went to Italy and visited Tollo. While I was there I went to his old house, and it wasn’t that great. But to him it was, because the most important part of his life was his family. I wanted to walk the same streets he walked, go to the same church he went to, shopped in the same shops, and ate at the same restaurants where he ate just so I could feel closer to my father.
When we arrived in Tollo there was a banner strung across the main street, and in Italian it read:
Welcome, Tom Lasorda. Son of Sabatino Lasorda
When I saw my father’s name on that banner I started to cry. My love for my family is one of the most precious gifts I got from my father. I have been blessed to have the love of my family, and the love of my Dodger family.
I hope each of you embraces your family and during this holiday season I hope each of you remembers what is really important in life.
I have had the privilege and honor of knowing Ron Santo and being his friend for many years. I am so happy that he has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.
Ron was an outstanding player, as his numbers speak for themselves. He was also an outstanding person. Just ask anyone who knew him.
I only wish he could have been inducted sooner, but it is good to know that his legacy will be enshrined in the halls of Cooperstown. This distinction has been a long time coming. People all over the country have been waiting for this day.
Ron will make a great addition to the Hall of Fame, as his legacy has to the game of baseball.
Many years ago during the Winter Meetings in Dallas I went out with Bobby Valentine and a couple other friends to find something to eat. It was late at night and most places were closed, so Bobby recommended a pizza place he knew since at the time he was Manager of the Texas Rangers.
We hopped in a car and arrived at the pizzeria, but the manager was putting the chairs on top of the tables and mopping the floor. They were closed too.
Bobby told us not to worry about it. He went over to the window and signaled to the guy to come over and open up so we could eat.
The guy looked at Bobby and waived his arms signaling no way.
“Let me handle this, Bobby,” I said.
I went over to the window to do the same thing. This time the guy came over and was excited to open the door.
“Tommy Lasorda,” he exclaimed. “Come on in!”
Needless to say we loved the pizza, and we all had some good laughs because even though Bobby was the manager of the Rangers it took some Lasorda magic to open up the pizzeria.
I guess the guy must have been a Dodger fan.