Here's Tommy on the value of character in Major League Baseball:
You know I said this many times that if God had planned for me to be a high school baseball coach, I think my objective would be to try to impress upon the youngsters playing for me how important it is for them to get a good education and I believe that’s more important than winning. Or if God had planned for me to be a college baseball coach my objective would be to try to impress upon the youngsters playing for me how important it is for them to prepare themselves for the way of life. That’s more important than winning. But when you are a manager of a Major League Baseball team you can forget those two philosophies. You’ve got to win.
That's right, folks. If you're in the majors, nothing matters except winning. Those guys who took steroids-- they're all winners. Unless they got caught, I guess. In the same article, Tommy goes on to tell us a story about a Sunday when he and opposing manager Johnny McNamara ended up in church together and McNamara lit a devotional candle after mass. Assuming that McNamara lit the candle hoping for victory on the field, Lasorda went back and blew it out. That's our Tommy. The only thing sacred is winning.
In another blog entry, Tommy tells us: "My advice is like a continental breakfast, which means, it's there if you want it." Uh, I'd say that Lasorda's advice is like a continental breakfast because it's only enough fuel for an hour.
Tommy turns 80 today and he can't help but drop a few names:
Who ever could have dreamed that the son of an Italian immigrant from Norristown, Pennsylvania, who was the third-string pitcher on the high school baseball team, would end up managing the Dodgers for 20 years?
Who ever could have dreamed that a guy like me who has never stepped foot in college would give six commencement addresses and have six honorary doctorate degrees?
Who ever could have dreamed that I would shake hands with Presidents Nixon and Ford? Hug President Carter? Befriend Presidents Reagan and Bush? Meet President Clinton and George W. Bush?
Who ever could have dreamed I would hang out with the great Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles and travel the world with them?
I have to admit that Tommy's right. Sometimes the way things work out in this country is just fucked up. We at Always in Transit are proud of the fact that if you put "lasorda" and "enemy" into Google, our previous Lasorda article is the first hit.