Tuesday, April 20, 2010

True Blue Blood

Since making the move to Los Angeles in the summer of 1969, there was nothing I liked better than Los Angeles Dodger's baseball, and yes, there was no better place to watch baseball than Dodger Stadium.

During all those great years of watching our national pastime at Chavez Ravine, there couldn't have been a better Major League manager than Tommy Lasorda. Since taking the reins from Walter Alston in 1976, there was no statement that Tommy could've made better than: "I bleed Dodger Blue!"

The "Ambassador of Baseball" guided his "Blue Crew" to eight division tiles, four National League pennants and two World Series titles during his hall of fame managerial tenure and holds the distinction of one of, if not the longest tenure as a manager of one major league team, leading him to a much deserved spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

With all that enthusiazim and excitement that Lasorda brought to the Dodger team and organization as a whole, I know for a fact that he will go down in the history books as one of the best in his postion. He treated his players--well, let's say he loved them like his own sons. The whole Dodger organization has been his second family for more than 60 years.

It was so pleasing for me to see Mr. Lasorda, as I often feel I should call him, up close again at the Dodgers Spring Training facility, Camelback Ranch Stadium, in Glendale Arizona this year. He looks as good as ever, even in his advancing age.

That was a repeat in history of sorts as the Dodger's current manager, Joe Torre, was the manager of the Atlanta Braves back in the 1980's timeframe, when I was living and working in that city, which at the time the Braves were geographically nonsensably one of the Dodgers division rivals in the NL West. Did I hear someone say that Joe Torre is also an actor and comedian in Los Angeles? No, that's Joe "Torry," notice the difference in the spelling of the last name.

It's been quite a while since I last saw the whole Dodger team up close and in person. I don't know what it is about those home white uniforms, but they've always looked whiter than most whites. Snow white, bleached white, whatever you want to call the "Dodger Home Whites," they're like no other and some players have a way of looking so distinctive while wearing them.

Some of Tommy Lasorda's former players have gone on to big league managerial careers themselves. Two of them, in the names of Dusty Baker and Mike Sciocia even went head to head with each other in the 2002 World Series, with Sciocia's Angels winning over Dusty and the Giant's.

Now that the Dodgers an Angels both represent "Los Angeles" and wear the rival colors (red and blue) it's time to start thinking of the possibility of a "Freeway" World Series. As is the case with the Chicago Cubs winning the Fall Classic, I hope the Freeway Series will take place sometime in my lifetime, and Tommy Lasordas too.

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