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Tommy Lasorda’s Legacy Lives On Through Touching Tributes And Candid Stories

Tommy Lasorda is like rain in the bible, you can describe it 96 times, but you’ll never get to truly understand it unless you’re Noah getting hit by droplets while loading monkeys and zebras onto an ark. I was never blessed with the good fortune of meeting the cerebral Italian rabble-rouser, so it would be naive to say I can full-heartedly discern him. But Saturday night’s game showed that Lasorda’s sanctimonious stature didn’t need to be seen with the naked eye to carry on forever. 

Not being able to see every waking moment of his life on social media is what makes him so unique. He’s one of the last legends of sports who relies on the spoken word to capture and transfer his livewire energy for generations to come. There were many visual tributes around Dodger stadium like these:

Dodgers 1B Max Muncy paid tribute to Lasorda with his feet:

 

These are all great odes to him, but don’t quite capture his holiness like the stories surrounding him.

Lasorda’s tales, with some of Hollywood’s finest, have been well-documented throughout the years. A personal favorite of mine was when he sent insult-comedian Don Rickles to take out a struggling reliever. Rickles and the reliever were bickering for an extended amount of time so the umpire came out to the mound to investigate the commotion. When the ump noticed it was Rickles, he asked him for two tickets to the Dean Martin Show. 

Who could forget Lasorda hanging out with his old pal Frank Sinatra? Lasorda had a whole shrine in his office for him, and one of the proudest moments of his career came on Opening Day, April 7, 1977, when Old Blue Eyes sang the national anthem.

One of the most nostalgic moments of Lasorda’s tribute night came on the big screen, with the Hall-of-Fame manager giving his own rendition of Sinatra’s My Way.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full,” is a line that sums up Lasorda’s social skills, warm heart, and World Series rings.

During last night’s broadcast, Orel Hershiser shared some candid stories about his late skipper that should be shared on millions of couches for the rest of eternity. 

There was a time where Lasorda ate a 20-pound watermelon simply because Eric Karros challenged him to do it. I just love the thought that Karros stood around and watched Lasorda him repeatedly shove chunks of the flavor-filled fruit down his gullet. Hopefully, Karros can eventually provide his side of the story to get to the bottom of this. 

Then, there was the time in spring training where Lasorda found himself in the Diamondbacks’ minor league locker room screaming at players because he thought they were the Dodgers. One can only imagine the utter bewilderment from that poor Double-A squad.

The crème de la crème came from Joe Davis’ reciting of a waiter’s worst nightmare. One night at an Italian restaurant, Lasorda ordered spaghetti and meatballs for a table filled with familiar Dodger faces. When the waiter brought it out, he told him to send it back because there were nowhere near enough meatballs. The waiter topped the dish with what he thought was an ample amount of meatballs, but then Lasorda declared that there wasn’t enough pasta. Eventually, the waiter found the perfect ratio, but it’s just those short stories that make you realize the type of energy Lasorda brought to life. 

As a fan who was born more than a decade after the 1988 World Series, the best thing to do is constantly be on the lookout for stories about Lasorda. Not as a means of trying to impress others with knowledge I’ve compiled, but as a way to keep the legend of him alive. Analyzing him through syllables does nothing to capture how sanctimonious he was when tales about him competitively eating watermelons exist.

When Dodgers Lowdown blogger Matt Weiner isn’t blabbering about the Dodgers, he is yelling at his TV because of them.