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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tommy Lasorda, You Bastard

Tommy Lasorda, on U. Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm:
"I can say this, honestly and truly. If I had a son, I would be sure to send him to play for this guy," Lasorda said. "Because he loves what he's doing, and he's just not interested on what the players do on the baseball field; he's just as interested in what they do in the classrooms."
Well, Tommy, you did have a son -- Tommy, Jr., remember him? -- but now that he's died of AIDS, I guess he never existed. Every fifth time I read about the man, I find something else despicable about him. (Hat tip: BTF.)

And, read this, too.

Update 2/9: ... aaand thanks to Repoz for the linky in the comments.


Comments:
Hey, I'm no Tommy fan, but don't you think you're interpreting him a little too literally? I mean, it's a quote. It's not like he took the time to write it out and edit it for interpretation any possible interpretation.

Now, you probably know more about his relationship with his late son than I do, but on first read, I wouldn't have interpreted that literally.
 
Of course, now that I read the Glen Burke thing, it lends more support for your interpretation, but I stand by my earlier point.
 
"If I had a son" I'm fairly certain he's speaking in the theoretical here-and-now.
 
Extremely poor choice of words. I gotta say it rubbed me the wrong way as well. Did he mean it that way? Probably not. I'm sure thomas is right. But I do wonder what he was thinking when he made that statement, if he was, even subconsciously, discounting Junior. "If I had a son" is a pretty loaded phrase when you've been known to have disclaimed yours. Perhaps "if I had a son of college age who was looking to play ball" would have been a bit more fitting. But Tommy's not exactly one for tact.
 
... and he bleeds HIV-negative Dodger Blue. Just like everyone in his family.
 
TAKE IT TOO NEGATIVELY? NO WAY...

Tommy was in such denial about his son's passing (and the LA TIMES was complicit in this, listing the young single art gallerist's passing as "from pneumonia" in the obit).

The family asked for donations to go to a baseball charity and left it at that - and now he is forgotten.

The whole thing reeked of media chums looking the other way for a buddy - the TOTAL opposite of how they treat McCourt by the way.
 
Rev. Halofan is exactly right in all of this. I tried to dig up any mention of Tommy Lasorda's son in the Times during the entirety of 1991 and I couldn't get a single fargin' reference. Glenn Stout's definitive history The Dodgers unequivocally states Tommy Jr. died of AIDS; if you wanted actual coverage of his death, you had to go to the AP, or the San Francisco Chronicle.
 
1991 LA Times coverage of Lasorda Jr: 6/4/91 C7, 6/4/91 C5, 6/6/91 C6 & 8/23/91 C1.

No mention of HIV/AIDS, but the 8/23 profile is all about a father's grief.

Belated coverage ('93 & '97) mentions Lasorda Jr's death from AIDS
 
I've heard all the negative stories, but no matter what he does or says I can't stop loving Tommy.

Besides, losing your son to AIDS is an extremely personal matter and if he doesn't want the media poking around in such business, that's his prerogative.
 
A new low by this blog ... Tommy Lasorda said "If I had a son" in 2006. His son died 15 years ago. So he was correct in 2006 when he said he has no son now.

Talk about looking for a nit to pick. Any excuse to spew negativity.
 
I had occasion about a year ago to leaf through "Going the Other Way," by former MLB player and self-outed gay man Billy Bean (and no, he's NOT the same person as A's GM Billy Beane). He made the point that more often than not, it was the biggest "fag bashers" who seemed to delight in walking around the clubhouse stark naked, displaying their (ahem) "packages" in the faces of other players.

More to the point, he described his hazing ritual when he joined the Dodgers. He was told "Skip's gotta see you," whereupon he was taken to the bathroom, where he was presented---face-to-face---with Tommy Lasorda, on the (ahem) "throne."

Isn't it interesting that, given the association of gay men with (for lack of a better term) anal fetishes, that Mr Lasorda would choose THIS of all things to welcome rookies to the team?

Or, as someone once said, isn't this a wonderful planet that we live on!!!
 
Lasorda disowns his son, and you bitch about me calling him out for it. I'm sorry, what's the problem here, Anon?
 
Rob, I love your blog. Sorry it took a disagreement for me to jump in. I check 6-4-2 way too many times throughout the day. And in FEBRUARY nonetheless. But I do think you are reading too much into this quote. It is a bit out of context... Tommy's son has been deceased for 15 years. Lasorda is a old old man. He might have some problems with a gay son. But it is also likely that he has sadly gotten used to not having a son. Also he's like a great great grandfather...he is decades from having a son of college age. Calling an AIDS related death in 1991 an euphemism was completely part of the way mainstream hetroculture dealth with it. 2006 is a long ways away from that to be sure. I think it is enough that Tommy's a bastard for back stabbing Depo. Even if Lasorda treated Burke poorly because of his sexuality that doesn't quite justify ascribing the motives you did to his quote. He didn''t say "If I had ever had a son"...
 
I think a discussion of Glen Burke and the reality of their being gay players in the Majors might be a good tribute to Tommy Jr.
 
I USED to enjoy 6-4-3 until this. Totally uncalled for, way out of line.
 
It was out of line. I'm not getting my panties in a bunch over it, but to micro analyze a sentence uttered by the king of Bolshoi to fit your agenda seems a bit much.
 
Huzzah! Someone finally used the word "agenda!" Does that make 6-4-2 part of the Liberal Media yet?
 
I'm not sure...
 
I think it was Peter Richmond who wrote a memorable piece of sportswriting in GQ magazine about Lasorda and his son. The love between the two men was obvious for all to see... as was the all-but-stated fact that Lasorda's son was gay. Yes, Tommy shot down the very idea that his son died of AIDS and it seemed at least insensitive when I first read it. But after reading the whole piece, you understand that what really pissed Lasorda off was that his son was taken from him so soon.

The article was written fifteen years ago. Lasorda hated that the article was written and hated Richmond for writing it. But the article unquestionably honored both father and son. It remains one of the best pieces of sportswriting I have ever read.

I have a great deal of respect for Rob. My respect for Lasorda is nowhere near what I have for Walter Alston. But I unless Lasorda's personality has changed *dramatically* since the GQ article, I don't doubt he thinks about Tommy Jr. every day and I don't believe it's accurate to use the quote as evidence that he disowned his son.
 
You Lasorda lovers should take a look at what former players have said about him. Not fringe guys, the stars. Lasorda is one of the best personal PR guys ever, who never met a sportswriter or entertainment figure he couldn't schmooze successfully. WRT sportswriters, it's important to realize that they always hew to the management line.

From many credible reports, Lasorda is a foul-mouthed, small-minded, mean and vindictive man. In short, an all-too typical jock product of his times. I did not know the story about his son and about Glenn Burke, but I'm not surprised that Lasorda had problems there.
 

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