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NEW YORK (WFAN) – Tommy Lasorda bleeds blue — Dodger blue.
And red, white and blue.
Lasorda, all sorts of fired up, was an in-studio guest on the “Boomer & Carton” show Thursday morning — and he was fantastic.
It was all on the table — the Steroid Era, the upcoming WBC and Lasorda’s run-ins with any mascot that got in his way.
On players participating in the World Baseball Classic: “Look, if you’re gonna pitch in spring training, why can’t you pitch for the (WBC) team? You’ve gotta pitch somewhere. So if you’re gonna get yourself in shape, you’re down there earlier before the thing begins, and you play! I don’t understand that. See, I feel a little bit different. If I could do something for my country, I’m gonna do it!”
On managing the gold-winning 2000 Olympic team: “I wanted to beat the Cubans, they said nobody could beat the Cubans. So I said, ‘I’m gonna take this job!’ So when I took the job, I met the players — 24 players, 23 I had never seen, didn’t know who they were. It took me eight days to learn their names. And my wife said, ‘Why? Why are you doing this?’ I said, ‘Because I want to bring the gold medal where it belongs in baseball, to the United States.’ “
Coaches don’t get Olympic medals. But Tommy doesn’t care: “People felt sorry for me that I don’t get a medal. I said, ‘Hey, I got my medal when I saw them put the medal around our players.’ I said, ‘I got my medal when they raised that American flag, and I got my medal when they played our national anthem.’ You know, I cried. I cried because I know that I had done something for my country.’ “
On Team USA’s chances in WBC: “I believe that we should win it, why, we’re the best in the world. We should win it. I hate to say this to put anybody in a position, but I’ll tell you, we can’t let those other teams beat us. You know something, when I was in the Olympics, they said to me, ‘Hey Tommy, now you’re gonna certainly be a little easier on those guys.’ I said, ‘Let me tell you something: my father was born in Italy. I was born in America, and I ain’t making nothing easy on those Italians.’ I said, ‘They’re gonna get on that field with me, I’m gonna beat ‘em bad!’ “
On whether PED cheats should be kept out of Cooperstown: “Absolutely, they’re cheaters. They don’t belong in the game! You’re doing something against the other players that’s not right. And if you’re gonna be a cheater, you do not belong in baseball, you don’t even belong in the — never belong in the Hall of Fame. As far as I’m concerned, you’re asking me my opinion? That’s my opinion. I don’t think they should be allowed to get into the Hall of Fame because they did something that was not right. Just like Pete Rose.”
Speaking of Rose… “You know, I heard him after he admitted (to betting on games), the guy in New York interviewed him. He said, ‘Hey Pete, why did you do it?’ (Rose) said, ‘I thought I could get away with it.’ See, nobody is bigger than the game. Nobody.”
On Mike Piazza denying PED use in book: “I’ve read it, I’m reading it now, and I really enjoy it. Because everything he’s put in that book is the truth.”
On what he doesn’t like about today’s MLB: “I don’t like the pitch count! How are you gonna develop your arm? If you’re a track man you say, ‘Hey, you can’t run too much.’ Or if you’re a boxer you say, ‘Hey, you can only box three rounds.’ It’s not right!”
On having enough of the Phillie Phanatic: “He thought he could run away from me. I ran after him, I caught him, and I slam-dunked him, OK?”
Tommy vs. Youppi: “The guy in Montreal, I don’t know what this guy was. We had tin over the dugouts, and he’s jumping up and down. That is the most annoying thing. I pulled him down one day and I flipped him out like that. I said, ‘Go do that over their dugout, not here.’ “
Tommy vs. the San Diego Chicken: “The chicken, he used to put a helmet down and crush it, you know? So I happened to be going in, we lost a tough game and I seen this guy coming. I grabbed him by the neck, I put my head down, I said, ‘Now jump on this hat. Come on.’ That guy forever never came near me.”
Hey, he could write a book about fighting with mascots: “That’s OK, I’ll take ‘em all on!”
On Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier: “He did a big thing for America, too, not just for baseball. He did it for America, because people began to realize and they started getting along together.”
What was your favorite part of the Lasorda interview? Let us know in the comments!