Tommy Lasorda, brief and awful Major League pitcher, legendary former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, godfather to Mike Piazza‘s younger brother and to Alex Avila, recipient of all sorts of honorary positions, current “Goodwill Ambassador” (read: Walmart Greeter) for Major League Baseball (despite a history of amazing, amazing profane tirades), and still a perennial presence at Dodgers’ spring camp, is going to turn 85(!) this year.
In his twilight, he has embraced Twitter. Surprisingly, his tweets are cogent and even integrate a full range of hashtags, @’s, links, and pics. He interacts with fans and young players alike, and he’s not at all curmudgeonly or haughty about his success (though he doesn’t hesitate to post office-poster-worthy phrases of disgusting optimism that all seem to vary only slightly from “If you think you are a winner then you will be a winner”). I’m not sure if someone is ghost-tweeting or maintaining his MLBlog for him, but given that both media are updated pretty often and that many of his tweets are about food, I’m willing to give Tommy himself full credit.
I’d like, also, to give Tommy full credit for living with great vigor, eating until his arms are tired and tucking in his jersey to his uniform pants like it’s a good idea. He denies the grip of death so audaciously that he is able to assume that a man fifteen years younger than him is dead:
It has come to my attention that Jimmy Wynn is not dead. Sorry for the error. Hey, not even Babe Ruth batted 1.000.
— Tommy Lasorda (@TommyLasorda) March 12, 2012
How does he keep thoughts of mortality at bay?
Perhaps he does it by remembering the good old days:
Or by wasting as many fossil fuels as possible, even while playing the pastoral game of golf:
Anti-intellectualism bolsters delusion, surely:
Every spring I would enroll my players in Lasorda University. There is no cost to enroll. the tuition though is persperation, determination, desire and hard work. I would tell my players that if they graduated from Lasorda University that they would make more than any professor at Harvard or Yale.
Or perhaps it’s his hard outer shell:
When I managed I worked my payers [sic] hard. We didn’t work by the clock, we worked by the sun. In fact, we would turn on the lights at Hollman Stadium in Vero Beach so many times just to keep taking extra BP.
One year during spring training in Vero Beach, Florida, Pedro Guerrero came to me and was a bit upset. He told me that he rented a house on the beach for a lot of money, but he hadn’t seen the water yet because the sun had already set by the time he got home.
Yes I worked them hard, but as I told my players many times, you may hate me now but you’ll love my [sic] in October!
Or, perhaps he is just determined to live long and fully, decided decades ago to live forever:
If you want to win the pennant, you win it in spring training. You have to ask yourself what price are you willing to pay to reach your gaols [sic] , and go after them with all the drive and desire you have within yourself. You have to outwork your opponents, and it starts right now.
Tommy, I want to hate you, but I can’t. I am 54 years your junior, haven’t any success to speak of, and am far more afraid of death than you are. But let me say these things:
- 1. If your arms are really getting tired from eating, that might be a heart-attack, you might want to take it easy.
- 2. That’s not a picture of you and Gary Carter, that’s a picture of Gary Carter — because any picture that includes any part of Gary Carter is a picture of Gary Carter — you are merely an indiscernible blur.
- 3. Just because you graduate from a university doesn’t mean you teach at one, and if you are a professor, even at Yale or Harvard, you certainly don’t expect to make more money than a “graduate” of “Lasorda U,” and at any rate, what you said about professors doesn’t even make sense, and why use the metaphor of university if you’re going to piss on the very idea of teaching at one, and so on.
- 4. Unless you want to end up like Coach in this episode of Cheers, let ol’ Pedro see his beachouse in the daylight, tell ‘im, “You’ve worked hard: enjoy the sunset” — even if you have to, go back in fucking time to do so.
- 5. Finally, one doesn’t win anything in spring training, and it’s a helluva tired thing to say that one does. At spring training, one limbers up, bandies clichés about ones prospects and newfound fitness, and/or eats meatballs competitively, and that’s it.
There. I said it.
 misspelling of “jowls”
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