Throughout his career as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers
, Tommy Lasorda
managed on several occasions to be caught on tape as he went off on tirades against those he felt had wronged him or the Dodgers.
In fairness to Lasorda, a few of these instances occurred during actual games, and losing his temper during the heat of battle is certainly understandable. Also, most of these tirades definitely underscored his love for the Dodgers and his desire to win. However, many of these episodes occurred during post game interviews, appearances on radio talk shows and even while taping commercials - all circumstances under which Tommy should have known better.
This writeup is an attempt to chronicle Tommy's outbursts to the extent that they are known. I personally have no doubt that there are many other examples that never made it into the public ear.
If any noders can fill in any other details of what was said during these tirades, or are aware of any others, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
Note: To give fair warning, the remainder of this writeup is filled with assorted profanity. Therefore, if you are easily offended, please move on to another writeup.
The Immortal Question
When: June 4, 1976
Background: By far the most well known of Lasorda's explosions. The ball game this day did not go well for Tommy's beloved Dodgers. Dave Kingman single-handedly defeated the Dodgers by slugging three home runs and driving in eight runs in total. After the game, Tommy was being interviewed in his office by reporter Paul Olden, later radio announcer for the Florida Marlins, who asked Lasorda:
Olden: What's your opinion of Kingman's performance?
Lasorda: What's my opinion of Kingman's performance? What the fuck do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was fucking horseshit. Put that in I don't fucking ... Opinion of his performance? Jesus Christ he beat us with three fucking home runs. What the fuck do you mean what is my opinion of his performance? How can you ask me a question like that? What is my opinion of his p - of his p-p-performance? Jesus Christ he hit three home runs. Jesus Christ. I'm fucking pissed off to lose the fucking game, and you ask me my opinion of his performance. Jesus Christ. I mean that's a tough question to ask me, isn't it? What is my opinion of his performance?
Olden: Yes it is. I asked it and you gave me an answer.
Lasorda: Well I didn't give you a good answer because I'm mad but I mean...
Olden: Well it wasn't a good question....
Lasorda: That's a tough question to ask me right now what is my opinion of his performance... I mean you want me to tell you what my opinion of his performance is...
Olden: You just did.
Lasorda: That's right. Jesus Christ. Guy hits three home runs against us. Shit. I mean I don't want to - uh -uh I don't want to get pissed off or anything like that but you know you ask me my opinion. I mean he put on a helluva show, I mean he hit three home runs, he drove in, what, seven runs?
Lasorda: Eight runs so I mean what the hell more can you say about him? I didn't mean to get mad or anything like that, but god damn you ask my opinion of his, er, uh, of his performance. Seeya Joe. Shit.
Update (April 29, 2004): I just stumbled across audio files of a tribute to Jim Healy that KMPC broadcast
shortly after Jim passed away. During the show, KMPC broadcast a bit of a interview with Lasorda in which he was asked about the Kingman
incident, and Lasorda gives the background in his own words (note: Gene Autry, in addition to being a famous actor and owner of the Angels, also owned KMPC):
Interviewer: Recall for us Tommy the circumstances, uh I think Dave Kingman that day was a one man wrecking crew.
Lasorda: Well that's true. In fact it was Mothers Day and I was to be honored. And we had a three nothing lead and Kingman hit a three run homer to tie it. Now, in the bottom of the 8th, we scored two runs and go ahead five to three. With two outs Mike Garmon walks Bobby Mercer. Kingman comes up and hits another home run and ties it at five to five. Now we go into the 15th inning and I gotta go into my starting rotation, and I bring Rick Roden in in the top of the 15th, Kingman hits a three run homer. He drove in all eight runs, he hit three home runs, and, I uh was to be honored that night by the Cystic Fibrosis organization. I didn't even want to go because I felt that if I went there and there was a security gaurd around and he had a gun, I would have pulled it out and shot Garmon. But, I didn't do it. So I went to the dinner that night. But before, after the game was over, I was sitting in my office. And all of a sudden, this young reporter comes in with a tape recorder, Paul Olden. Yeah, and I've seen paul since. You know Paul said to me he was sorry he did that, I said "Hey, you did your job Paul. Don't worry about it". He asked me 'What is your opinion of Kingman's performance?' No body asked me about an opinion. They've always asked me 'well, Kingman hit three home runs', 'what did he hit', 'what did it do to you', so and so. This guy says 'What is your opinon'. So I proceeded to give him what was my opinion of Kingman's performance. I'd like to have the rights on that, on that tape, because what happened, uh, Steve was when it was first played on the Jim Healy show, I guess Gene Autry heard it and he wanted a copy of the real tape. And then all of a sudden, within a two week period, that tape had gone from the west coast to the east coast. Everybody had that tape. Within a month's time, I couldn't go anywhere without somebody telling me they had the tape - the real tape of that, uh, opinion. I think it was finally translated into Japanese (laughing).
Lasorda: Yeah, I'd of liked, I really would have liked to have the rights to that tape.
When: October 15, 1977
Background: Rau starts game 4 of the world series. He gives up several hits in the third inning, and Lasorda heads for the mound to pull Rau from the game...
Lasorda: Just give me a sign Red when I get out there, I'll mess around for some time. Ok?
Lasorda: Fuck no. He can't get them left-handers out, for Christ all fucking mighty.
Unknown Player: Fucking Jackson gets jammed on a fucking ball.
Rau: I feel good Tommy.
Lasorda: I don't give a shit if you feel good, there's four mother fucking hits up there.
Rau: They're all hits the opposite way too.
Lasorda: I don't give a fuck.
Rau: Tommy, we got a left handed hitter I can strike this mother fucker out.
Lasorda: I don't give a shit, Dougy.
Unknown Player: I think you're wrong this time, Tommy.
Lasorda: Well I may be wrong but that's my god dammed job. I'll make the...
Rau: I ain't fucking hurting.
Lasorda: I'll make the fucking decisions here.
Rau: You think I'm pitching that bad?
Lasorda: I'll make the fucking decisions here, ok?
Rau: Its like there were three runs on the fucking board yesterday.
Lasorda: (enraged) I don't give a fuck!
Unknown Player: Hey, hey, come on....
Rau: Hey Tommy I don't have to take this shit!
Lasorda: Don't give me any shit, god damn it! I'll make the fucking decisions. Keep your fucking mouth shut, I told ya.
Unknown Player: This looks bad up here man. Just back off the mound. You want to talk about it talk about it inside...
Lasorda: You talk about it in my fucking office.
Rau: If I felt bad then I wouldn't say nothing.
Unknown Player: I'm just saying talk about it inside. This is not the place to be talking about it.
Rau: Yeah, ok.
Unknown Player: Ok? That's all I'm trying to say. Don't jump on me, shit. I'm just trying to avoid a fucking scene out here, that's all.
Lasorda: That's right. Its fucking great for you to be standing out here talking to me like that.
Rau: If I didn't feel good I wouldn't say nothing.
Lasorda: I don't give a shit, Doug. I'm the fucking manager of the fucking team. I've gotta make the fucking decisions, and I'll make 'em to the fucking best of my ability. They may be the fucking wrong decisions, but I'll make it. Don't worry about it. I'll make the fucking decisions. I gave ya a fucking chance to walk out of here. I can't fuck around we're down two games to one. If it was yesterday that's a different fucking story.
Rau: That's a right handed hitter coming up....
Lasorda: I don't give a shit. You got three, er, uh, left hand hitters and they all got fucking hits on ya. Rivers, Jackson and the fucking other guy. They got left handed - they all hit - that guy who just hit the ball was a left hander, wasn't he?
Rau: ...pitch him to the inside part of the plate.
Lasorda: Dougy, I don't give a shit whether you jammed him or not he got - he didn't get out. I can't - I can't let you out there in a fucking game like this, I got a fucking job to do. What's the matter with you?
When: June 30, 1984
Background: The San Diego Padres felt that Tommy had ordered pitcher Tom Niedenfuer to intentionally throw at batter Joe Lafaye during a recent game after the previous batter had hit a home run. Niedenfuer was fined $500 for the episode. Padre manager Dicky Williams
got a bit hot under the collar when speaking with reporters after the game: "You talk about chicken shit! Who the fuck do they think they are? So then, here's a warning so there's no retaliation. That's horseshit. Neidenfuer my ass! It takes a lot of god dammed balls. They've hit fourteen home runs off of us, they haven't had their cap spun once. We hit one, they drill the guy in the head. Is that Dodger Blue? Shit."
Later, Padre Kurt Bevacqua told some reporters that "they should fine the fat little Italian $500, too. He ordered it." Discussing the accusation with some reporters, Tommy started out calmly but gradually worked himself into a bit of a frenzy...
Lasorda: I think that is very, very bad for that man to make an accusation like that. That is terrible. I have never, ever, have managed, ever told a pitcher to throw at anybody, nor will I ever. And if I ever did, I certainly wouldn't make him throw at a fucking one hundred and thirty hitter, like LaFaye, or fucking Bevacqua, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat. (by this point, Tommy is pretty mad) And I guaran-fucking-tee you this, when I pitched and I was going to pitch against a fucking team that had guys on it like Bevacqua, I'd send a fucking limousine to get the cocksucker to make sure he was in the mother fucking lineup, because I'd kick that cocksucker's ass any fucking day of the week. (laughter from the reporters) He's a fucking mother fucking big mouth I'll tell ya that.
Landreaux and Garvey
When: Unknown date - but from the context, after the Dave Kingman incident. Note also the reporter's reference to Jim Healy, who used to play the Kingman tape on his radio show all the time.
Background: Opposing pitcher Scott Sanderson throws an awful game, and wins. Missing wildly with most of his pitches, Sanderson is bailed out by the Dodgers who decide to swing at his pitches anyway. That prompted this from Lasorda after the game. Note Tommy's references to "Russell" (Dodger shortstop Bill Russell), "Sax" (Dodger second baseman Steve Sax), "Landreaux" (Dodger center fielder Ken Landreaux), Garvey (Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey) and "Penguin" (Penguin was the nickname for Dodger third baseman Ron Cey, nicknamed as such due to the way he seemed to waddle as he ran).
Lasorda: I ain't fucking shitting you when I say this. That fucking cocksucker, he, he was burning himself right there on the fucking mound. Fucking swinging at fucking balls this fucking high. He walks - he walked Russell, he don't come close to the fucking plate. (laughter from reporters) He walked Sax, he don't come near the fucking plate. Two balls and one fucking strike and the fucking ball up in his fucking eyes, and Landreaux swings at the mother fucking ball. How the fuck can you hit that fucking guy? Garvey, Garvey needed a fucking oar to hit the fucking ball today (more laughter), that's how fucking bad he was - their fucking pitches were. I'll tell ya, he'd have made a fucking great fucking cricket player, hitting the ball on one fucking bounce. I'll tell ya, that's a fucking crime. We had more fucking scoring opportunities (yet more laughter) to win that mother fucking game, and I'll tell ya that cocksuckers get away with that fucking shit, that motherfucker!
(laughter again - after this point Lasorda is completely enraged and the reporter's laughter is non-stop)
Reporter 1: That long enough for ya Jim?
Lasorda: I don't give a fuck I'm fucking shit, fuck 'em! Lucky motherfuckers! How the fuck can those cocksuckers get by with that fucking shit? Ah, put that in your fucking paper, TJ! Every fucking word I said put it in the mother fucking paper! I don't give a fuck, TJ!
Reporter 2 (TJ?): How do ya spell...
Lasorda: Put that in that mother fucking paper you work for! What in the fuck is the name of that paper, TJ?
Reporter 3 (Joe): Tommy, what was your opinion of Kingman....
Lasorda: Get the fuck out of here, Joe!
Reporter3 (Joe): No, no, I'm serious, I have to ask that....
Lasorda: I'm serious too. Get the fuck out of here I don't want to fucking talk to ya. Penguin's right, you are a fucking spy. Penguin knows ya!
We Want To Win
When: Unknown date - but from the context this must have been during the 1981 season. That year, the baseball season was split into two halves due to a players strike. The winner of each division for each half of the season were to have a playoff to determine the winner of the division.
Background: unknown save for the above information about when this must have happened.
Lasorda: If anybody's got any fucking brains at all, if anybody's got any fucking idea of watching the baseball game, if anybody's got any idea of following the fucking ball club, if they can't see that this fucking team is busting their fucking ass. Look at this fucking kid, and ask him how the fuck he feels. He'll tell ya how the fuck he feels about whether we want to fucking win or not. Ask him how he feels. He feels fucking horseshit cause he hasn't been successful. You think he gives a fuck because we won the first half? He wants to fucking win the second half. And everybody on this fucking club wants - has the same fucking feeling. The fucking guy has the audacity to put that in the fucking paper, that's uh, that's horseshit.
Reporter: Nothing we haven't said before.
Lasorda: I'm tired of answering that fucking question, really (???) nothing against you....
Reporter: No, I know. I had to ask that....
Lasorda: But yeah, but nothing against that, but the fact is ... I mean Jesus Christ If you can't see... If you can't see me walking out of here two hours, three hours after the mother fucking game, and I can't sleep with my fucking head hanging down, I'm really - I don't give a fuck. Well then, really, what the fuck do I act like when I do give a fuck?
When: Unknown date
Background: Tommy, well known for his love of Italian food (he even owned a local restaurant) and his somewhat portly figure, had managed to lose quite a few pounds. As a result, the weight loss product Slim Fast decided to make Lasorda their spokesman. Tommy eventually found himself in the studio recording a commercial but unable to get his lines right. Tommy got upset and then proceeded to rip himself while the tape was still recording....
Lasorda: I ain't ever been this horseshit in my fucking life!
Ain't My Fault
When: Unknown date, but before Al Campanis's infamous appearance on ABC's Nightline show with Ted Koppel in 1987.
Background: Tommy was one of Al Campanis's biggest defenders after Campanis made racially insensitive remarks on Nightline
in 1987, remarks that lead to Campanis's firing as General Manager of the Dodgers. During his acceptance speech at his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Tommy referred to Campanis as "my mentor, who taught so much about the game of baseball and life." After Campanis passed away, Lasorda was quoted as saying "It's sad to think that Al leaves the world with an unjustifiable reputation. He never judged a player on the basis of color. The only thing he wanted to know was 'can he play?' He dedicated his life to the Dodgers and did more for Latin and black players than anyone in baseball. I'll stand on that statement." Its unfortunate that Lasorda wasn't always so charitable to Campanis. After Campanis traded away soft-spoken pitcher Dave Stewart, who went on to consecutive 20 win seasons with the Oakland Athletics, Lasorda, when asked about the trade, retorted:
Lasorda: Ain't my fucking fault, Campanis is the fucking guy!
Background: Tommy held a clubhouse meeting with his players, lecturing them about showing compassion. When one of his players interrupted him, Lasorda promptly displayed his own compassion by screaming...
Lasorda: Shut the fuck up!
Not So Easy
When: Unknown date
Background: Tommy was appearing on a radio talk show. Either the host or one of the callers started to second guess Lasorda's decisions on the field. I'm not sure if Tommy said this live on the air or during a commercial, but it was caught on tape none-the-less.
Lasorda: ...and I'm telling you, and all your fucking listerners, that this fucking job is not that fucking easy!
When: Unknown date
Background: The Dodgers were in New York to play the Mets. A columnist for the New York Daily News who used the pen name "The Nose", welcomed the Dodgers to town by writing an article in which he ridiculed Lasorda for showing to much emotion on the field and hugging his players. If his goal was to draw Lasorda's ire, he succeeded admirably as Tommy had this to say while speaking to a group of reporters.....
Lasorda: I'm happy, I'm grateful, I'm proud, I'm the happiest son of a bitch in the world. And that son of a bitch who writes under that Daily News, that fucking guy they call the fucking Nose, who say's that's shit me jumping up and down is horseshit. You ought to let him feel like I have. Who in the fuck is that cocksucker anyway? (laughter from reporters) Some fucking guy who writes for the New York Daily News called the fucking Nose, he says 'Lasorda jumping up and down'. That's the fucking way I feel when my team wins. And if I fucking want to jump up and down when my fucking team wins, and if I want to hug my fucking players when they fucking do good, I'm going to do it. I don't give a shit what the fucking Nose says!
Old audio tapes of The Jim Healy Show which aired on KMPC in Los Angeles