As much as I always wanted to attend Dodgers spring training while they were still at Vero Beach, I was never able to make it there. It was simply too far and too expensive for me, not to mention the time away from my family and my work. However, since moving their spring training facilities from Vero Beach to Glendale, Arizona in 2009, I have yet to miss a single Dodgers spring training; and every year I enjoy it more and more.
To be able to watch your favorite players up close and personal is simply priceless, not to mention the thrill of getting their autographs or taking their pictures. Spring training is pure baseball 24/7.
In the four years that I have attended spring training at Camelback Ranch (soon to be five), there is one guy who never ceases to amaze me – Tommy Lasorda. Oh sure, I have seen Tommy get a little cranky at times, even downright nasty, but there is no one… absolutely no one who signs more autographs year after year than Lasorda. (I’ll let you in on a little secret – whatever you do, do not neglect to say thank you to Lasorda after he signs for you and say it loud and clear. If you do not, you will see a side of Tommy that you wished you hadn’t).
I am blessed to be able to see Lasorda on a relatively regular basis because of my time spent in the Vin Scully Press Box and at the various press conferences, and one thing that I never do is take him for granted. When you stop and realize all that he has done in his 60+ years with the Dodgers, it is simply amazing. The guy has forgotten more about baseball than most people will ever know.
Rather than write a big story about the 85-year-old Hall of Famer, something that both Craig Minami of True Blue LA and Scott Andes of Lasorda’s Lair have both done exceptionally well this past week, I will simply leave you with two short video clips of the legendary former Dodger player, coach, manager and executive. (Note: Both videos are several years old)
(Click the “Watch on YouTube” link)