As Team USA gets ready to open up play in the World Baseball Classic, Eye on Baseball caught up with the venerable Tommy Lasorda to talk WBC and the Dodgers for a few quick questions (he was in the midst of a very busy day in New York).
The legendary manager is no stranger to international play, as he led the 2000 Olympic team to a gold medal. And he believes Team USA should dominate international play. Also, he was very succinct.
Here we go:
Matt Snyder: When you managed for the Dodgers, how would you have felt about some of your players leaving camp to play in the World Baseball Classic?
Tommy Lasorda: I wouldn't mind it at all because they would be playing. People gotta realize that, what the hell is the difference between them being in spring training or playing [in the WBC]. They've been in spring training two or three weeks now.
MS: Is it different for veterans to leave camp to play in the event as opposed to younger guys who might be trying to secure a roster spot?
TL: No. Anybody that the team wants, they should go. That's the way I feel.
MS: Many fans still seem lukewarm about the World Baseball Classic. They just aren't that excited. Do you think that would change if the U.S. advanced a little bit further?
TL: Well, that's just a bad attitude to take. Those teams out there playing, they wanna win.
MS: I assume you feel Team USA should be the favorite for the event?
TL: We should be. It's our game! It doesn't belong to Venezuela or Cuba. It's our game! We shouldn't let those donkeys beat us!
MS: On the Dodgers, are you happy to have Frank McCourt out of there in favor of the new ownership group now?
TL: They're good people. They're very, very good people. I can't say anything bad about McCourt. He treated me great, and I can't say a bad word about him. But a lot of people didn't like him, and he had problems. But the people that came in, they are outstanding people and they are really doing everything they can to put a winner on the field.
MS: Do you think they have a World Series-caliber team right now?
TL: Absolutely. Without a doubt. You can take my [World Series winning] team in '88 and match it with this one.
MS: Do you think that your 1988 Dodgers team was better than this current Dodgers team?
TL: Hell no! There's no way.
And there you have it. The 85-year-old Lasorda was definitely not lacking for energy and was extremely boisterous. Don't misconstrue -- he was certainly polite to me. He just seemed fired up in favor of Team USA. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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