Tag: Tommy Lasorda

5 Reasons Why Giants Fans Hate Dodgers Fans

ESPN used to run a commercial featuring a young couple having cutesy time on the couch. As unsavory as that image was to a sports fan just wanting to watch game highlights, the visual turned absolutely repugnant once the camera zoomed out to reveal the guy was wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt, while the girl was sporting her Michigan threads.

Just thinking about it makes you uncomfortable, right?

Now imagine a Giants fan and a Dodgers fan embracing on the couch, making out and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ear. I don’t know about you, but I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Well, that is because the two fanbases don’t get along. In fact, they downright hate each other. They hate each other’s teams, their team colors, their hometowns and their regional vernacular. They even hate the air the other side breathes (with good reason, at least for Giants fans—LA air is filthy).

And it doesn’t help that the players in opposite dugouts hate each other, too, carrying on a rivalry that extends back to the New York days for both franchises.

The list of reasons why the two sides hate each other is seemingly endless, but here we’ll just look at five of the reasons Giants fans hate Dodgers fans so much.

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Tommy LaSorda: Darryl Strawberry’s Addiction Was a Weakness, Not a Sickness

Addiction is a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it.

Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda was one of the great managers of all time. He considers himself a leader and a patriotic American.

In his book, The Artful Dodger, which was published in 1986, LaSorda presented four beliefs that he lives by. He wrote:

“Baseball is the best game in the world; the Dodgers are the best sports franchise in the world; the U.S. is the greatest country in the world; Tommy Lasorda is the luckiest guy in the world because of his attachments to all three of the above.”

LaSorda has no room for “namby-pamby” approaches to anything. His philosophy reeks of rugged individualism and being responsible for one’s actions. His reaction to Darryl Strawberry is typical LaSorda.

Strawberry “disappeared” at the start of the 1994 baseball season. LaSorda became livid when he learned that Strawberry admitted he had a “drug problem.”

“I’m very upset,” Lasorda said. “When you’re weak enough to let something like that control you, it’s disgraceful. How someone can be so dumb to put something in his body that will destroy him is beyond me.

“I get tired of hearing people describe this as a sickness. Sickness is cancer, a heart attack. Not substance abuse. That’s a weakness.”

Circumstances don’t seem to matter to LaSorda. Weakness is not an excuse, and that also applies to his family.

Tommy Jr, LaSorda’s son, died of complications related to AIDS in 1991. The father and son were estranged, primarily because Lasorda refuses to acknowledge his son’s homosexuality. When asked about the cause of his son’s death, LaSorda insisted that he died of cancer.

Bobby Valentine, who has known LaSorda since the late 1960s, tells a story that illustrates how tough and unyielding LaSorda can be, both with his words and with his fists.

“He was tough with his fists,” Valentine said. “I saw him in front of his house one day hit a kid who had been speeding by on a motorcycle. Knocked him across the hood of a car.”

There have been times when LaSorda could be gentle. After his mother had suffered a stroke, he sat at her bedside, talking about her life with his father, recalling events with his four brothers and telling her how proud he was of her. He hoped that she was proud of him.

She later asked her son Joe how much Tommy received for making a speech. Joe told her that Tommy would usually be paid $2,500. Tommy’s mother said,

“Give him the whole $2,500. He just made the best speech I ever heard.”



Verdi, Bob. “There’s trouble between the white lines.” The Sporting News 18 Apr. 1994: 9. General OneFile. Web. 26 Nov. 2011.

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Out at the Plate: Glenn Burke’s Baseball Legacy Transcends Gay-Straight Barrier

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants will be taking the field against the Texas Rangers in the 106th edition of baseball’s World Series. The players will be trotting out to their respective positions, digging into the batter’s box and toeing the pitcher’s mound with only one thing on their minds: winning.

Yet 33 years ago, the starting center-fielder for the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers had a lot on his mind. Granted, it was Game 1 of the 1977 World Series. He was technically still a rookie, and was being touted as the Dodgers’ version of Willie Mays.

He was facing one of the most experienced World Series pitchers of all time in Don Gullet, and he was playing his first game ever in historic Yankee Stadium. 

Oh, and he was gay. 

Glenn Burke, still accepted around sports as the first and only player in the big four sports (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA) to come out to his teammates while he was still playing, was in the majors for only four years before his lifestyle seemingly drove him out of the game. Three decades after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Glenn Burke attempted to break the gay barrier, but sadly their paths were not parallel.

Burke, an Oakland native and Berkeley High two-sport star, was one of the best Bay Area athletes to come out of high school in the 1970s. Remember, this is a region and decade that also produced Rickey Henderson and Claudell Washington, who have played a combined 42 Major League seasons to Burke’s four. And according to them, Burke was still the best talent out of all three.

Burke may have had the talent and the star power personality to match, but when he began to reveal glimpses of his sexuality to his teammates and management, it started him down a slippery slope that was simply to steep to climb back up.

Out. The Glenn Burke Story is an exclusive Comcast SportsNet documentary that chronicles his descent from the World Series to being traded to the Athletics to a voluntary retirement and down into the abyss of drug abuse, homelessness, and AIDS that eventually took his life, and shows how much his story affected many people who have until now been silent. 

Featuring interviews with Dodger teammates Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes and Rick Monday, among others, as well as A’s teammates Claudell Washington, Mike Norris, and Shooty Babitt, Out gets into the nitty-gritty of Burke’s athletic and post-athletic career.

According to almost everyone interviewed, Burke was run out of baseball because he was gay. The Dodgers apparently offered to pay for his wedding and honeymoon if he got married, and when he refused, he was promptly traded to the Athletics. The situation was no better there with manager Billy Martin, and Burke took a leave of absence from the team to clear his head. 

When he decided to come back, it was starkly clear to him that, while he still loved baseball and obviously had the physical tools to play the game, there was no place for a gay man in professional baseball. Burke then took the celebrity that he did have and played it up, spending a majority of his time in San Francisco’s famed Castro District.

Yet his fame ran out, and his party lifestyle turned into one of drug abuse. The tragedy was compounded when Burke contracted AIDS in 1994. But in the last years of his life, the same game of baseball that abandoned him came back to support him in his greatest time of need. 

Out. is being premiered for a public screening at the Castro Theater on Wednesday, November 10, and will be replayed exclusively on Comcast SportsNet on Tuesday, November 16. Tickets for the screening are $5, with all proceeds benefitting Marty’s Place, which once provided a homeless Burke with shelter and care as he coped with the effects of AIDS/HIV. 

For more information, and for ticket sales, please visit Comcast SportsNet’s exclusive information page.

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