A familiar face returned to Dodger Stadium on Saturday as Tommy Lasorda held court in the Dodger dugout before tonight's game against the Chicago White Sox. Lasorda suffered a mild heart attack while in New York City to represent the Dodgers at the 2012 MLB Draft. But if it was up to Lasorda, he might not have found out about his heart attack until it was too late.
"I have the commissioner and Joe Torre to thank," Lasorda said. "I wasn't going to the hospital."
Former Dodger Luis Gonzalez was also at the draft, representing the Arizona Diamondbacks, and asked Lasorda how he felt. Lasorda told Gonalez he felt woozy, which quickly spread around the MLB Network headquarters in New Jersey, where the first and supplemental first round of the draft was held. After a bevy of people asked Lasorda how he was doing, the former manager was convinced to get checked out by medics on site. Lasorda was told he had high blood pressure and should go to the hospital, which he refused at first.
"The commissioner came over and said, 'You are going to the hospital.' Joe Torre came over and said, 'You are going to the hospital.' So I said, 'I guess I'm going to the hospital'," Lasorda said.
Lasorda said three of his arteries were fine, but a fourth artery was 90% blocked. Doctors put in a stent, and Lasorda said he feels more energetic now than he did before the procedure.
"It's good to see him back," said manager Don Mattingly. "I just want him to take it slow, you know. Tommy is go, go, go. I just want him to take it easy."
He was joking around with reporters and passers by in the dugout on Saturday. Rick Honeycutt came by, saw Lasorda, and told him, "You look good." Lasorda immediately replied, "Yeah I do. Thanks."
The trip to the hospital even had Lasorda cracking jokes.
"That guy who was driving that damn ambulance must have been hitting every pothole on the way over there, because I was shaking up. I felt like I was one of Charlie Hough's knuckleballs," Lasorda said. "From New Jersey to New York, I thought that was the roughest trip I ever made."
Lasorda also had a heart attack in 1996, which ended his managerial career. Lasorda said the two instances were much different.
"The first one, I felt it. I broke out in a sweat, and had little pains," said Lasorda. "This one, i didn't feel anything. When they told me I had a heart attack I couldn't believe it."
Lasorda's doctors, and his wife Jo, have told him to take it easy, and have even convinced him to change his diet. Lasorda said he has only eaten oatmeal today, and he might have a salad later. But what about spaghetti and meatballs?
"I have to stay away from it, man. I could eat spaghetti and meatballs every day for the rest of my life. That's how much I love pasta," Lasorda said. "But I have to give it up if I want to stay around."
Lasorda will be in uniform on the field on Sunday as part of the Home Run Challenge, a joint venture by Major League Baseball and the Prostate Cancer Foundation tto help raise money for prostate cancer research.
Lasorda likened this year's Dodgers team to the last World Series winners for the franchise.
"It's like my 1988 team. We didn't have an overabundance of guys that were great, but we had a bunch of guys who were great together," Lasorda said. "I think that's what you see here."
"Let's hope we're going to end up like that. That would be great," Mattingly said. "It is a good group, that's for sure. Those guys seem to never quit playing."
|CF||De Aza (L)||SS||Gordon (L)|
|LF||Dunn (L)||RF||Ethier (L)|
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: KCAL, MLB Network