With no live sports to watch domestically, we have tried to make competitions out of just about everything to quench our thirst for sports. It might be marble racing, or various NCAA-style brackets to determine the best or favorite anything.
In the spirit if pitting combatants against each other, I think I have broken new ground in rehashing old highlights. And amazingly in this time of isolation, I have stumbled across a three-way.
As in three iconic performances pitted against one another. What did you think I meant?
The choice we will make on this day is selecting with Tommy Lasorda battle against a mascot was best? For all I know, there are countless such fights Lasorda has been involved in. After all, his cantankerousness is legendary, usually on display in his rants — like Dave Kingman’s performance, or Kurt Bevacqua’s chances of hitting water if he fell out of a &$#*! boat — or his famous stories, like when Reds manager John McNamara prayed for a win, only to be followed by Lasorda blowing out McNamara’s candle.
But in terms of Lasorda vs. mascots, three legendary battles come to mind. Let’s relive the magic.
The San Diego Chicken
This one is the hardest to rank since I couldn’t find specific footage. But a main incident seems to stem from the famous San Diego Chicken, stepping on a Dodgers cap on the field several times in San Diego. Lasorda was apoplectic that someone would do such a thing to something so sacred.
From Ted Giannoulas, who played the San Diego Chicken:
“He’s gone berserk because I stepped on the Dodgers hat out there in one my gags,” Giannoulas explained. “He’s yelling to me, ‘You want to step on a Dodgers hat?’ — I’m cleaning this up by the way — ‘You want to step on a Dodgers hat, you come into the locker room and step on mine. I’ll kill you, you S.O.B, I’ll murder you. I’ll tear you from limb to wing to tail. You’ll be nothing when I’m done with you.’”
The best part is that Lasorda’s version of the story is basically the same.
“I was going into the clubhouse and caught him walking, and I put my hand on his throat,” Lasorda explained. “I said, ‘There’s my hat, crush the hat. Come on, crush the hat.’ He wouldn’t crush it. I said, ‘The next time you do it on the field, I’m going to grab you right here [pantomimes his hand on the San Diego Chicken’s throat] and your eyeballs are going to pop out.’”
The Montreal Expos aren’t around anymore, which means no more Youppi! (at least in baseball), the mascot with an exclamation mark in his name and on his jersey. It seems that Lasorda doesn’t miss Youppi! much, given their encounter in 1989.
On Aug. 23, the Dodgers and Expos were embroiled in a marathon, LA’s second 22-inning game of the season. But before Rick Dempsey won the game in Montreal with a solo home run, and before Ross Porter set a record for longest solo television broadcast, Lasorda had his run-in with the Expos mascot.
After a disputed call and an argument on the field, Lasorda returned to the dugout to see Youppi! jumping on the top of the Dodgers dugout, which was metal. The constant banging only annoyed Lasorda more. After the game went into extra innings, around the 11th inning, Youppi! changed into pajamas, and got back on top of the Dodgers dugout and pretended to sleep.
“You tell that guy to get off of that dugout,” Lasorda yelled from the dugout. Ultimately, Lasorda convinced home plate umpire Bob Davidson to eject Youppi! from the game, to a chorus of boos from the Montreal faithful.
“It was a great moment that he got kicked out of the game, because to me, he did his job,” said Expos broadcaster Roger Brulotte. “He had disturbed the opposing team, and most of all, people laughed.”
The Phillie Phanatic
Probably the most famous Lasorda run-in with a mascot happened with arguably the most famous baseball mascot of all, the Phillie Phanatic.
This 1988 encounter was spurred on by the Phanatic riding around on an ATV while holding a life-sized doll in a Lasorda uniform, with extra padding in the stomach of course.
Lasorda starts to walk toward the Phanatic, then slowly starts to take the ATV away, guiding it off the field. As the Phanatic pursues, Lasorda suddenly changes course and runs after the mascot, ultimately knocking him down and wresting the Lasorda doll away.
Any encounter that ends with Lasorda using a life-sized doll of himself to beat a mascot will always be memorable. That Dodgers announcer Don Drysdale couldn’t stop laughing during the melee is an added bonus.
What’s your pick for the greatest Lasorda fight with a mascot?
Which Tommy Lasorda fight with a mascot was best?
This poll is closed
San Diego Chicken