Tuesday, December 07, 2021

January 8, 2021  LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tommy Lasorda looked on from a suite at Globe Life Field in Texas, watching as the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the World Series in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Surrounded by family and friends, Lasorda celebrated the team’s first championship in 32 years that October evening amid the coronavirus pandemic. While his mobility was slowed, his mind was still sharp.

Fittingly, it was the last game he ever attended.

“He always said he wanted 2 things, to live to be 100 and to see another championship brought to the city of LA,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tweeted. “Although he fought like hell to hit triple digits, I couldn’t be more proud to know he got to see the Dodgers on top again, where he knew we belonged.”

The Hall of Fame manager who was true to the Dodgers for more than seven decades died Thursday night after having a heart attack at his home in Fullerton, California, the team said Friday. Lasorda was 93. He had just returned home Tuesday after being hospitalized since Nov. 8 with heart issues.

Lasorda had been the oldest living baseball Hall of Famer — that distinction now belongs to Willie Mays, who turns 90 in March.

Lasorda had a history of heart problems, including a heart attack in 1996 that hastened the end of his managerial career and another in 2012 that required him to have a pacemaker.

“It feels appropriate that in his final months, he saw his beloved Dodgers win the World Series for the first time since his 1988 team,” commissioner Rob Manfred said.

Lasorda spent 71 years in the Dodgers organization, starting as a player when the team was still based in Brooklyn. He later coached and then became its best-known manager for 21 years in Los Angeles, leading the franchise to two World Series championships. After stepping down in 1996, he became an ambassador for the sport he loved.

Alternately fiery, comforting, profane and full of flair, Lasorda used to say, “I bleed Dodger blue.”

He was a master motivator among his players, always knowing just the right amount of confidence or candor required to induce stellar performances.

“In a franchise that has celebrated such great legends of the game, no one who wore the uniform embodied the Dodger spirit as much as Tommy Lasorda,” said Stan Kasten, team president and CEO.

More MLB Stories:

  • – Ryne Stanek, Astros agree to $1.1 million, 1-year contract
  • – Mega deal: Indians trade star Lindor, Carrasco to Mets
  • – Red Sox's Smith excited to be MLB's 1st Black female coach

Lasorda served as special adviser to team owner and chairman Mark Walter for the last 14 years, and maintained a frequent presence at games sitting in Walter’s box.

Lasorda compiled a 1,599-1,439 record as manager from 1977-96. He won World Series titles in 1981 and ’88, four National League pennants and eight division titles as the skipper.

Lasorda kept a bronze plaque on his desk reading: “Dodger Stadium was his address, but every ballpark was his home.″

He was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager. He guided the U.S. to a baseball gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Lasorda was the franchise’s longest-tenured active employee since Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully retired in 2016 after 67 years.

“There are two things about Tommy I will always remember,” Scully said. “The first is his boundless enthusiasm. Tommy would get up in the morning full of beans and maintain that as long as he was with anybody else. The other was his determination. He was a fellow with limited ability and he pushed himself to be a very good Triple-A pitcher. He never quite had that something extra that makes a major leaguer, but it wasn’t because he didn’t try.”

As a pitcher, Lasorda had a limited career at the major league level, going 0-4 with a 6.48 ERA and 13 strikeouts from 1954-56.

He made only one start for the Dodgers — in 1955, the only year they won the crown while in Brooklyn, he threw three wild pitches against the Cardinals and was pulled after the first inning.

Overall, he pitched eight games for the Dodgers and compiled a 7.62 ERA.

Who would’ve ever guessed then that he would wind up meaning so much to the franchise?

Born Thomas Charles Lasorda on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, his pro career began when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1945. He missed the 1946 and ’47 seasons while serving in the Army.

Lasorda returned in 1948 and once struck out 25 in a 15-inning game. In his next two starts, he struck out 15 and 13, gaining the attention of the Dodgers, who drafted him from the Phillies. He played in Panama and Cuba before making his major league debut on Aug. 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although he didn’t play in the 1955 World Series, he won a ring as a member of the team.

Lasorda pitched for the Dodgers for two seasons but lost his roster spot when Brooklyn had to make room for another lefty — young Sandy Koufax.

The Kansas City Athletics bought Lasorda’s contract and was traded to the Yankees in during the 1956 season. Sent down to the Triple-A Denver Bears, he was sold back to the Dodgers in 1957.

Lasorda stayed on with the Dodgers as a scout after they released him in 1960. That was the beginning of a steady climb through the Dodgers’ system that culminated in his 1973 promotion to the big league staff under longtime Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston.

Lasorda spent four seasons as third base coach while considered to be the heir apparent to Alston, who retired in September 1976. Lasorda’s 21 years as manager was second-only to Alston.

Lasorda’s gregarious personality was in stark contrast to his restrained predecessor. He was known for his enthusiasm and outspoken opinions about players. He would jump around and pump his arms in the air after Dodgers victories and embrace players in the dugout after home runs or other good plays.

In L.A., Lasorda found many of the players he had managed in the minors, including Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Bobby Valentine and Bill Buckner.

As beloved as Lasorda was publicly, behind the scenes he was known for cussing a blue streak with reporters, rendering many of his quotes unusable.

Some of his most memorable rants live on via the internet, notably one from July 1982 involving Kurt Bevacqua of the San Diego Padres, who called Lasorda “that fat little Italian″ after Dodgers pitcher Tom Niedenfuer was fined $500 for beaning Joe Lefebvre, Bevacqua’s teammate.

Lasorda denied ordering Niedenfuer to hit Lefebvre while unleashing a series of F-bombs.

“If I ever did,″ Lasorda said, his voice rising, “I certainly wouldn’t make him throw at a (expletive) .130 hitter like Lefebvre or (expletive) Bevacqua who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a (expletive) boat.″

In 1978, Dave Kingman of the Chicago Cubs hit three homers and drove in eight runs in a 10-7, extra-inning victory over the Dodgers and a reporter asked Lasorda what he thought of Kingman’s performance.

“I think it was (expletive) (expletive). Put that in,″ Lasorda said. “He beat us with three (expletive) home runs. How could you ask me a question like that?”

Lasorda was known for his friendship with Frank Sinatra and other Hollywood stars. Sinatra sang the national anthem on opening day of the 1977 season to mark Lasorda’s debut as manager. The faux-wood paneled walls of Lasorda’s office were crowded with black-and-white autographed photos of his celebrity friends, the framed glass stained by red sauce from the pasta served in large foil trays after games.

Lasorda’s appetite for winning and eating was equally voracious. His weight ballooned throughout his years as manager, and he explained, “When we won games, I’d eat to celebrate. And when we lost games, I’d eat to forget.″

Lasorda managed nine National League Rookie of the Year winners, including Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Sax, Steve Howe, Mike Piazza, Eric Karros and Hideo Nomo.

“You have to know who to pat on the back, when to pat him on the back, when you have to kick them in the butt and when you have to stroke them a little bit,” said Mike Scioscia, former Dodgers catcher and major league manager. “And Tommy had that gift, to know what players needed what.”

Lasorda managed in four All-Star games. He was serving as third base coach in the 2001 game when he tumbled backward while trying to avoid the shattered barrel of Vladimir Guerrero’s bat in a comical scene.

In 1998, Lasorda became interim general manager after Fred Claire was fired in the middle of the season. He resigned from that job after the season and was appointed senior vice president. After the team was sold in 2004 to Frank McCourt, Lasorda became special adviser to the chairman.

He is survived by Jo, his wife of 70 years. The couple lived in the same modest home in Fullerton for 68 years. They have a daughter Laura and a granddaughter Emily. The couple’s son, Tom Jr., died in 1991 of AIDS-related complications.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

“Representation Is the Bare Minimum”: Modeling’s Biggest Stars Speak Out