Tommy Lasorda Talks the Future of Baseball

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes."

Beginning on March 3 the world's best baseball players will gather to compete for their home countries for the first time ever in the World Baseball Classic. Former Dodgers manager and Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda has been named ambassador to the World Baseball Classic. He joins us now.

Tommy, thank you very much for being here.

TOMMY LASORDA, BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER: Thank you, Alan. Good to see you. Sean, always good to see you.

COLMES: You've been very clear about how important you feel it is for the players to make their case, stake their claim and play for their country.

LASORDA: Without a doubt. You live in this country. This country has allowed for you to make money, make a living. You've got to give something back to your country.

When I took the job as the manager of the Olympic team, I didn't take it because I was a Dodger. I did it because I was an American, and I wanted to bring that gold medal where it belongs in baseball, the United States. And that's exactly what our team did.

COLMES: I'm a New Yorker, so let me ask you a question. Yankees or Mets?

LASORDA: Well...

HANNITY: Dodgers.


COLMES: But the Dodgers left Brooklyn. How could they have done that?

LASORDA: Yes, because Moses, Robert Moses wouldn't give them the ground to build the stadium, so blame Robert Moses.

COLMES: You know, there are New Yorkers still angry about that. It's a shame.

LASORDA: Yes, but they should be mad at Robert Moses. But...

COLMES: He was a great developer in New York City.

LASORDA: That's right. Exactly. Exactly. But the World Baseball Classic, I'm excited about it.


LASORDA: It's something that has never been done before. Sixteen countries, and they're going to go out. And the best baseball players in the world are going to be performing.

COLMES: And there was a little controversy whether A-Rod would play for the Dominican Republic or the United States.

LASORDA: Yes. Sure. A-Rod was born in the United States. And those big checks he gets are from the United States. Understand?

HANNITY: He should play — but he got mad at Major League Baseball and said, "This is their problem," you know? He...

LASORDA: I'm glad he's playing with the United States. He's an American citizen. He was born in our country. We're happy to have him, and he's going to play for our country.

HANNITY: You said there's a couple of guys who were asked to play. They turned it down and this really ticked you off.

LASORDA: I have no respect for those guys. Unless they were injured, I have no respect.

HANNITY: Are you naming names?

LASORDA: No, I'm not going to name names. But I'll tell you this. They'll know who I'm talking about. You get an opportunity to do something for your country, you better get out and do it.

HANNITY: Does it get to the issue that some of these guys are way overpaid, they become prima donnas? Their egos are out of control?

LASORDA: I don't know why. I don't know why they don't want to do it. I think it's an honor and a privilege...

HANNITY: I agree with you.

LASORDA: ... that you can do something for your country. And that's what we did. We took that Olympic team — I didn't know, 24 players, 23 and I never knew who they were. But they did it for the United States of America. It wasn't for the Cardinals or the Dodgers or the Mets or the Yankees. On our shirt it said "USA."

HANNITY: One time you said about Darryl Strawberry, it's a character flaw because he was using drugs.

LASORDA: Absolutely. Anybody that takes drug and they try to pass it off as a sickness, that is a lie. They take drugs of their own free will, put it in their body of their own free will, realizing that: No. 1, it's against the law, No. 2, it's harmful to their body and No. 3, all it will do is lead you down the path of destruction.

COLMES: Tommy, we've got to run.

HANNITY: Are the Dodgers going to win this year?

LASORDA: Yes, sir.

COLMES: Yankees going to win?

LASORDA: I think so.

COLMES: Yankees versus Dodgers?

LASORDA: That would be great.

COLMES: That would be great if it was a subway series.

LASORDA: The whole country.

COLMES: Coming up, you're going to hear the last call from a pilot just before his plane goes down...

LASORDA: Thank you. Enjoyed it. I want to say...

COLMES: ... in a deadly crash. Coming up on "Hannity & Colmes."

LASORDA: Bill Modell.

HANNITY: Bill Modell?

LASORDA: Yes, Bill Modell.

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