(Tommy Sr. assures a young hopeful he might be every bit as revered as Dave Kingman someday if he just works hard and eats his vitamins)
Tommy Lasorda can laugh about it now. At the time, he was dead serious.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Lasorda’s most famous ” or infamous ” postgame tirade as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s becomea cult classic on the Internet, with the Hall of Fame skipper at his most profane.
Dave Kingman had just led the New York Mets to an extra-inning victory at Dodger Stadium with three home runs and eight RBI, when a young radio reporter named Paul Olden asked him, “What did you think of Kingman’s performance?”
“What’s my opinion of Kingman’s performance?” Lasorda said. “What the [expletive] do you think my opinion is of it? I think it was [expletive]. Put that in. I don’t [expletive] care. What’s my opinion of his performance? [expletive]. He beat us with three [expletive] home runs.
“What the [expletive] do you mean, ‘What is my opinion of his performance?’ How can you ask me a question like that? I’m [expletive] off to lose a [expletive] game, and you ask me my opinion of his performance?”
Looking back on the incident, Lasorda showed remorse for allowing his temper get the better of him.
“I’m sorry that I did an interview like that, and I’m not proud of it,” Lasorda said Saturday. “I’ve been married now 56 years, and I’ve never used a word of profanity in front of my wife, my children, or anybody else’s wife or children. But on the ballfield, I’m bad. I’m really bad.”
Lasorda didn’t realize just how much his remarks would be replayed. Plenty of radio listeners have heard bootleg copies of it over the years ” including some of Lasorda’s celebrity acquaintances.
“I remember once when Burt Reynolds walked into a restaurant and saw me with my wife,” Lasorda recalled. “He said, ‘Hey, Tommy, I just came in on my plane and we played your tape.’ Then my wife goes, ‘What tape?’ I said, ‘I don’t know what he’s talking about.’ “