The Dodgers are bad. Real bad. At the moment the Dodgers are flying into Pittsburgh to begin a three game series in Steel town, and the start of a long nine game road trip. We all need some relaxation and escape from this lousy season that Guggenheim has given us. In the meantime, why not take a trip down memory lane to a time when the Dodgers were actually competitive. That time and place was the Tommy Lasorda era of the mid 1990’s. For that we follow one of our friends, Aaron Gleason. Aaron is a huge Dodger fan, avid reader, and a musician from Los Angeles, who currently lives in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Aaron was once a bat boy for Tommy Lasorda, during a game against the Expos. His story is worth reading about.
For this story, we take you back to a Expos/Dodgers game during the 1995 season. This hilarious tale involves a sad naked Delino Deshields, batting practice long-ball with Billy Ashley, home run high-fiving with Mike Piazza, and of course the man the myth the legend, Tommy Lasorda. Now let’s all jump into our Delorian’s and go back in time…..Take it away Aaron
when I was 16 or so, I was living in my native L.A. I’ve been a hardcore Dodgers fan ever since I saw the weak hitting Ken Landreaux, in his last year, hit a Home Run. The very next year, I was sitting at home and I just couldn’t watch it anymore! I ran to the next room. My friend Ben started screaming, ”Home Run!!! Home Run!!!” Gibby had hit it out! I was hooked.
Fade in on 1995, and I’m just a happy go lucky teenager. I get a call from my Grandpa. “You want to be bat boy tonight for the Dodgers?” Um…..YES! He had won the prize at an auction. Boy do I love my Grandpa!
I get to the stadium and meet my contact there. He says, we gotta get you suited up. My legs were shaking after I heard this. I go to the clubhouse. It’s empty, but for Delino DeShields sitting in there completely naked, looking sad. I’m sure this isn’t odd in a major league clubhouse, but it was to me, at the time. My new locker was right next to his. That’s probably why he was pissed off.
After I got my new threads on I was taken to the outfield. My liaison told me to shag some balls. Now I was a Varsity Pitcher at 16, but I had never caught a Major League Fly Ball. The man in the box was Billy Ashley. He hit a pitch out of the stadium in left field. OUT! Above the awning! Guess it didn’t translate to much since he couldn’t hit a curve out of the infield.
After that fun, I was escorted to the bench. ”Sit here,” said my guide. The other bat boys filled in. ”Who is this guy?” They were none too pleased. Tim Wallach was the first player in the clubhouse and he came right over to me and tapped me on the helmet with a can of School. It wasn’t hard. It was, as if to say, “He’s cool.” The other guys saw this and begrudgingly started talking to me. I had not met Wallach before. Then. THEN! The walking tsunami that is Lasorda strutted in. ”Where’s ma new bat boy?” he erupted. I weakly raised my hand. ”I want you to know somethin.” He was saying this from across the dugout. ”If we get into a fight tonight with those muthaBleeping Expos, I want you out there…fightin. We got one extra guy tonight, and that gives us the advantage.” Now, that was simply awesome. And of course, at the time, I thought he was dead serious. Bill Russell was enjoying it too. Russell was like the Teller to Lasorda’s Pen. He never said a word. Now, I’m sorry but there is a lot more profanity and story to get to…
The game started. It was a close game, and kind of boring. Lasorda talked the entire time…about??? About how the field had an S.T.D….yes, a sexually transmitted disease–and that’s why the Dodgers were slumping. Bill Russell finally says something…”Jism!” he yelped. Lasorda: “There he goes! There he goes!!” The players seemed oblivious to Beavis and Butthead being their coaches. However, I, at 16, thought it was the funniest thing ever.
Ismael Valdez gets on base and Lasorda has me run him out the jacket. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I almost cut across the field. I get out there. Valdez says “You think I’m a wuss?” I give him the jacket and run back. Mike Piazza hit a home run, Lasorda says “Get out there Gleason.” I’ve never seen a bat boy high five the player soon as he hits home plate…but I did. It was exciting!!!
The game ends and Lasorda takes me to his office. ”You comin tomorrow? We need ya! You’re good luck. That wuss Valdez even won with you here.” I swear this was a dream come true…profane language and all.
That would be a dream come true for all of us Aaron. Tommy Lasorda is the greatest manager the Dodgers ever had. Thanks for sharing your story Aaron. You can check out his web page here, and please follow him on Twitter. We now return you to our regularly scheduled trainwrecked season.