|SEATTLE -- Someone did get hit with the shattered barrel of
a bat during the All-Star Game.
Tommy Lasorda, usually in the center of things, got thwacked on
the left hip by Vladimir Guerrero's bat barrel, tumbling back as
fans gasped and then laughed when they realized he was OK.
"I've coached third base many, many years and never been hit,"
Lasorda said after the National League's 4-1 loss Tuesday night.
"I never saw the bat coming at me. If I had seen that bat coming
at me, I would have had all the time in the world to get away from
it. I saw the ball go down the right-field line. I was following
Lasorda, the NL's honorary manager, was in the third-base
coach's box in the sixth inning when Guerrero's bat splintered
apart on Mike Stanton's pitch. Lasorda tumbled backward, heels over
head, then quickly got up.
"I'm not quite as agile as I used to be," he said. "I'll be
74 in a couple months."
When it was clear the Hall of Fame manager was unhurt, Barry
Bonds ran out of the NL dugout and tried to put a chest protector
Lasorda's close call brought back memories of Game 2 of last
year's World Series, when Roger Clemens threw the jagged barrel of
Mike Piazza's broken bat in front of the Mets catcher's path.
Earlier Tuesday night, when Piazza faced the Yankees' starter for
the first time since that game, nothing dramatic happened.
"I just thank God he's not hurt," said Piazza, who is very
good friends with Lasorda from his days with the Dodgers. "I'm
just happy we can laugh. For about five seconds, I was really
When Yankees coach Don Zimmer saw Lasorda get hit by the bat,
the AL coach laughed, then lowered his head below the protective
screen that rises from the top step of the dugout.
Two years ago, Zimmer's ear and left jaw were cut by Chuck
Knoblauch's foul ball against Texas in the AL playoffs, and Zimmer
sat in the dugout the next day wearing a military helmet with the
"Why the hell didn't he get out there?" Lasorda said,
Fans roared at Safeco Field when Lasorda's tumble was replayed
on the scoreboard in the eighth inning. NL manager Bobby Valentine
of the New York Mets invited Lasorda to the All-Star game and sent
him out to coach third.
"Tommy was my first manager in baseball," Valentine said. "We
never were in a major league dugout before, this is the first
opportunity and it's been a blessed event."
Lasorda was 1,599-1,439 as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers
from late 1976 to mid-1996, winning four NL pennants and the World
Series in 1981 and 1988. He managed the United States to the gold
medal in last year's Sydney Olympics, the first with professional
He was 3-1 in All-Star games, winning his first three. There was
one thing about Tuesday's experience that ticked him off.
"I wish," he said, "we would have won the game."
|National League third base coach Tommy Lasorda falls to the ground after being hit by a broken bat. Only Lasorda's pride was injured.|