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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Lasorda: If I'm a Hindrance, I'll Retire

August 05, 1995|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said Friday night that he'll retire if he ever believes that he's a hindrance to the team's performance.

"I hope and pray the day will never come that I ever hold back my team from winning," Lasorda said. "If I ever didn't think I could get them ready, get them motivated or start making bad decisions, I'd say it's time to retire. I would never stand in the way."

He has been criticized recently much more frequently than at any time in his career, Lasorda said. He has been particularly incensed by recent columns and reporters in newspapers outside Southern California, the latest in Friday's edition of the San Francisco Examiner.

Giant bullpen coach Bob Brenley was quoted as saying, "Tommy's got his act. He's got his thing he does with the bleeding Dodger blue, hugging the players and the big Dodger in the sky. That's all his shtick. It plays good to the fans. And it plays good to the media.

"But the people who have been on the field, we've seen another side of Tommy that isn't quite so lovable and kind. And that side is not quite as attractive as the other Lasorda."

Said Lasorda: "I don't understand it. I don't bother anybody. I don't criticize anybody. I don' criticize other teams. Everybody says I'm the best ambassador of baseball. People say I should be the next commissioner of baseball.

"You tell me, who promotes the game of baseball better than me?

"I tell you, it hurts. I'm sensitive. And my feelings are hurt right now."

*

Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese pitcher to play in the major leagues, 31 years ago, was upset with Dodger pitcher Hideo Nomo when Nomo refused to talk with him.

"He's mad at me and I don't know why," said Murakami, who will be honored by the San Francisco Giants tonight. "I try to talk to him, but he says he's too busy for me."

Nomo says he's upset with Murakami for statements in a Japanese magazine and on broadcasts criticizing Nomo for his demeanor and shoulder injury.

"I'm not going to let it bother me," said Murakami, who proudly proclaims that one of his two major league hits is off Sandy Koufax. "I'm proud of Nomo. In fact, I told Mr. [Peter] O'Malley this spring to please start Nomo on Aug. 5.

"I'm glad he's doing well. He's so popular now. When I played over here, there was maybe only one reporter. The Japanese people talked only about Japanese baseball. They didn't care about what happened over here.

"Believe me, that has changed."

*

Lasorda received strange looks from the Giants when he received a police escort onto the field, but he said it has become customary on the road.

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