New York, NY — Despite the blizzard that’s descended upon New York and much of the Northeast, many members of the MLB community gathered today at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel to support the 2014 “Going to Bat for B.A.T.” dinner to raise money for MLB’s Baseball Assistance Team initiative. Before the organization’s 25th annual fundraiser to support its financial assistance to members of the baseball family, media had a chance to meet with players, former players and managers in attendance for the event. Not surprisingly, the issue of Alex Rodriguez’s record 162-game suspension came up. And former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda — never shy about expressing his opinions — had a few things to say about A-Rod, steroids and cheating in the game.
Cue the circus music. And away we go.
On Alex Rodriguez’s record 162-game suspension:
“He should have got more. What he’s done — he’s trying to ruin the game. You can’t do that. He’s got his suspension. He should just sit back and fill it out.”
On his changing perception of A-Rod:
“I had always had great admiration for him. I knew him before he even graduated high school. And when he was hitting those home runs and I thought, ‘At least this guy’s doing it legitimately’ and then of course we find out he wasn’t. I just think it’s bad.”
On whether A-Rod’s situation has impacted Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame chances:
“I don’t think that’s with A-Rod. I don’t believe they’re voting on Piazza like voting for A-Rod.
This one word that’s beginning to be big in the voting and that word is suspicious. People get suspicious and that’s it. They don’t know for sure and they’re voting on suspicion.
I don’t know how you fix it. The only thing they’ve got to go on is what they feel, what they hear, what they see.”
On players getting away with cheating:
“For somebody that’s gotten by, it’s like a guy robbing a bank and walking down the street and nobody bothered him. I don’t know about that.”
On getting MLB back to a level playing field:
“I’m disappointed in this game of ours which is great that somebody has to do things to cheat. That’s not right. How about those pitchers that they hit all those home runs off of, nobody thinks about them. So consequently we’ve got to have this game where everybody’s on the same level. We need that.”
On players associated with PEDs in the Hall of Fame:
“I’m telling you I don’t like cheaters. They don’t belong in the game. How about this guy you’re cheating up there and this guy that’s pitching against you isn’t cheating. Do you think that’s right? That’s what I’m talking about. They’re cheaters. Just like people talk about in the Hall of Fame. If you’re not clean and you’re not doing the right thing you don’t represent — that’s a tremendous gift to you to be able to be put in the Baseball Hall of Fame. To be put in there you’ve got to represent that for the rest of your life as a Hall of Famer. And when somebody breaks the rules they don’t belong in there. Would you have your son get A-Rod’s autograph? Would you like to have that?”
On amphetamine use compared with steroid/PED use today:
“Amphetamines? What did amphetamines do? This is a different type. Even my wife said to me, ‘They have to hit the ball.’ I said sure they hit the ball but those balls that were caught on the warning tracks are now in the seats and that’s the thing that makes the difference. That’s what it is. If I’m pitching and I know that guy up there is using that stuff, I’ll hit him right in the mouth. I’ll say you want to take another shot of it.”
On cleaning up the game:
“Why should they be allowed to do what’s not allowed? It’s not right. We’ve got to get this baseball game to where the fans can understand everything on the same level. Each game has the same opportunities. That’s the way it should be. That’s the way it used to be. We never heard of steroids. Half the guys couldn’t even spell it. So there it is. We gotta keep this game of ours clean and just where we don’t have no problems and that seems like that’s what we’re having — we’re having problems. We’ve got to do something about it. We’ve got to clean it up and make sure everybody’s got the same chance.”