Penelope Spheeris heard that Tommy Lasorda was 93 when he died on Thursday. She knew that many people would be moved by this unfortunate news, especially in Los Angeles. The city has long been her hometown and where Lasorda became a baseball icon, leading the Dodgers to two World Series titles during his Hall of Fame career.
But Spheeris’ thoughts quickly turned to other people in the Lasorda family she knew and missed: his son Tommy Jr., known as Spunky, was gay and died of complications from AIDS in 1991 at the age of 33. she cried.
She said in a telephone interview on Saturday: “I always think that the old man has a son who is gay, very beautiful, and Tommy is everything. This should be more public.”
Tommy Lasorda Sr. (Tommy Lasorda Sr.)’s long life in public view has many memorable things: his excessive character, humor’s humor, successful leadership team, his career, philanthropy, and The love of the Dodgers. In recent days, others have also been discussing and understanding another part of Lasorda’s story-his relationship with his son-and his views on society and baseball culture at the time.
“My son is not gay,” Lasorda told Peter Richmond, who wrote about the complex relationship between the two for GQ magazine in 1992 and published some articles about his son Public comments.
“No way,” he continued, with some vulgar words. “No way. I’ve read a paper. I also read in that paper that a woman also gave birth to a monkey. That’s not true.”
Lasorda is also angry at the report that his son is an AIDS patient. He told Richmond: “I don’t care who… I know what my son died of. I know what he died of. The doctor reported how he died. He died of pneumonia.”
The publication’s former news editor Karen Ocamb claimed in a recent commentary for “Los Angeles Blades” that LaSorda had admitted that his son was gay at a charity event and died of AIDS. Lasorda’s family did not respond to the New York Times’ request for comment.
Spheeris, now 75, was happy that more people were talking about Tommy Jr. because the topic was quieter. She said that Tommy Jr. also didn’t want others to talk about his sexuality because he wanted to protect his father’s wishes. She felt sad, but said that little Tommy was not dissatisfied with his father for this.
Director Spheeris has filmed movies such as “Wayne’s World” and “Suburbs”, and met little Tommy in Los Angeles in the 1980s. They met at a punk rock club.
She said: “The moment I saw him for the first time, I really knew: He was sitting on the sofa alone. Everyone inside was like punk, dressed in black, but he was wearing a white suit.” I know it sounds strange, but there is a little light around him.”
They became good friends, hanging out in his apartment in West Hollywood or nearby clubs. She called him a sweet, gentle, caring person with an impeccable style. She said that one of the reasons for being so close to her was that her own brother was a gay man. He was killed by a drunk driver in 1984. Many of his friends died from complications of AIDS because the level of medical care is not as high as it is now.
Spheeris said little Tommy and his father love each other. Tommy Jr. is very happy to see his father eating or meeting at Dodger Stadium. He will sit in the canoe before the game.
She smiled and said, “He told me that he likes to walk because he can flirt with these guys.” “But he absolutely can’t tell his father that.”
She later added: “I don’t want to be angry with Tommy Lasorda Sr. I don’t want to be angry with people who have just passed away and everyone loved. What I would be angry with is the culture that allows this kind of thinking. That’s what I don’t like. Can you imagine? This kind of struggle between the two of them is trying to balance and maintain a high level. In such an environment to have a gay son, people just have no tolerance for homosexuals, and inheritance and career On the right track.”
Young father Tommy Jr. became friends with the team’s outfielder Glenn Burke when his father was the manager of the Dodgers, which made Burke’s relationship with his boss even more tense. Burke is the first player in Major League Baseball history to show his teammates during his career. He made a public appearance in 1982.
At the time, the general manager of the Dodgers Al Campanis (Al Campanis) offered Burke a bonus after his marriage-he later said it was not a bribe, but because the Dodgers encouraged their family to be stable and mature. (In 1987, Campanis was fired for his racist remarks against blacks in a television interview.) Burke rejected the offer.
In May 1978, Burke was traded to the Oakland Athletics, which was not popular among the Dodgers club. Two of Burke’s teammates, Davey Lopes and Dusty Baker, later stated that Burke was traded for being gay. In the 2010 documentary “Out: The Glenn Burke Story”, his former track teammate Claudell Washington said that manager Billy Martin introduced homosexuality to his new team.
Since then, some players, referees and officials have appeared. The most outstanding person is: Billy Bean, he became the first inclusive ambassador of Major League Baseball after playing for a few days. Nevertheless, in recent years, several players such as Kevin Pillar and Yunel Escobar, as well as broadcaster Thom Brennaman, have had to help them Use homophobic speech to apologize.
But former Major League Baseball referee Dave Pallone (Dave Pallone) said that since the time of LaSorda, the culture of baseball has developed. He said he was fired in 1988 for being gay. Soon thereafter, he appeared in public and wrote a book called “Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball.” He said that as more and more people showed up in public, the attitude of the sport began to slowly change.
“Hope this will help promote the trend, maybe baseball culture will get better,” Palon said. “As young people participate in games and young people participate in management, games will develop in a direction that is open to the LGBTQ community. For parents who participate in games, it will not be so difficult to accept their sons and daughters in baseball.”
Pallone, 69, said in a telephone interview Friday night (Lasorda died of cardiopulmonary arrest). Pallone considers Lasorda a friend and expresses condolences for his loss. During and after the field game, he always missed their time together. Lasorda once participated in Pallone’s radio show and told him that he should never lose his job as a referee.
Pallone said that he never talked to Lasorda about his birth in 1990. After Tommy Jr. died, he never talked to Lasorda about his son. Pallone, who had seen Tommy Jr. in the game, felt that this was not the place where he lectured.
“There is no doubt that he has encountered difficulties in this regard,” Paloni said of LaSorda. “But on the other side of that coin, Tommy is very generous outside the baseball field. We have differences on the pitch, but he is also fair. He is very generous on the court. If he can help you solve your problems, he will do That’s it. So you try to view the whole picture, especially when I was a closed gay. Even if I know what happened inside, I want to try it like now and observe the whole person.”
Pallone said that although Lasorda’s public comments on his son were shocking, he attributed Lasorda’s attitude to masculine culture, generations, and Catholic background “and he is Italian, just like my father is Italian.” He added: “If you are not used to your son’s sexual orientation, it is difficult to accept.”
When Tommy died, Lasorda, his wife and their daughter were by his side, a family spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times at the time. Lasorda was absent for three days. Later he told GQ that he cried a lot for his son’s death, but never cried in the team.
“I have owned him for 33 years,” Lasorda told the magazine. “Thirty-three years is better than nothing, isn’t it? If I can see God, God says to me: “I will give you a son for 33 years, and then take him away after 33 years. “I would say, “Give him to me.” “
Pallone said he believes Lasorda will transfer his grief to his charity work, which is usually aimed at helping young people. In 1997, Lasorda and his wife donated $500,000 through the Thomas Lasorda Jr. Memorial Foundation to maintain a public gymnasium location in Yorba Linda, California, not far from where they live. The facility was renamed Thomas Lasorda Field House.
Pallone became a motivational speaker and gave a speech on diversity to companies, schools and teams. He said that he mentioned LaSorda’s story in his speech.
“The story is that you didn’t close the door of your family,” Pallone said. “In the meantime, you just can’t close the door because you never know how it will hurt you. This is how Tommy is.”