Tommy Lasorda and Reggie Jackson shared some awkward and downright hostile moments tonight on the Fox game of the week while appearing in the broadcast booth with Tim McCarver and Joe Buck.
Lasorda was the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977, 1978 and 1981 World Series when they faced the New York Yankees. Jackson was the star of the 1977 World Series when he hit three consecutive home runs in the deciding Game 6 that the Yankees won. In the 1978 World Series, when they met for a rematch, Jackson was involved in a now infamous controversial call when he appeared to stick his hip out and deflect a thrown ball from the shortstop, deflecting it into right field and allowing Lou Piniella to reach first.
In a scene that has been shown countless times since, Lasorda sprinted from the dugout to argue that it should have been ruled interference. The Yankees won again in 1978. In 1981, the two met again and the Dodgers finally got their revenge as they won in six games.
Jackson and Lasorda were really the faces of their respective franchises then; to see them both older and greyer today in the broadcast booth as part of the fifth inning presentation promised to be fun. It turned into something more as Lasorda seemed to harbor anger and resentment over events from thirty years ago.
Lasorda opened the hostilities when talking about the disputed play in 1978, saying, “He should have been decked”. Later, he said, “You stuck your backside into the baseball, Reggie, tell the truth.”
Jackson seemed to want to lighten the moment up and said that he prior to the game, needed a couple of field passes which were sold out. He called Lasorda’s number to see if he could get him some and got his voicemail. On his outgoing message, Lasorda said “if you’re not a Dodgers fan, you cannot get into heaven”. Reggie joked about the fact that the Yankees have 27 World Series championships and said he didn’t even know what the Dodgers had. Lasorda then said something that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Apparently referring to the heaven quote, he said to Jackson “Reggie, you’re getting in for lying”.
Buck at one point mentioned Jackson’s three home runs in the 1977 World Series; to which Lasorda said, “A blind pig will always find an acorn”. Well.
Lasorda, who barely pitched in the Major Leagues said he wished he had had the opportunity to pitch to Jackson. He said he would first “put him on his back”, and then that Jackson could never hit his curveball.
Lasorda said Jackson, who attempted several times to lighten the exchange with humor, was “about as funny as a bloody nose”.
Buck seemed at times to be surprised by the exchange, which was clearly awkward. McCarver claimed that he wasn’t surprised, but both seemed to be trying to downplay it and get Lasorda to say that he was at least mostly joking. Lasorda wouldn’t. At the end, Jackson hugged Lasorda, who smiled, but it was clear that the bad blood, and perhaps advancing age on the part of Lasorda, was causing an uncomfortable pairing in the booth.
Source, Scott Boeck, Bob Nightengale, “Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson thanks the Dodgers for his nickname”, usatoday.com