The Los Angeles Dodgers recently celebrated their seventh consecutive National League West division championship, becoming the first team in baseball to clinch this season. Their 97-54 record is the best in the NL and among the top in all of baseball.
While the team has a larger goal in mind, the Dodgers brought out the champagne and beer to celebrate their accomplishment after a win over the Baltimore Orioles during last week’s recent road trip.
Among those on hand was the beloved Tommy Lasorda, who managed the team from 1976-96 and won two World Series championships in 1981 and 1988. That 1988 title was the last for the Dodgers as they have been defeated in the Fall Classic each of the last two years.
Lasorda believes this is the year the team finally breaks through though as he shared high praise for what Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has done building the organization into a perennial powerhouse, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“This man works hours and hours that they don’t even know about. He wanted to put (together) a winner, and he got a winner. By next year he’ll have everything. We’re winning the World Series. He’s put a lot of heart in this organization. I’ve been in this organization many years, and to see him and the way he develops players and meshes with the players, it’s a credit to him.”
The impact Friedman has made on the Dodgers organization since coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014 is unquestioned. Not only has the team won the NL West every season during his tenure, but they also have maintained a top-10 farm system, consistently churning out talented young players year after year.
Even as pressure has continued to mount on Friedman to end the franchise’s World Series drought, he’s approached potential signings and trades in a calm fashion and left the Dodgers in position to contend each year.
One other thing that can’t be questioned is Lasorda’s dedication to the Dodgers organization after he started out as a player for them in Brooklyn in 1954. He is consistently present at games at Dodger Stadium sitting in the owner’s box, and even traveled to Baltimore just to celebrate a division title that has been expected since June.
The 91-year-old just wants to see the Dodgers win the World Series, and the 2019 team may be their best opportunity since 1988 when he led a bunch of underdogs to a championship.