Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Reason Why...The Dodgers Suck

If you know me at all, you know I am a fan of the San Francisco Giants. You also know that I freaking hate the Dodgers. I mean real, visceral hate. I’m talking about the kind of hate that makes it hard to associate with those who are fans of the Dodgers.

An example; on my first date with my wife I asked her, “You aren’t a Dodger fan are you?”, I continued, “I can handle dating a Democrat….but not a Dodger fan.” Thankfully, she isn’t a Dodger fan, we are now blissfully married, and I am learning to deal with her voting record.

I am able to respect and enjoy the company of fans of any other baseball team. One of my best friends is a lifelong Phillies fan, and while we enjoy a bit of good-natured jousting when our respective teams play one another, at the end of the day there is one thing we can agree on - The Dodgers Suck.

The Dodgers suck for a lot of reasons…too many to catalog actually. But here is one of the biggest reasons.

Tommy Lasorda

 I used to view Lasorda as sort of a likeable villain; As a sort of bad guy who you kinda dig because of some goofy charm, the Tony Soprano of baseball maybe. But then I saw “Out, The Glenn Burke Story” on Comcast Sports earlier this year. If you haven’t seen it, find it on some Bit Torrent or see if a friend has it on their TiVo.

 Here’s the jist of it though:

Glenn Burke was a young, African-American baseball player from Oakland, CA. Burke was an athletic freak of nature as a young man, arguably one of the best young East Bay athletes of his generation. Burke was a phenomenal basketball player, earning the Nor-Cal HS Player of the Year in 1970 but soon realized that his height was a potential detriment to any long term success in hoops so he gravitated toward the Baseball Diamond.

Burke quickly earned the attention of professional scouts and was scooped up by the Dodgers minor league organization. He tore through the Minors and was promoted to the Major Leagues in 1976. Burke started in Center Field for the Dodgers in Game #1 of the 1977 World Series. Storybook stuff right?

 The thing was that Glenn Burke was gay and he didn’t care who knew about it.


His fellow players including Davey Lopes, Dusty Baker, Manny Mota and many others knew but didn’t care. Dodgers management however took a less enlightened view of it. In fact, at one point the Dodgers offered Burke a substantial sum of money (over $50k according to Burke’s autobiography) to get married…to a woman…as a means of hiding his sexuality from the Baseball Press and Public. Burke refused.


Burke developed a friendship with Lasorda’s son, Tommy “Spunky” Lasorda Jr. The junior Lasorda was also gay and eventually was all but disowned by his father and died of Pneumonia believed to be complications related to HIV. Lasorda to this day denies the sexuality of his son. The friendship between Burke and Lasorda Jr. was apparently the last straw for Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers and Lasorda saw to it that Burke was dealt to the Oakland Athletics early in the 1978 season.  


 In 1978 the Oakland Athletics were all but a laughing stock. Their mid 1970’s glory years were in the rear-view after owner Charlie Finely’s fire sales and the beginning of free-agency stripped the A’s of most of their talent. Burke was a brilliant athletic talent added to a miserable team in a barely maintained stadium during a “rebuilding” era. Burke did however find some solace in his ability to easily access San Francisco’s Castro District where he was able to integrate well into the gay community. In the 1979-1980 off season Finley hired the mercurial Billy Martin as manager. Martin held a view of Burke’s sexuality similar to Lasorda’s and introduced the season’s new players to Burke by saying, “This is Glenn Burke, and by the way, he’s a FAGGOT.”

Burke struggled for playing time under Martin and was eventually exiled away in the Athletics Minor League system…in of all places…Salt Lake City, Utah.

Burke would never again play in the Majors, leaving baseball entirely in 1980.

Burke publicly outed himself in a 1982 interview by Inside Sports. Burke spiraled into addiction to various drugs, became a victim of HIV and was eventually living on the streets of San Francisco by the early 1990’s. Burke died of complications related to HIV in 1995.

Burke’s death is by no means the fault of the Dodgers or Tommy Lasorda, but the theft of the man’s potential, the exile of a man from his profession and the pure unabashed evil directed at him and the example made of him within the realm of professional sport is absolutely on the head of Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers Organization.

There’s not been an active professional athlete in any major sport who has publicly come out since.

Not one.

One can’t help but wonder if a measure of acceptance on the part of the Dodgers might have changed that.  

                                 "Glenn was comfortable with who he was. 
                             Baseball was not comfortable with who he was"

                  ~Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Childhood Friend and Sports Agent

In 1947 the Dodgers changed the face of Baseball (literally) by breaking the color barrier in the signing of Jackie Robinson. They could have done something similar in breaking the sexuality barrier, but consciously chose not to. This is one of many reasons why…

The Dodgers Suck!


  1. It's great that these previously untold stories now have a voice. For me that is reason #1,000,001 why the Dodgers suck.

  2. Just commenting not long ago with another tweeter about this very subject. Nice job shedding light on a story that not many people know about and real old school Dodger fans choose to ignore and place this peace of crap on a pedestal

  3. What a sad story. I find LaSorda's actions to be very offensive.

  4. So few even remember, much less even heard of Glenn Burkes. I remember him well, and he was as you say a truly gifted and talented dude.

    Lasorda gives people of faith a horrible name. Caught a clip of him some years ago on ESPN bombasting in the Crystal Cathedral about some pious fake platitude of his. Was stomach turning all the way down to the lower colon. He is the ultimate poster-child for hypocrisy, weasel-like selfishness, homophobia, vanity and arrogance, in addition to being a long time customer of Heidi Fleiss

    And to this day, mainstream sports media try and marginalize his accomplishments and trivialize his tribulations as self-inflicted. But then again, Sports media and their lemmings in the blogosphere will not countenance their porcelain fairy tales being shattered by the existence of the real world in the world of professional baseball.

  5. Fuck you the Dodgers rule the giants eat donkey cock!!!

    1. Your mama fucked a donkey and produced you. Eat shit motherfucker.

  6. Great story. That guy ^Anonymous certainly gets around.

    1. Seems to pop up often when someone says something they wouldn't want attributed to their name. I usually take down vulgar comments, but that one says much about many in very few words.

  7. LA sucks and swallows!