Tommy Lasorda named Global Ambassador for 2009 World Baseball Classic
In his capacity as Global Ambassador for the World Baseball Classic, Lasorda will serve as a spokesman to increase awareness of the tournament and will travel to host cities in an effort to help promote the event and growth of the game of baseball internationally. Lasorda, who enters his 60th season in the Dodgers organization in 2009, has worked tirelessly over his career to promote the game of baseball internationally, and is regarded by many as baseball's most popular ambassador, also having served as an ambassador during the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
"Tommy Lasorda is the ideal individual to be given the honor of Global Ambassador for the World Baseball Classic," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Tommy has played a key role in the globalization of baseball throughout his career, promoting the game in 22 countries as well as playing or managing in 14 of the 16 participating countries. His presence will provide tremendous support for the tournament and I am delighted that he will once again be a part of it."
"Tommy Lasorda is known around the world as a great representative of the game and his enthusiasm and passion will serve him well as spokesman for the World Baseball Classic," said Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director, Donald M. Fehr.
Lasorda pitched in the Major Leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1954-55) and the Kansas City Athletics (1956) before going on to a decorated career in the Dodgers organization. He managed Los Angeles to two World Championships (1981 and 1988) and eight division titles from 1976-1996. After being elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997, he led Team USA to its first Gold Medal in Olympic play in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. He is entering his fourth season with the Dodgers in his role as Special Advisor to the Chairman.
In 2002, Tommy threw out the first pitch in the very first World Series of the China Baseball League in Beijing. Lasorda, who pitched in Montreal for eight seasons before pitching in the Majors with Brooklyn, was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. Just last week, Tommy was honored in Los Angeles by the Emperor of Japan and was given the 'Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette' for his efforts in the development of Japanese baseball and his work to build a bridge between American and Japanese baseball for parts of five decades, while spreading goodwill through the respective country's love of the game.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.
About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 486 players (235 of them from MLB organizations) representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games (16 of which sold out) and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. The inaugural tournament was broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played from March 5 - 23 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.