How former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda introduced the manager of the San Francisco Giants.

Tommy Lasorda

Dodgers advisor Tommy Lasorda needed divine intervention to introduce San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Tommy Lasorda was in rare form Saturday night. He publicly introduced a member of the San Francisco Giants.

Lasorda has spent 64 seasons in the Dodgers organization in some capacity or another — pitcher, manager, general manager and advisor, his current title. “If you don’t root for the Dodgers, you might not get into heaven,” is among his oft-repeated quotes. He’s embraced — even embodied — half of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry for his public persona. Lasorda has some oft-repeated quotes about the Giants too, but this is a family blog.

So it was interesting to see Lasorda on Saturday night at the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner in Beverly Hills, introducing the latest recipient of the award named in his honor: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

“It’s very unusual,” Lasorda said. “When I said my prayers last night, first of all I asked God for forgiveness. I said: Dear Lord, I’m going to have to give a trophy to a Giant. The good Lord said, ‘Tommy, the guy you’re going to honor is great. Outstanding manager. A manager that has been so successful, well-liked, nice, easy-going guy. For me to allow him to receive the Tommy Lasorda award, you know there’s something wrong in his dinner tonight.’

Lasorda continued: “It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce the man who has led the Giants to two World Series in the last five years. Ladies and gentleman, my good friend” — the 86-year-old paused, pointing toward heaven and sending the packed room into laughter in one motion — “Mr. Bochy.”

If Lasorda hadn’t totally brought down the crowd, Bochy knocked ‘em over with the last word.

Turning toward Lasorda, Bochy said, “you were my great-great-great grandmother’s favorite manager, you know.”

Tommy Lasorda fact-checks TBS’ Craig Sager on live television.

Tommy Lasorda

Tommy Lasorda spoke to Craig Sager during TBS’ broadcast of Game 3 of the NLDS on Sunday.

For all the flash that Craig Sager loves to bring in the wardrobe department to a TBS telecast, he leaves something to be desired when it comes to flashy fact checking.

During Friday’s Game 2 in Atlanta, he interviewed former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and asked him about his 53 years as part of the organization.

“Sixty three,” Lasorda growled at him to correct the mistake.

After Sunday’s Game 3, Sager interviewed the Dodgers’ Carl Crawford and asked him about his “two-run homer in the second inning that gave them a lead they kept building on and building on.”

Crawford actually hit a three-run homer in the second to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. In the top of the third, the Braves tied the game at 4-4.

–reporting by colleague Tom Hoffarth

Daily Distractions: When baseball imitates reality television (accidentally or otherwise).

Kenley Jansen

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen jumps into the Chase Field pool after Thursday’s win. (Associated Press photo)

Sports is the original reality television. Nothing like a little drama to spice it up, right?

Forget “Poolgate.” Call the controversy over the Dodgers’ postgame celebration “The Real World: Phoenix” (and hope MTV doesn’t keep a copyright attorney on retainer).

Apparently, prior to the series, the Arizona Diamondbacks asked the Dodgers to confine their clinching celebration to the visitors’ clubhouse. They even stationed some security guards on the field Thursday to make sure the Dodgers didn’t do anything crazy:

As it always does, human nature set in. When someone is ordered not to do something, he finds his best way around it. Ever pull into the carpool lane while stuck in traffic and driving alone? Ever sneak a peak at your phone at a red light, look for a cop, then quickly put the phone away? (There was a case of crude rebellion on Project Runway last night. Ah, reality TV — the reality is, I was ironing before you got into the room!)

The Dodgers ran across the field and into the pool.

The incident has spawned some lengthy prose about celebrations and their place in baseball.

Even Arizona senator John McCain chimed in today:

Again, this wasn’t about a celebration.

Hall, now the Diamondbacks’ president, is the Dodgers’ former director of public relations. He may have discretely asked the Dodgers not to go back onto the field to celebrate, but then how did Scully find out and mention this on the broadcast? That got the fans involved, too. Pretty brilliant way to incite a rivalry, accidentally or otherwise.

Seeing the drama go viral, it’s not hard to imagine Hall sipping on some champagne himself this morning.

Some bullet points to get you through the weekend:
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Daily Distractions: To Hanley, or not to Hanley?

Hanley Ramirez

The Dodgers are 35-37 this season when Hanley Ramirez isn’t in the starting lineup. (Associated Press)

At some point this month, maybe tomorrow if the Dodgers have clinched a playoff berth by then, Don Mattingly will be asked how he balanced winning September games with keeping injured players intact for October. The answer was not obvious when the sun rose and it wasn’t any clearer when Hanley Ramirez was listed third in the batting order for today’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mattingly told reporters in Phoenix on Wednesday that Ramirez likely would be out of the lineup today. Ramirez isn’t fully recovered from the irritated nerve that led him to receive a pair of cortisone injections over the weekend, and watching him run the bases has been painful at times. It’s abundantly clear he isn’t healthy.

Yet playing Ramirez can’t be a simple matter of keeping him fresh; he’s 6 for 15 with four runs scored and an RBI on four or more days’ rest this season. Dee Gordon is healthy, so far as we know. So are Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston Jr., who’s been taking ground balls at shortstop recently.

Here’s a better stat: The Dodgers are 52-28 with Ramirez starting, but 35-37 without him. Simply put, they are an average team without Ramirez in the lineup.

Run him into the ground, and Ramirez won’t be in the lineup at all in October.

Don’t play him at all in September and there might not be an October — at least, it’s felt that way at times recently.

At some point, we’ll find out how the thinking goes in the manager’s office.

Here be some bullet points for a National Speak Like a Pirate Day:
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Daily Distractions: Hanley Ramirez announces another rehab assignment on Twitter.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez will be in a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes uniform again Thursday (Photo courtesy of MILB.com)

To be fair, Hanley Ramirez warned us.

“I think it’s soon. I’m going to tweet it for my fans,” Ramirez said five days ago, asked when and where his rehabilitation assignment would begin.

“You can just tell us,” I replied.

“No,” he said.

So here was the “official” word Wednesday morning:

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes play the Bakersfield Blaze Thursday through Sunday before returning home Monday.

Ramirez has played four major-league games since Opening Day, the last coming May 3. His assignment with the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate is good news, however it’s delivered, and it means Ramirez could be back with the Dodgers next week if his hamstring holds up.

Some bullet points for a Nigerian Democracy Day:

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Daily Distractions: Caving to the #whiff, like the rest of MLB

There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Krusty the Clown agreed to give away a free Krusty Burger if the United States won gold at certain events in the 1984 Olympics. When the Soviet Union boycotted the Games, Krusty stood to lose $44 million.

For some reason I was reminded of this episode when this came through my Twitter feed this morning:

CJ Wilson ad

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson is a pitchman for Head & Shoulders’ hashtag-friendly “Season of the Whiff”.

You see, Procter & Gamble is donating $1 to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) campaign every time a Major League Baseball player strikes out this season. To raise awareness of its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand, P&G is encouraging fans to tweet the hashtag #whiff along with the hashtag of your favorite team.

According to AdAge.com, Head & Shoulders spent $60 million in measured media last year, so MLB’s record strikeout rate probably won’t leave the company’s executives pulling their hair out like Krusty. Which is good, since bald shampoo executives can’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of their product.

I’ll be here all week.
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Tom Wright, a 54-year-old knuckleballer, is trying to make the Dodgers.

Tom Wright

I spent Thursday afternoon talking up two open-tryout participants on the back field at Camelback Ranch. One was disabled Navy veteran Doc Jacobs, whose story will appear in tomorrow’s editions. The other was Tom Wright, a 54-year-old high school teacher from Hawaii (via Livermore, California), whose story appears below.

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Daily Distractions: Three things about Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu; Pads and PEDs; a Trevor Bauer/Chan Ho Park rap battle?

Hyun-Jin Ryu Sandy Koufax

Hyun-Jin Ryu got the star turn in the media today. I likened him to a circus performer, the way he’s calmly and confidently performing these acts of non-pitching prowess under pressure. Here are three things about Ryu that I didn’t include in my story for today’s papers:

1. He’s really broken up about not pitching for South Korea in the World Baseball Classic. “One thousand percent — I really wanted to play in the WBC. But I felt obligated to the L.A. Dodgers,” Ryu said through an interpreter.

2. Ryu might have let Don Mattingly beat him at ping pong. “In their country it’s not polite to beat the manager, and he wanted me to tell him that,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “He couldn’t tell him but I could tell him.”

3. What did Sandy Koufax tell Ryu to do differently with the curveball? “Deeper into my hand,” Ryu said. “Instead of pushing with my thumb, deeper so then I can let the ball come out” over the index finger.

Here’s some of the buzz in spring training today:
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Fernando Valenzuela will be inducted into Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday.

Fernando Valenzuela

Fernando Valenzuela will be inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame — el Pabellón de la Fama del Caribe — on Sunday in Hermosillo, Mexico, at Universidad Sonora, Centro de Los Artes.

The current Dodgers broadcaster and retired pitcher was born about 200 miles south of Hermosillo, then began his career in Sonora playing for Mayos de Navojoa in the Mexican Pacific League at age 16. He also played for Naranjeros de Hermosillo and Águilas de Mexicali in the LMP and played in the Caribbean Series. Valenzuela’s induction will recognize his career in the LMP and in Major League Baseball.

The 52-year-old is scheduled to travel to Hermosillo Friday to partake in the opening ceremonies of Estadio Sonora, the brand-new stadium that will host the Caribbean Series. Valenzuela will throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 7 p.m. game between Yaquis de Obregón and Criollos de Caguas.

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Daily Distractions: Gearing up for the season; prospect rankings, more minor-league signings.

Are we there yet?

We’re getting close.

The Dodgers’ community caravan marks its final day today with stops at Santee Educational Complex (1921 South Maple Ave., Los Angeles), Inner-City Arts (720 Kohler St., Los Angeles), Tobinworld (902 East Broadway, Glendale), and the Dodgers Dreamfield at LA Boys and Girls Club (2635 Pasadena Avenue, Los Angeles).

The various events are scheduled to include third baseman Luis Cruz and wife Maria, AJ Ellis and wife Cindy, Mark Ellis, Andre Ethier and wife Maggie, Tim Federowicz, Adrian Gonzalez, Javy Guerra, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and wife Ellen, Brandon League and wife Sasha, Don Mattingly and wife Lori, Nick Punto, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Skip Schumaker and Shawn Tolleson and wife Lynley.

Participants in the community caravan will try to avoid contracting dysentery (if you understand the above photo, this joke will make perfect sense).

Today’s also the final day for season ticket holders to visit Dodger Stadium for Select-A-Seat. Individual game tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m., coinciding with the FanFest in Lot 6 from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and will feature appearances and autographs with Kershaw, Ethier, Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp. FanFest gates open at 11 a.m. for the general public and at 10:30 a.m. for Dodger season ticket holders with their MVP cards.

If it feels like the season is just around the corner, it is. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 12.

In the meantime, here are some links to carry you into the weekend:

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