Lasorda will head US Olympic team

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The Independent Online

Tommy Lasorda, the Hall of Fame manager who guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to four NL pennants and two World Series titles, has been named manager of the United States' Olympic baseball team.

"I've have managed World Series champions and other great teams, but this means more because this time I'll do so on behalf of my country," said the 72-year-old Lasorda.

"I think it will cap what I've done all these years."

He was expected to get the Olympic post, and the formal announcement was made at an afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium.

"Tommy Lasorda is one of the most accomplished managers in baseball history and we are very fortunate to have him managing the 2000 Olympic baseball team," Bob Watson, co-chairman of the US Olympic baseball committee, said in a statement.

"Tommy is a great motivator, a great teacher and a great leader. His managerial skills and enthusiasm for the game will be a tremendous asset to Team USA."

Speaking at a podium set up on the field near the Dodgers dugout, Lasorda obviously was touched by his selection.

"I've stood here in front of this dugout many, many times listening to the national anthem and seeing the American flag up there and I was always saying at that time, 'Thank God I was born in the greatest country in the world,"' Lasorda said.

The US Olympic baseball committee will pick a squad of 24 players for the Games on Sept. 17-27 in Australia. The team will be announced in August.