Hall of Famer to speak at BC

By James Storbeck, Student Reporter.
Well, Santa and the holiday season have been and gone, but baseball season is right around the corner and Tommy Lasorda is coming to town. The baseball legend will speak at our very own Bellevue College this Friday, with a World Series ring for each hand, four National League pennants and a first ballot Hall of Fame entrance. He may not be bringing presents, but he is bringing almost 60 years of experience in professional baseball. As a pitcher, Lasorda set the record for strikeouts in a single game, a record that remains unbroken to this day. After he retired in 1996, he took a front office position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he managed for his entire 20-year coaching career. Since then, he has moved up the ladder, becoming Special Advisor to the Chairman of Dodger baseball, as well as an Internal Ambassador for the team. Shortly after, he was inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in his first eligible year in 1997. A few years after that, he coached the United States baseball team to a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Now comes his newest duty, kicking off the 2009 baseball campaign at Bellevue College. After a disappointing 2008 season, where a few key injuries cost BC a playoff spot, the Bulldogs hope to return to 2007 form. During the 2007 season, BC were the number one team in the NWAACC Coaches’ Poll for most of the season and captured the league championship, ending their season ranked 18th in the nation. In the last decade alone, the BC baseball program has produced 38 players in the Major League Baseball draft, as well as more in 1999 than any other two-year college. Their achievements don’t end on the field either. On average, the Bulldogs send nine players each year to the four-year level to pursue a higher level both on and off the field, maintaining one of the top graduation rates of all Northwest community college sports teams. The Bulldogs are ready to begin what they expect to be a successful baseball year. “This year our team has been working real hard in the offseason. I felt the guys have shown a big improvement from last year in the way that they have shown dedication in the weight room as well as at practice,” said Ryan Shelton, outfielder and team captain of the Bellevue College baseball team. Hopefully, with Tommy Lasorda’s inspirational advice, the team will go from strength to strength. The road to the championship won’t be easy though, as the other teams in the division have been buffing up their programs in the off season. “We got a couple key transfers as well as a great incoming freshman class. As long as we stay healthy, we’ve got a great chance to have a lot of success. Our division is by far the strongest in the NWAACC this year, which should make for great games every weekend. Other than that, we are excited for the season to start and hope students can come out and support us if they have a chance,” said Shelton. Tickets for the Pre-Season Dinner featuring Tommy Lasorda are $75, unless you are a BC student or staff member, in which case they are $50. All proceeds will support the Bellevue College baseball program. For more details about the dinner call (425) 564-2356.