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Great So Far

By Will Lingo

As Team USA’s manager, Tommy Lasorda’s ultimate Olympic legacy won’t be determined until the games are played in September.

But he’s been a boon for USA Baseball so far, generating lots of publicity and good feelings about Olympic baseball as one of America’s most recognizable baseball personalities.

"The reaction from fans, media and baseball people has been overwhelmingly positive," said David Fanucchi, USA Baseball’s director of communications. "We’ve heard nothing but the best about the selection."

USA Baseball announced the selection of Lasorda, 72, in early May, generating broadcast and print coverage across the nation and jump-starting the efforts to spur interest in the Olympic baseball tournament in Sydney.

Lasorda has helped those efforts, speaking passionately about how much managing Team USA means to him. He also attended a press event sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee to generate publicity for all Olympic sports.

"I stood in front of the dugout many, many times listening to the national anthem, thinking how lucky I was to be born in the greatest country in the world," Lasorda said. "Now to be able to represent our country, that is something."

Fanucchi said Lasorda’s enthusiasm will rub off on fans and players.

"The enthusiasm he’s shown for the job has been incredible," he said. "He’s done anything and everything we’ve asked, and more."

Lasorda will continue to serve as an ambassador for the team more than anything else until the team is named late in the summer. He will not be directly involved in selecting players.

"It’s like we’re two months from spring training," Fanucchi said. "He puts a face on the team, a lot more than the steering committee or USA Baseball."

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