The scene is as familiar as the seventh-inning stretch.
At almost every game played at Dodger Stadium, Tom Lasorda makes an appearance on the video scoreboard.
Lasorda waves. The audience serenades him with a standing ovation.
The former Dodgers manager lives for moments like that. He lives to sign autographs and pose for pictures, to shake hands and spread the gospel of what he calls the greatest organization in baseball.
Now, the coronavirus outbreak has separated him from the public that adores him. On a Thursday that was supposed to mark the start of the new season, Lasorda won’t be in his customary seat in the owner’s box at Dodger Stadium, but with his wife in the modest Fullerton home they have shared for seven decades.
“Opening day ain’t going to be,” he said.
But don’t think for a second that Lasorda is down. He didn’t become one of baseball’s greatest motivators by pouting in moments of hardship.
“I’m 92,” he said with a hearty laugh, “but I can still fight.”
And fighting he is, with the same contagious optimism that fueled the Dodgers to their last two World Series championships.
Reached by phone, Lasorda was in vintage form, his combination of hyperbole and humor in overdrive.
“You’re talking to the most grateful man on the face of the earth,” said the Hall of Famer, who is a special advisor to Dodgers chairman Mark Walter.
While perplexed by…