By Eli MacKinnon
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Tommy Lasorda, former Brooklyn Dodger pitcher and Hall of Fame manager for the L.A. franchise, says he’s back to pumping Dodger-blue blood after suffering a heart attack last week.
But fans of the 84-year-old baseball legend can’t help but wonder whether his close call last Monday might have been related to another blue-blood Brooklyn institution with proven staying power — Bamonte’s, the 112-year-old Italian restaurant in Williamsburg where Lasorda dined out the night before his hospitalization.
Bamonte’s owner Anthony Bamonte told TMZ that Lasorda treated himself to fresh mozzarella with tomato, linguini and clam sauce, veal scaloppine pizzaiola with mushrooms, and red wine last Sunday night.
As decadent a repast as that may seem, Bomante insisted to TMZ that Lasorda’s heart attack the following day “had nothing to do with the food here. A heart attack is a heart attack.”
Given Lasorda’s history and the fact that red wine can actually act as a blood thinner, possibly helping to delay heart attacks, Bamonte is probably right to absolve his eatery of responsibility. After all, by his own admission, Lasorda liked to indulge even before he encountered Bamonte’s renowned mussels.
"When we win, I'm so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I'm so depressed I eat a lot. When we're rained out, I'm so disappointed I eat a lot,” he has said, according to the Baseball Almanac.
A previous heart attack in 1996 prompted Lasorda’s retirement as the manager of the L.A. Dodgers, a role he had assumed 20 years and two L.A. World Series victories earlier. Lasorda has a third Dodgers-engraved World Series ring from his 1955 season as a pitcher in Brooklyn, though he didn’t play in the series.
Lasorda, who came to New York to represent the L.A. Dodgers in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, was released from New York Presbyterian Hospital on Thursday and will likely remain in the city for a few days to recuperate before heading home to Los Angeles.
The L.A. Dodgers released a statement describing Lasorda's most recent heart attack as "mild," providing no justification for the qualifier and explaining that doctors inserted a stent to correct a blocked artery in his heart.
As the current special adviser to the chairman, Lasorda is now in his sixth decade of service to the Dodgers, giving him the longest non-continuous tenure with the team of anyone ever.
Bamonte’s, on the other hand, is in its 13th decade of service to Brooklyn and its fourth generation of Bamonte family ownership. The restaurant, which opened in 1900 and preceded New York’s first pizzeria by five years, is at 32 Withers St. on Williamsburg’s North Side.
The restaurant sometimes features an accordion player, who sang a memorable duet of the Italian standard “Oh Marie” with Lasorda the night before his heart attack. TMZ recorded the performance for posterity.