When it comes to traditional Italian family gatherings, Tommy Lasorda’s
team hits a home run.
Sandra makes the meatballs—always the meatballs. And there’s lasagna, Italian sausage, tomato pie, fried peppers, salads and a spread of sweets—ricotta cookies, pignoli cookies, cannelloni. Sandra can usually be found in the kitchen with cousin Michelle. The wine is flowing—the family’s own label, of course. And it’s loud. Very loud.
It’s a common setting at any gathering of the Lasorda family—whether it be on a Sunday, a birthday, an anniversary or a holiday. We’re talking about an all-day affair, with friends and family coming and going. Patriarch Tommy (yes, that Tommy Lasorda) is usually off in a corner holding court with friends and family, debating over baseball, politics—you name it. For newcomers, it might be an intimidating scene. “The environment would be overwhelming but inviting at the same time,” says Tommy’s wife, Jo. After entering the house, she says, the attention would shift to the new guest, who would be given a plate of food and a seat at the table, and then invited to join the conversation.”
“I love the cast of characters,” says Tommy’s nephew David, the managing partner for Lasorda Family Wines, a winery founded by Tommy in 2017. (Tommy grew up watching his father, Sabatino, make his own wines.) “You get cousin Sam, who’s a little bit of a wise guy and always stirring up trouble. And you have Tommy and the uncles as the center of attention, captivating the room with their stories. They’re all such a source of entertainment, and there’s never a dull moment. And I like that there’s a presence of multiple generations—usually three, if not four, generations present.”
So it’s a big party—30 to 40 family members. “A small gathering would be maybe 25 people,” notes David. Most of the Lasordas still live in Tommy’s native Pennsylvania, so a lot of celebrations are held there. Except in September, Tommy’s birthday month. They always meet in SoCal. Specifically, Dodger Stadium. “We have the big Presidential Suite, and all the friends and family come.” Now that’s a score for the home team.