Though it’s tough to say just how comfortable he is with his new team, Mark Loretta certainly isn’t complaining.
“It’s going to be a lot different back in LA than it is here in Arizona,” Loretta said to the Valley Sun at Spring Training in Arizona. “[But] this was the team I grew up watching. I went to my first major league game at Dodger Stadium, I used to go to 10 or 12 games a year. My memories were of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Ron Cey and Bill Russell. Tommy Lasorda was still around.”
The St. Francis grad has returned to Los Angeles after years of major league service. Now he’s playing for the team he’s always dreamed of playing for.
Already fitting in, St. Francis supporters ran down to spring training, shouting “St. Francis!” and Loretta responded “Golden Knights!”
Now the Dodger is taking on a supporting role, but he intends on being active within the community. Loretta has already been on campus a few times this year, once receiving an award as an honored alumni and once for POSH, or Preserving Our Scholastic Heritage, St. Francis’ annual fundraiser.
“I’ll be in touch,” Loretta said. “[St. Francis Principal] Father Tony Marti is an old friend of mine, he used to work for my dad.”
Loretta started his career in Milwaukee, but made a name for himself with the Padres after signing a deal in 2003. In 2004, Loretta had a .335 batting average, third-best in the National League (seventh-best in the majors).
Loretta calls San Diego home now, but will be renting an apartment in Los Angeles during the season.
His former teammate at St. Francis, Gregg Zaun, is now playing for Baltimore.