Friday, January 27, 2012

Hiroki Kuroda wanted to stay and the possible Rams-Dodgers connection

Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times caught up with former-Dodger-turned Yankee Hiroki Kuroda and confirmed what a lot of Dodger fans suspected: he wanted to stay in Los Angeles.
"Asked whether he would have remained with the Dodgers had they made him a reasonable offer, Kuroda said, 'It's hard to talk about something hypothetical. Obviously, I was comfortable there. I liked it there. My family liked it there.'

In fact, Kuroda said his wife and two school-age daughters will remain in Los Angeles while he is in New York next season.

'Part of me is sad to leave Los Angeles,' he said. 'I loved the atmosphere of the stadium.'"

So, anyone who claims Kuroda wasn't loyal or went back on his word can shove it. The guy wanted to be a Dodger and Ned Colletti failed to make that happen.

And how the hell were the Dodgers going to fit Kuroda in after signing Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano? Kuroda is obviously better and he would have bumped one of them to the bullpen, but what the hell is Colletti thinking? Just another in the long line of missteps by the Dodgers' GM.


Earlier this week, prospective bidders for the Dodgers' ownership placed preliminary bids. There were the usual names -- Magic Johnson, Joe Torre, Mark Cuban, et al -- but a new name entered the fray: Stan Kroenke.

Kroenke is the new owner of the St. Louis Rams and there's a lot of speculation the Rams could be on their way back to L.A. -- even moreso after Kroenke "explored" a possible bid for the Dodgers.

While the rules are not exactly straightforward, Forbes' reporter Mike Ozanian had this to say:
"NFL rules prohibit an owner from having controlling interest in a major sports team outside of the football team’s market."
"Even if Kroenke doen’t get the Dodgers, the fact that he is bidding for the team implies the Rams are bolting for L.A."
As a Rams' fan, this is great news. Of course, it's a bit presumptuous at this point. The Rams cannot move before 2014 and the Dodgers' ownership situation is set to be resolved by April 6 (with the new owner taking over April 30).

Then there's this from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
"If Kroenke owns the Dodgers and another team moves to Los Angeles, how would the NFL’s cross-ownership rules apply? Currently, an owner of an NFL team can own a non-football team in another market as long as there’s no NFL team in that market. If Kroenke buys a baseball team in Los Angeles, which would be permissible, and then an NFL team other than the one owned by Kroenke moves there, the situation could get dicey, to say the least."
"It may be that Kroenke would merely be required at that point to transfer the paperwork of the Dodgers to another family member. Regardless, it would be hard not to view a purchase of the Dodgers as a potential precursor to moving the Rams to the same town."
So, who the hell knows?

I doubt Kroenke -- despite being a billionaire -- is going to spread his money that thin. He dropped $450 million on the Rams (a 60-percent share) and I don't think he'll be in the rumored $1.5-plus billion bidding unless he partners up with one of the billionaire super groups.

Still, the prospect of the Dodgers getting a wealthy owner and the Rams returning to Los Angeles makes me all giddy. But it's early in the process -- I should really temper my enthusiasm until more news potentially breaks.

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