Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Dodgers' owner

The short list of people affiliated with the Dodgers' organization who are recognizable by one name just grew by one.

There's Vin, Tommy, Jackie, Sandy and now Magic.

The ownership group led by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten was chosen tonight as the winners of the auction. Initial reports put the sale at $2.15 billion, or 2,150 million dollars.

Ken Gurnick was the first to report the news.

The only blemish in this deal is the parking lots are not included.
"Current owner Frank McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million."
Now, that's not to say the group only needed to kick in an extra $150 million to get the lots. I'm sure if that were the case, it would have been done. However, it's not the end of the world. It sucks McCourt is still involved, but it's a minor part, which is better than him keeping the team completely.

Update (March 27, 9:44 p.m.): From Bill Shaikin:
"Parking lots will be controlled by Magic's group."

Mark Walter will be the controlling owner. The bankruptcy court must still approve the sale on April 13.

This is a fantastic day for Dodger fans. This has been a long time coming. With Johnson, there is the tie to Los Angeles -- something that's been missing since the O'Malley days. Stan Kasten, one of those behind the great Braves' runs of the 1990s and part of the rebuilding Washington Nationals, might be the most underrated part of this deal.

Some, myself included, were expecting the Steve Cohen/Patrick Soon-Shiong group to have the largest bid. We were hoping McCourt would do the "right" thing and choose the Johnson group, even if the money wasn't as high. Well, apparently that wasn't an issue.

But back to Magic. The guy is one of the most popular athletes in Los Angeles sports history. The importance of that cannot be understated. This is akin to Kobe Bryant buying the Lakers in 15 years, but it's probably not even on that level. In the end, there couldn't have been a better person to be the face of this franchise.

Johnson's experience as part owner of the Lakers will help him when it comes to being part owner of the Dodgers. Here's a statement from Johnson:
"I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles."
Now, things aren't suddenly going to change. Ned Colletti still needs to go and the Dodgers need to commit to the draft and international scouting. I had been holding off writing my season prediction post until seeing who was going to be the new owner. I'm not going to give everything away, but the postseason might not be that far out of reach.

This is a great day, folks. Revel in it. Things are looking up.

Go Blue!

Photo credit: Rafael Amado Deras on Flickr (Johnson)

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