Embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced this morning that he has agreed to sell the Dodgers to a group led by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten for two billion dollars. The sale marks a record for any franchise in North America. Of course, the sale will not be finalized until April at the earliest. However, the perspective group was one of three approved by MLB, so there shouldn’t be any drama as there was throughout the process.
This announcement ends a long nightmare for the city of Los Angeles and the fans of the Dodgers. A once proud organization that had been run into the ground by a swindler. Just as if a notorious drug dealer had won the lottery, McCourt will end up clearing 900 million before taxes and his ex-wife get a bite at the apple. He came into the sale process 1.1 billion dollars in debt. For him to come out ahead in this deal is a cosmic injustice on the scale of a Greek tragedy.
According to various reports, the former Boston parking lot mogul came into the Dodgers ownership situation with less than 100 million to his name. He managed to leverage perspective value of the franchise and the opportunity to sign a new cable deal into enough capital to buy the team in the first place. So, excusing Uncle Sam and the former Ms. McCourt, he ends up multiplying his net worth ten times or more while mismanaging the franchise on a grand scale. Please don’t let anyone tell you that baseball isn’t a profitable business.
As much as I would love to keep bagging on McCourt, spending anymore time on him would be a slap in the face to Dodgers fans. This is good news on a number of fronts. First, the local group carries with it the combination of a local hero (Magic Johnson) and an experienced baseball executive (Stan Kasten). Neither brought in the majority of the money. That honor goes to Gussenheim Baseball Management and Mark R. Walker. Obviously, that sum of money indicates they are quite serious about regaining their spot as the best ticket in town.
This past offseason, the Dodgers were taking a back seat to Arte Moreno and the Angels. The Angels brought in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. The Dodgers brought in Adam Kennedy, Mark Ellis, and Jerry Hairston Jr. With all due respect to those guys, they can’t hold a candle to the drawing power of those guys. So, when the new ownership group takes over, look for the Dodgers to be big players again in free agency and major trades.
It’s hard to argue that more involvement from the Dodgers is a bad thing for baseball. When the Mets and Yankees were competing for the attention of the New York fans, baseball spent more time on the front pages. Now, the city of Angels will compete for those headlines. It certainly beats headlines about divorces, bankruptcy, and borderline criminal behavior.
Filed under: MLB