The ongoing circus that is the L.A. Dodgers ownership situation has introduced its latest acts. We’re a long way from learning who will buy the team from the departing Frank McCourt, but at least the field is narrowing.
The Los Angeles Times reports that at least eight bidders (of MLB’s maximum of 10) are still in the running to buy the team from McCourt. Among the contenders are hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen, a group led by former Lakers icon Magic Johnson and another group including real estate developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre.
At this point, many Dodger fans will be glad just to be rid of McCourt, but bringing in a new owner who can provide some sanity is just as important. Of the candidates announced thus far, Torre and his partners would be the best bets for a long-term solution in L.A.
Cohen’s base is in Connecticut, and bringing in owners with no connection to the community is rarely an optimal solution. Magic and his team would be a fine choice with immediate fan support—not to mention that Johnson has already proven his business acumen—but don’t come with any expertise in baseball in particular.
If Torre et al. come out on top, though, they’ll have a trusted, experienced baseball man to run the operation. Although many baseball fans will always see him primarily as a Yankee, Torre’s three seasons with the Dodgers gave him ample opportunity to learn about what this team will need from its owners.
Above all, Torre spent a dozen years managing for one of the most meddlesome, tyrannical owners in the history of any sport. If anyone knows what mistakes to avoid as an incoming team owner, it’s a former longtime employee of George Steinbrenner.
McCourt may or may not have any interest in which candidate will be best for the future of the team, as his choice will likely be based on who throws the most money at him. If he wants to help clean up the mess he’s made of the Dodgers, though, Torre is the right man for the job.