The Los Angeles Dodgers are for sale—kind of.
Former/current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is selling the team for several reasons, the least dashing to to pay his ex-wife Jamie the $131 million that is her share of the team (as decided in divorce court this past October).
According to David Carter, executive director at the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California, “it’s a sports-business circus here, everyday you see that someone else is throwing their hat in the ring or partnering with someone.”
Whether it is an individual or a group interested in bidding on the team, they are asked to pay a $25,000 non refundable entrance fee. What do they get for that 25 grand? The team’s financial documents and a few baseballs and hats signed by the true NL MVP Matt Kemp.
Considering all the things the team has going for it (the city it is in, the people that live in said city, the money said people have and the history and marketability of the franchises logo and name), dozens of prospective owners have arisen over the past few months from across the country.
That being said, I personally hope Joe Torre and Rick Caruso emerge successful in their purchase of the team, and I wrote why several weeks ago. Here are the seven potential owners Dodger fans should least want.
Steven Cohen is a 55-year-old hedge fund manager and the founder of SAC Capital Advisors, a Connecticut-based hedge fund that focuses primarily on equity market strategies. I, of course, do not know Steven Cohen, but from what I have read via the LA Times and Forbes, I see him to be an incredibly successful man in all his endeavors.
Forbes estimates his net worth to be north of $8.3 billion. All of that being considered, I do not think Dodger fans should want Cohen to own their team. He is a Connecticut man at heart (his company and home are both in Connecticut) and is currently interested in buying one of ten shares of the Mets that are up for sale (via LA Times).
More than anything, I think the future owner of such a treasured and historic franchise that has resided in Los Angeles for over 50 years should be an Angeleno; someone either born in the city or someone who matured and found themselves while under her care.
Yes, Los Angeles is a "she", just ask the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Cohen may be the right man for an ownership position someday—it is just not in Los Angeles, and not anytime soon.
Leo Hindery, 64, is commonly known as a businessman, author, political activist and philanthropist. He is a managing partner at InterMedia Partners, a New York-based private equity fund. Prior to that, he was Chairman and CEO of The YES Network, the home of the New York Yankees.
Hindery has made his name through communications; he headed Tele-Communications, Inc before it merged with AT&T, according to Forbes. He is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and from 2003 through 2007 was Senate-appointed Vice Chair of the HELP Commission, formed by congress to improve U.S. foreign aid.
Hindery has tested the waters of MLB ownership before—he was a finalist in the bidding for the Chicago Cubs (in partnership with Marc Utay, a private equity investor). The team was sold to someone other than Hindery.
I personally do not like the idea, as previously mentioned, of ownership being someone that does not have strong roots to the city, nor do I like knowing that Hindery is 0-1 in terms of bids for professional ball clubs.
If that isn’t a sign of bad luck, I don’t know what is.
Dr. Shiong, like the two men previously discussed, has quite the expansive resume. Dr. Shiong, at 60, is the richest man in Los Angeles and is currently a 4.5 percent owner of the Los Angeles Lakers (he bought the fraction of the team Magic Johnson sold in fall of 2010), according to NBA.com.
Dr. Shiong is a doctor, biotech investor and philanthropist with an estimated net worth of $7 billion according to a Forbes review this past fall. Shiong has done extensive work throughout the city of Los Angeles philanthropically to raise money for the study and hopeful cures for diseases.
Shiong seems like the ideal candidate in a lot of ways.
He is relatively young, incredibly wealthy, a successful businessman, an icon in the city of Los Angeles and a friend to Magic Johnson. Weighing all those factors, I am still slightly disappointed. He is not a baseball man, nor is anybody in his camp. We are talking about a baseball team here—let's not forget that.
I would hope that the future owner is an experienced and decorated figure in the game. You know, like Joe Torre.
Peter O’Malley is the name Dodger fans will be most familiar with on this list, but that does not mean they should be quick to welcome him back with open arms. O’Malley, born in Brooklyn, became director of Dodgertown (the former spring training home in Vero Beach) in 1962.
Three years later, he was general manager of the minor league Spokane Indians (a team full of soon-to-be major league players and coaches). One thing led to another and in 1970, O’Malley took over as president of the club from his father and would go on to become owner of the team when his father passed in 1979.
O’Malley was the club’s president from 1970 through 1998, and he was the team’s owner from 1979 through 1998. O’Malley was in the drivers seat for much of the team's success while here in Los Angeles. The manner in which he conducted his business came to be known as “The Dodger Way" (via LA Times).
My only reservations with O’Malley are his age (he is currently 74) and the ramifications that could come from his age. The Steinbrenner situation in New York and the Buss situation in Los Angeles are prime examples of what happens when sons take over their fathers' businesses.
Furthermore, the world of sports is much different today than it was in 1998 (social networking, blogging, satellite television, etc), and I wonder if that makes O’Malley (or his successor) fit to run the team.
Stan Kroenke is one of the biggest names in the world of the sports business. He is the owner of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, which includes the Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Rapids (MLS), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Colorado Mammoth (NLL) and St. Louis Rams (NFL)—not to mention his majority stake in Arsenal, the English football club.
Kroenke, 65, has an estimated net worth of roughly $3.2 billion and has done more than demonstrate a willingness to grow his name, brand and empire (via Forbes.) That being said, none of his teams have had an overwhelming amount of success in terms of championships as of late.
I, as well as Dodger fans around the world, are desperate for meaningful October baseball, and lots of it.
Oftentimes if you have a big piece of bread and not enough butter, when you spread the butter and eat your bread, it won’t taste as good. Kroenke, with his interest in the Dodgers, is running out of butter for all his bread. Too much on one man’s plate is a recipe for disaster.
Dodger fans should be over disasters by now.
Stanley Stalford is the ambitious man behind OwnTheDodgers.com.
In a June 2011 article, TheCityMaven wrote, “Developer Stanley Stalford is the man behind OwnTheDodgers.com. ‘I think the number one problem facing the Dodgers today is fan apathy,’ Stalford said. ‘There’s 10,000 people (fewer) in the stadium each night. The best solution to the worst problem is fan ownership.’"
On the website, Stalford shows that his idea, while packed with good intentions, shows how over his head and out of the loop he is. On the site, he says (these are excerpts of writing on the site) “With every ticket we buy. With every hot dog we eat. With every car we park. Working people struggle to support a legendary team in our City—the Dodgers.”
Stalford goes on to say, "It has been done in Cleveland. It has been done in Green Bay.”
Stalford is leaving out the part where Cleveland and Green Bay, at the times, were the smallest of the small markets. The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most iconic sports franchises worldwide—in any sport. They have a long and storied history and currently have dozens of potential buyers who have several billions (each) to throw at the team and make it work.
I would love to one day “own a piece of the Dodgers,” but not if it means I get the team over Rick Caruso and Joe Torre. Thanks, but no thanks, Stan.
Let me make my “why Dodgers fans definitely do not want Mr. Casden” argument a simple one, I will start with a quote of his from the LA Times in 2003 (the first time he tried, unsuccessfully, to buy the team). “They knock down stadiums all the time; Dodger Stadium is not an antique. It’s not Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s a nice place to play baseball, but there are far better.”
I am not sure if you are a frequent reader of my work, and if you are thank you. If not, take a second and peruse through this piece from last week outlining the best moments in the stadiums illustrious history.
To make a long story short, Chavez Ravine is the Dodgers. It is Los Angeles. The stadium has stood the test of time and with each pitch thrown and each home run hit, it’s legend and aura only grow in my heart and the hearts of Dodger fans worldwide.
I’m sorry Mr. Casden, but if you want to own the team, tear down the stadium, move it downtown and put housing up on that sacred land, you are not the man for the job.