Early in February I wrote that Magic Johnson's group would be the best choice to become the new owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not because I felt Magic was a baseball genius that would single-handedly turn the team into an instant World Series contender, but because I believe Magic will bring excitement and respectability back to Dodger Stadium.
Well Tuesday night my hopes for the future of the Dodgers organization came true.
A group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten agreed Tuesday night to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record $2 billion.
Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner.
Some will say why Magic? He was a basketball player, what can he possibly know about baseball? And in some respects that may be true, but Magic is the kind of person who will be able to sell the 'Dodgers' brand back to the community and might be able to help lure big-time free agents to Los Angeles in the future.
He also knows that he will not be making the day-to-day baseball decisions for the Dodgers.
In a story on ESPN.com, Magic said he will have an office at Dodger Stadium, but that Kasten will be "the baseball man."
The story went on to say:
"I won't get in Stan's way. I won't get in our manager's way," he [Magic] said, but added, "I will be heavily involved. I'm writing a big check here."
Johnson said his role would include recruiting free agents, and while he can't talk hitting or pitching with players, he "can talk winning."
Johnson said that he will help "sell the Dodger brand" to fans who might have turned their back on the team during the recent turmoil.
Even current Dodgers players are reacting favorably to the news—Matt Kemp told ESPN:
"I think it's tight, man, for Magic to be one of our owners," said Kemp, a devoted NBA fan. "He knows what the Dodgers mean to L.A. Magic is very important to L.A., and the fans love him. This is a pretty good day for the Dodgers."
I agree with Kemp, and I can't think of anyone more qualified to help bring excitement back to Dodger Stadium than Magic Johnson, who played 13 seasons for the Lakers, winning five NBA championships and three MVP awards during his Hall of Fame career.
Dodgers fans will need to temper their excitement of the news that Magic's group will now be the owners of the Dodgers, though. While I'm sure Magic will help fill seats at Dodger Stadium this season (as will the fact that Frank McCourt is not the owner), it will take awhile for the new owners to build the team into a real World Series contender.
However, at least Dodgers fans can now look to the future knowing that someone who cares about bringing a World Series title back to Los Angeles will be the face of the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization.
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