LA Dodgers: Who Should Fans Want to Replace Frank McCourt as Owner?
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With word that LA Marathon founder Bill Burke is leading a bid of $1.2 billion to buy the Dodgers from Frank McCourt, there is finally some off-the-field optimism from fans that their unhappy marriage with McCourt may be ending soon.
It can’t come soon enough, as Burke, the husband of former L.A. County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, is the face of a bid that could include both Chinese and American investors, although Burke's actual financial stake is up for debate.
Considering the team has played much better over the last few weeks, the news is promising, and it poses a question: Who would the fans love to see replace McCourt?
Just to clarify—these are folks who I think fans would immediately embrace as owners. Some have already stated they may not be interested or their bids have fallen through, but this is mere speculation on the pulse of who the fans would like if there was no obstacle to ownership.
Feel free to submit your recommendations as well.
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Hands down, the people’s champ. Ever since Cuban said that he would be interested in Dodgers ownership, fans have embraced the idea, and the sports blogosphere went nuts over it.
Cuban cares first and foremost about the fans and creating a winning atmosphere. He’s not afraid to spend money on free agents or do what it takes to bring fans back. If he could bring back Dallas Mavericks fans after their futility in the '90s, he would keep the Dodgers competitive into the next decade.
As much of a maverick as Cuban is, he also respects tradition, as shown by bringing original Mavericks owner Donald Carter to the team’s trophy presentation. He’d be fun, but he’d also respect what the Dodgers mean to the city and to baseball.
While he’s removed his name from the possibilities, he’d be the No. 1 option for sure.
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This would be a dream come true: one of the city’s most beloved treasures helping one of the city’s treasured institutions reclaim its stellar image.
Magic Johnson helped revive the Lakers franchise as a player and revived parts of the city with his business ventures. It’s only fitting that he’d enter his fourth decade lending a hand to the Dodgers.
His personality would appeal to fans and to baseball’s old guard. He knows to hire the right people around him to make sound baseball decisions, and he’s not afraid to spend funds on what’s necessary to win.
While he’s currently part of the group to bring the NFL back to downtown LA, there isn’t a soul in the city or Dodgers Nation who wouldn’t wish he was owning the team.
If there’s one person who might be able to restore the Dodgers name, it’s somebody who knows the Dodger legacy intimately well. There’s nobody better suited than the team’s former president/owner.
The O’Malley name is still held in high regard, not just among Dodgers fans and the organization, but in baseball as well. His family was respected for its professionalism and putting the fans first, and there was no sadder day in recent Dodgers history than when he sold the team to Rupert Murdoch
O’Malley told the LA Times in 1997 that he thought family-owned businesses were a dying breed and corporations owning business were “the way of the future.” With his beloved team suffering from that, it’d be the perfect time to come back.
At 73, O’Malley’s age might be a deterrent, but fans would welcome a return to the past. Perhaps he could groom someone to replace him eventually. Imagine O’Malley and Tommy Lasorda calling the shots. It’d be a throwback that would remind fans when people and doing the right thing came before dollars.
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Even better than Magic Johnson, Buss could bring his golden touch from one L.A. franchise to another. While Magic reinvigorated the team on the court, Buss did it off the court and in the front office.
Buss knows how to put the right people around him (Jerry West/Mitch Kupchak as outstanding general managers), and he knows how to galvanize a fanbase. He has a proven track record as a top-notch owner, so why not head a bit north of Staples Center to help another fanbase?
Most Lakers fans are also Dodgers fans and would probably embrace cross-ownership just like several other sports teams. The only worry would be letting son Jim have any say in team matters, as the jury is still out on what he’s done with the Lakers this summer.
Steve Garvey (And Co.)
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Earlier this year, it was announced that Garvey was part of a group seeking to purchase the team that included billionaire Ron Burkle and former teammate Orel Hershiser.
Burkle, a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has the capital to make this a great move, but former Dodgers Garvey and Hershiser are the key parts. Both came up under the O’Malley era and know what the “Dodger Way” is all about.
Who better to help bring the team back than players who know what was expected of them when they wore Dodger Blue? Garvey remains one of the most beloved Dodgers in team history, and his name would not only inspire old fans; he’d also endear himself to younger fans with his actions.
The fact that Garvey was relieved of his position because of this move would only endear him to fans who feel alienated by the McCourt regime.
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As the head of AEG, Anschutz owns a stake in the Kings and the Lakers. Why not make it an even trifecta with the Dodgers?
Okay, maybe this is a reach and possibly a dangerous monopoly. But Anschutz pretty much owns most of downtown L.A. and has revitalized it over the past decade. It’s not a stretch to suggest he could possibly own a piece of the Dodgers.
Also, this could be a problem because the last corporation to own the Dodgers was NewsCorp and Rupert Murdoch. Right now, though, they’d be better than Frank McCourt, and since fans love the way AEG has brought much to downtown L.A., it’s not a bad alternative.
The name is familiar to those who know the history of L.A.’s attempt to bring a football team back to the city. Roski has tried for years to build a stadium in the city of Industry in hopes of luring an NFL franchise.
Since it looks like a football stadium will be built downtown with the help of Anschutz and Magic Johnson, Roski could put his energy and finances into purchasing the Dodgers. If he cares about bringing a team to the city, why not care the same for strengthening a team that’s already established with a firm fanbase?
Roski doesn’t have the track record as an owner—he’s just a wealthy businessman—but right now he’s got more pull than McCourt. He’s probably the lowest on the fans’ wish list.