The 6th Man: It’s a Big Deal
By: Will Chukerman
After years of turmoil and embarrassment, the Los Angeles Dodgers were finally sold on Tuesday to the tune of 2 billion dollars—the most ever paid for a North American sports franchise.
The group who won the bidding is headlined by former L.A. Laker superstar Magic Johnson and former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals president, Stan Kasten.
Now former owner Frank McCourt can finally get out of the spotlight after months of embarrassment as most of his private life came to light during the course of testimonies in his divorce case.
McCourt did nothing in his final year to help the Dodger team, as a once proud franchise was slowly running on fumes.
Attendance was down over 7,000 fans this past year, ticket prices were up around 40%, and the MLB had seized control of the team, making sure nothing more was done to a team that was unable to meet payroll.
Dodgers’ fans now have something to be proud of and something to look forward to, knowing there franchise will now be moving forward not backwards.
Johnson knows how high expectations are in LA, winning 5 NBA championships as a Laker, and he knows what its like to have a winner in LA.
He also knows how much the city craves for the Dodgers to be back atop the National League.
Of course any new owner would surely be an improvement over McCourt, but Johnson is more than that.
Having a recognizable figure at the top will begin to bring fans back to the ballpark.
With Johnson being the face of the group, Stan Kasten will likely be the brains, giving the team a highly respected, and well-versed execute who knows how to run a franchise.
Kasten was the president during the Braves incredible run of 14 division titles and most recently had begun to build the Nationals into contenders through the draft.
The Dodgers are currently lead by arguably the best pitcher and best hitter in the game today, in Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. Kershaw was the Cy Young winner from a year ago and Kemp finished 2nd in the MVP voting behind Ryan Braun.
Along with those two, the team has young talent in Andre Eithier, James Loney and a young manager in former Yankee Don Mattingly.
The franchise will now have the funds again to begin spending money on free agents and start looking at potential trade opportunities. It will be paramount that they start that as soon as possible to show the fans that they are focused on winning, and winning now.
This announcement is also good for Major League Baseball because as like any sport, when the most storied franchises are doing well, it’s good for the entire sport.
Only time will tell when the Dodgers are contenders again, but with this new ownership group and optimism in L.A., it shouldn’t be a long wait.
It’s a new era in L.A. and Dodgers fans hope Magic is the answer.
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