Although the Dodgers are one of baseball’s flagship franchises, they have not won a World Series championship in 26 years. Efforts to end that drought and overhaul the organization are the subject of this account of the events, both public and beyond public view, that have given LA a serious National League contender. The title is a reference to the $2.15 billion spent to buy the franchise, which faced bankruptcy under its previous owner. The record price tag, paid by Guggenheim Partners, which brought Magic Johnson on board to be a popular face of the ownership group, shattered the old record by a billion dollars, making the team the ultimate fixer-upper.
Here’s an excerpt from The Best Team Money Can Buy:
“When the Dodgers sent out a press release announcing a year-end media session the Monday after the club was eliminated from the playoffs, reporters arrived at Dodger Stadium expecting nothing more than clichéd sound bites to sum up a disappointing end to a championship run. It had been a surreal season, but one of the reasons [Manager Don] Mattingly had hung on to his job when the team flailed was that he was a man who chose his words carefully. He toed the company line even better than his mentor, Joe Torre, and for the most part resisted saying anything that would draw attention to the club’s personality clashes. When he and his coaching staff disagreed with the front office over how to discipline Yasiel Puig, he said nothing about it to the press. When the Dodgers didn’t announce that his contract for 2014 had automatically vested he kept his mouth shut. But perhaps trotting out Mattingly to answer questions about his future with the team when he still had no idea whether he would be back was the final insult.”