Magic Johnson rides to Dodgers rescue – and all L.A. is smiling
A group of investors fronted by Los Angeles basketball legend Magic Johnson has bought the bankrupt Dodgers for $2 billion, nearly twice the previous record for a US sports team.
This city is celebrating two major triumphs in one announcement.Skip to next paragraph
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First: The beleaguered and bankrupt Dodgers have at last been bought – for a record $2 billion – after an emotional, roller-coaster year of financial aid from Major League Baseball.
The horns are beeping from Chavez Ravine – where Dodger Stadium is ensconced – to The Forum Arena, where the Lakers won five world titles with Johnson. The city skyline has the Cheshire Cat grin of Johnson looming overhead.
In a town boasting 16 world basketball championships, it’s once again cool to love “the other sport.”
“Go ahead, Los Angeles, dig out that dusty Dodgers cap and unwrinkle that Dodger Stadium seating chart and shout yourself blue again,” writes Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke. "It’s safe now, after two years in hell your city’s most enduring sports team has just been placed in the giant hands of its most enduring sports star.”
If that’s the take from the outside, the inside news is also good. Tommy Lasorda, the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame former manager, says he is optimistic about the future because of the day-to-day man who will run the team, former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten. Kasten built the Braves into a dynasty, winning 14 consecutive National League East titles – and the World Series in 1995.
“He’s a very, very astute baseball mind,” Lasorda told the Times. “I think he’ll do one hell of a job because of his experience. He’s done it before.”
The group buying the team is Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC, headed by Johnson and including Kasten and controlling partner Mark Walter, Mandala Entertainment chief executive Peter Guber, Bobby Patton, and Todd Boehly. The purchase price nearly doubles the previous record price tag for a North American sports franchise, $1.1 billion for the Miami Dolphins in 2009.