Monday, February 27, 2012
And Now They Are Seven
Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times always seems to have the scoops about the ownership situation. Here are his tweets from this morning at 9:55 and then at 10:50 AM.
Bidders advancing in #Dodgers sale: Cohen, Magic/Kasten, Hindery/Barrack, Kushner ... and at least two more.
7 #Dodgers bidders still in running: Magic/Kasten, Cohen, Hindery/Barrack, Kushner, Kroenke, Disney/Gold, Casden.
Seven remain and I have my favorite. The criteria I use to select them is quite different from most. Perhaps I’m too picky, but the ideal Dodger owner for me must be a person/s that has tons of money and be a Dodger fan. Someone that loves the franchise. A baseball man that knows who Ron Perranoski, John Roseboro, Wally Moon, Manny Mota, and Jim Brewer is. He should be able to name off all the Dodger Rookies of the year and when asked where the Dodgers finished in 1971, should be able to say they finished 2nd in the West that year one year behind the Giants. Ideally, our owner should understand Dodger history and want to build upon it. He should be someone that hates the Giants, be livid about the Mike Piazza deal and passionate about the club keeping its tradition alive. He should be willing to upgrade Dodger Stadium, strengthen the farm system, rebuild the international scouting departments and ready to spend big money to be competitive year after year. He should be passionate about returning a World Series Championship to Los Angeles. He should also familiar with Los Angeles, having SoCal roots and be understanding of the Los Angeles sports landscape.
As I see the remaining bidders, none seem to fall within the parameters that I mentioned above. Perhaps that’s why I was so keen on a wild card like Josh Macciello. One of the remaining bidders however, meet parts of my criteria, and I can live with that.
Let me start off and say that Cohen and Kushner are out and out carpetbaggers in my opinion. I’d have to be convinced otherwise, but they bring to ownership New York ties and loyalties to other franchises. They aren’t SoCal bred and neither has SoCal roots. How could they possibly be passionate about the team with the exception of the financial gains that could potentially strengthen their financial clout in the world?
Steven Cohen has partnered with Agent Arn Tellem. He has the backing of L.A. institutions Eli Broad and David Geffen. That puts his bid for me a tick above the Kuschner group that I see as a Trump family intrusion into the process.
Tom Barrack of Colonial Capital in Santa Monica and Leo Hindery (the founder of the Yankees cable channel) have teamed up. Barrak’s firm has experience in enhancing professional sports teams values overseas. His firm was able to develop shopping centers and hotels around the ballpark of the Japan Fukuoka team. We all know what the YES network has done for the Yankees value. Perhaps this partnership still being in the running is good news. I prefer them over the two previously mentioned, due to Barrack’s involvement. But honestly, what do we know about them?
The Disney/Gold group has L.A. roots, but what do they know about Dodger baseball and running a sports franchise. Early on, O’Malley was rumored to be a part of them, but it appears that is not so now. There aren’t a lot of facts known about them either that I can find.
Kroenke’s group scares me the most I believe because it appears he is willing to get into bed with McCourt and allow him to retain the lots for a potential NFL team move. Years ago,that seemed like a great idea, but alternative plans have since been made for the NFL in Los Angeles. Anything with McCourt’s stamp on it has to be looked at with a jaundiced eye.
One thing is guaranteed. If you enter in to an agreement with McCourt to continue a business relationship with him, it is only a matter of time before he goes litigious on you. It’s a given, you will be sued sooner or later. Any owner doing their due diligence in preparing for this purchase must know that they need to steer clear of that man and his entities once the sale is complete.
Local developer Alan Casden remains. Reports are that his group doesn’t have the financial muscle as the New York groups. He also has a history in a previous attempt to land the team of saying that Dodger Stadium needs to be razed. I am actually open to that option only because of McCourt’s insistence to holding on to the parking lots. It has been reported by Shaikin in the past that the new owner is required to sign a lease through 2030 to McCourt for use of the parking lots. So there is uncertainty as to where this issue stands with regard to the remaining bidders. I am in agreement with Bob Daly who said last month that anybody purchasing the team without the parking lots would be absolutely crazy. Has Casden changed his tune and decided to continue to bid for the club and pay McCourt’s BlueLandCo entity $14 million per season?
So who does that leave remaining? My personal favorite: Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten. I believe that Magic has handled the situation in the wisest fashion. He has said nothing but positives about McCourt, knowing full well that Frank is the man that will be picking the new owner. He has remained tight lipped about everything. His silence has been deafening. He did his homework and has surrounded himself with a sound baseball man and the Guggenheim group that is loaded with money. He’s a L.A. institution and he is excited to develop a winner and save the Dodgers. Magic has a history of turning troubled entities into profitable and growing businesses. Johnson understands the meaning of the Dodgers to the Los Angles landscape.
Frankly, I believe that we all need to get behind the Magic Johnson bid. MLB should be thrilled with the potential of an African American businessman, with Los Angeles ties, as the Dodgers owner. Viva Magic! I’m on board.
Cool to see Dee Gordon hanging out with Maury Wills and Davey Lopes. Hopefully he soaks in as much information as possible. Prediction: This trio will have accumulated 2,000 stolen bags by the end of Gordon's career.