Sunday, April 29, 2012
The McCourt Era is Over!
He entered with a lot of fanfare and excitement. There was a press conference in January of 2004 and there he was with his wife posing with Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully. Everything out of his mouth was positive. “The payroll of the Dodgers would be in the top quartle of Major League teams.” “Family owned baseball was returning to Los Angeles.” “The goal is to win championships.” Then he said something that caught me off-guard. I don’t have the exact quote but it was something along the lines of, “I can’t believe that I’m the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.” I thought it was an odd statement at the time, but blew it off as simply an over-excited new owner that was overwhelmingly happy that he was approved as a new owner.
Now that the McCourt ownership era is coming to an end, that awkward statement of the new owner at the time make sense. That man simply could not believe that he could hoodwink the MLB establishment by landing the Dodgers on a fully leveraged deal.
So here we are, April 29, 2012. The last day that Frank McCourt will be the official owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. We have endured a lot, and there was a time that I never thought it would end. Things appeared to be stuck in neutral forever as McCourt did what he did best - Sued the pants off of anybody that got in his path. I seriously thought we’d be in litigation over Dodger ownership for years. Things couldn’t have gone any more smoothly this off-season.
But here we are. The Dodgers have a new ownership group in place with deep pockets, an LA icon in their midst and with a successful baseball man that will take the reins of the decision making process. Stan Kasten is something else that isn’t frequently talked about. He understands baseball and appreciates baseball history. This is a man that knows the Los Angeles Dodgers and the importance of that franchise.
Who would know more about Stan Kasten than Dodger Hall of Fame pitcher, Don Sutton? Don worked for Kasten for 16 years while working Atlanta Braves broadcasts. “Very few people know know how much Stan Kasten knows and loves the history of baseball. he’s a baseball historian. He can cite you chapter and verse of so many things. So I like having him pull the reins,” he told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
It’s nice hearing Sutton talk like he belongs again to the Dodger family. For a while there, he was estranged from the organization. Like the time he was on the field during batting practice and asked to show his credentials by the Dodger staff. “My credentials hang over the pavilion, number 20” he said.
He told O’Brien when the Braves were in town about his feelings of the new Dodger ownership. “I’m excited for them, because I have to admit that I haven’t felt good about the custodians of our (Dodgers) history or the guardians of our future for a while. And now I know Magic is a guy who’s so community and people oriented, and he has an appreciation for and friends on, the Dodgers. And Ive seen Stan at work on four or five different levels.”
Sutton, who now lives in Palm Springs has kept in contact with many in the Dodger organization, who were there when he played. He longs for the days when the organization was as it was during the O’Malley days. Here’s a suggestion I have.
Bring Don Sutton back into the Dodger fold. I'd be all for him entering the Dodger broadcast booth.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Dodgers completed their three game sweep of the Nationals today with a 2-0 victory. With only 3 hits on the day, they took advantage of Gio Gonzalez’s wildness in the sixth inning as James Loney placed a single over shortstop for two RBI. Kenley Jansen made it interesting in the ninth, but he held on for the save.
Chris Capuano threw a magnificent 6 2/3 innings of shut out ball, striking out 9 in the process. On to Colorado for three. And I’m lucky enough to be able to travel to Denver on Tuesday to attend at least one of the contests, my first trip ever to Coors Field.
With a 16-6 record, the Dodgers are 4 up in the division and have the best record in teh National League by a two game span. It has been a great April.