The soap opera surrounding the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers appears to finally be coming to an end. On Tuesday night, an ownership group that includes longtime MLB executive Stan Kasten (formerly with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals) and former Lakers star Magic Johnson agreed to purchase the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record price of $2 billion. To discuss the implications of the sale, Bill Littlefield invited Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times back to the program.
Dilbeck said that the sale of the team is going to give a sense of relief to many baseball fans in L.A., simply because there is an end to the drama.
“They just wanted Frank McCourt gone,” he said. “It couldn’t have happened soon enough and he couldn’t go far enough away. The fact that he’s finally agreed to sell the team is a cause of celebration.”
While Magic Johnson is the face of the ownership group, and is already a sports legend in southern California, Dilbeck said it will be Stan Kasten who will be charged with getting the Dodgers back on track.
“He’s a highly respected executive, he knows how to build an organization that wins,” Dilbeck said. “He’s not the general manager, but he’s going to understand not only the immediate way to turn a team around, but long-term. There’s going to be a re-emphasis with the Dodgers back into the minor league system, back into scouting, all those things that Frank [McCourt] had just turned his back on.”
That is not to say, however, that Magic Johnson will not play a major role in the day-to-day business of the Dodgers. “He’s not going to pretend he knows the inner-workings of curveballs or pick-off plays,” Dilbeck said, “but he does know the community. I think you’ll see him interacting with political types and organizations, and he’ll do what he does best. He’s a point guard. He’s going to go out there and lead–get this team back into its rightful place in the Los Angeles community.”