The epicenter of the baseball world in Southern California has shifted from Chavez Ravine to Anaheim, where Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson are making the Angels the team to watch this year. The Dodgers, one of baseball’s most historic franchises, are in despair. But things will get better soon once the team is sold.
There are in fact not three, not five, but 15 legitimate suitors for the Dodgers, as noted in this poignant article in L.A. Weekly:
I’m putting my money on Joe Torre, the popular former skipper of the team.
Torre is teamed with a prominent developer named Rick Caruso, who created The Grove. More importantly, Torre is a favorite of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, having served last year as MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations. If Caruso has the dough, then Torre is likely to have the inside track.
But really, it is all about money. Current owner Frank McCourt will pick the highest bidder on April 6th and the deal is expected to close April 30th. Here’s my list of the top contenders after Torre:
2) Peter O’Malley, the former Dodgers owner deeply regrets selling the team to News Corp (Fox) in 1997 and would dearly love to have the team back to honor the legacy of his father, the late great Walter O’Malley.
3) Steve Garvey/Orel Hershiser. Two former Dodgers who are popular and well connected, but do they have deep pockets?
4) Magic Johnson. Popular in L.A. and a proven winner – but not a baseball guy.
5) Fred Claire, Former Dodger GM.
Dead Last: Mark Cuban. The Dallas Mavericks owner has the money and the drive, but he’s not a baseball insider. Baseball owners are said to dislike him because he’s too much of a showboat.
Major League Baseball has the right to screen the applicants and submit a list of the top ten for final approval by McCourt. The game needs the Dodgers to be competitive and the networks would love to broadcast as many games as possible in the L.A. market. And if the Dodgers pick the wrong suitor – well the Angels aren’t exactly standing idle – they are aggressively courting fans all across Southern California. And no doubt Pujols and Wilson will fill plenty of seat at the Big A.