Thursday, December 29, 2011

Murray Chass Knows Who Will Buy the Dodgers

Murray Chass, retired NY Times sportswriter and prior winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, has some insight into the mind of Selig when concerning the sale of a ball team.

When the Boston Red Sox were in the process of being sold in 2001, John Henry, then the owner of the Florida Marlins, joined forces with Tom Werner, former owner of the San Diego Padres, and Larry Lucchino, a veteran, highly regarded executive, who had served as president of the Baltimore Orioles and the Padres.

All interested buyers of the Red Sox, they merged their efforts at the suggestion of Commissioner Bud Selig. As soon as I heard that they were making a joint effort to secure the team, I wrote in The New York Times that their group had become the leading candidate.

I had read recently, I'm unsure where, that a similar effort is underway for the Dodgers. Can Selig use his magic again? It's a possibility. With that in mind, Chass predicts who is now in the lead.

Circumstances are far more premature and complex than they were when Henry, Werner and Lucchino merged their efforts. Much has to happen before Frank McCourt can sell the Dodgers, and the team’s bankruptcy status makes the process more intricate.

My money, however, is on the money that (Stan) Kasten and his group will generate for McCourt, who has owned the Dodgers into such a depressed state he deserves worse.

And guess who is one of the partners- Magic Johnson. That's right, "Showtime" may be turning blue.
Adding Johnson to the mix is more than putting icing on the cake. In his post-basketball life, Magic has become a successful entrepreneur and as an African-American would be a highly attractive addition to the major league lineup of owners.
Where are the big bucks coming from?

The money man in the group is Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a global financial services company that is said to manage more than $125 billion in customer assets.

“Guggenheim Baseball Management brings together a team of proven winners with deep ties to the Los Angeles community, an impressive track record of sports excellence and the financial wherewithal to provide long-term financial stability for the Dodgers organization,” Walter said in a statement to Bloomberg News.

Chass goes into more detail about the group, but hesitates at suggesting that other partners could potentially enter the fold. I think this remains a possibility. Check out what Murray Chass has to say right here.

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On another front, Business Insider notes that Steve Cohen is so interested in the Dodgers that he has already hired an architect for Dodger Stadium.

With his financial muscle (potential SEC problems aside) and support from local businessmen like David Geffen and Eli Broad, maybe a combined effort from Kasten and Cohen might be in order.

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