ST. LOUIS -- Magic Johnson knows a bit about playoff intensity. He won five NBA championships with the Lakers. Now, in his first season as co-owner of the Dodgers, the team is four victories from its first World Series in 25 years.
All that playoff experience is not keeping him calm. As he stood behind the batting cage before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Johnson said he could control the game as a player in a way he cannot as an owner.
"This is worse," Johnson said. "I can't stand it. I'm nervous. I'm crazy. I gotta sit in the stands and be more nervous, and crazier."
Johnson called the Cardinals a model of long-term success that the Dodgers hope to emulate. The Cardinals are in their third consecutive NLCS, and they have gotten to the NLCS in each of the two years since Albert Pujols left for the Angels.
"They have won so many years in a row, losing players -- Pujols -- and they still got here. It is truly amazing," Johnson said. "And the fans, all dressed up in red. It’s outstanding what they have built here. We want to build the same thing back in L.A."