By Steve Dilbeck
5:31 PM PDT, March 27, 2012
This is the part where I try not to act all gleeful, and fail miserably. Fail happily.
Magic Johnson’s group has won the Dodgers.
Can you paint a monster grin in a blog? Is there an app for that? Who knew failing could be so completely wondrous.
One Los Angeles icon merges with another. Really, it's so terrific that right now I can't even be bothered that Frank McCourt is miraculously going to walk away from this with a cool billion.
We have someone who knows, understands and appreciates Los Angeles. Someone worthy of being the face of a local cultural treasure.
So Magic doesn't know baseball. So what? You know what he does know? How to win. How to connect with the fans. How to build something from almost nothing. And he's smart enough to recognize what he doesn’t know.
That’s why he hooked up with Stan Kasten, the former executive of the Braves and the Nationals. They still need a knowledgeable general manager. So maybe they give Ned Colletti some time, maybe they bring in a Dennis Gilbert, maybe they pick from a list of worthy people.
Because people are going to want to work with Magic. With the McCourts, it was an amazing, embarrassing carousel of management turnover. Good people who just couldn't work with them.
The Dodgers have spent two years going through an emotional wringer, deflated by a never-ending series of mind-numbing, selfish ownership moves. The city, the fans, the community, lost faith. Attendance crumbled. Players and coaches did their best, but there was an unhealthy pallor over the franchise.
Magic will energize the entire organization. He'll return a belief that ownership is out to win and cares about the fans.
Let’s face it, $2 billion is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a sports team. It almost doubled the previous American record (the Miami Dolphins, $1.1 billion three years ago). And, of course, a reasonably small percentage of that $2 billion is actually coming from Magic.
But he will be the face of the team, he will oversee it, he will give it new life. Back in October, when Magic sold his 4.5% share of the Lakers, I wrote: "Organize the rallies, kiss the babies, beat the drums -- Magic Johnson for Dodgers owner."
I urged a campaign start to bring Magic over as the Dodgers owner. Yeah, it seemed far-fetched a the time. Magic’s response: He didn’t want to buy the Dodgers but would be interested in bringing an NFL team back to Los Angeles.
Ah! How that turned! Magic is here. And I can't pretend for a moment that I'm not gleeful. It is one happy day for the Dodgers and Los Angeles.
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