McCourt: ‘It’s time to win’

Times Staff Writer

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Noting the addition of Joe Torre, the signings of high-priced free agents Andruw Jones and Hiroki Kuroda, and the increased maturity of the young players, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt made clear Tuesday what he expects from his team this year.

“It’s time to win,” McCourt said.

McCourt, who is beginning his fifth season as club chairman, rejected the idea that he is less patient now than he was as a new owner. Told that he appeared impatient, he said, “I don’t think impatient is the word. If we’re doing our job, we should be improving and moving toward the ultimate goal. I feel not that I’m impatient, I just feel we’re getting closer to where we need to get to, which is a culture of winning.”

McCourt said he thought the Dodgers could have traded for any of the big names that were available this winter, among them Johan Santana and Erik Bedard. But dealing for players of that stature would have cost the Dodgers multiple young players -- players McCourt referred to as the team’s “nucleus” who this spring “look more like adults.”


General Manager Ned Colletti has done a good job improving the team while keeping that nucleus intact, McCourt said. He added that he didn’t want team officials to be afraid to make decisions because they feared failing.

“Out of failure comes success,” McCourt said. “Now, that isn’t permission for people to make random decisions and not do their homework.”

That homework was done when the Dodgers signed Jason Schmidt, he said.

McCourt expressed optimism that this could be the season the Dodgers’ attendance reaches 4 million. Last season’s total attendance at Dodger Stadium was 3.86 million.

“If it happens this year, I think that’s going to be spectacular,” he said. “But if it doesn’t happen this year, it’ll happen next year.”