Peter O’Malley, whose family owned the Dodgers for nearly half a century, said Wednesday he would like to run the team once again.
O’Malley said he hopes to lead an investment group that would buy the Dodgers, enabling him to return as the team’s chief executive.
“I want to reconnect the team and the community,” O’Malley said.
When he spoke out last fall, in urging owner Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers, O’Malley said he had no interest in returning as owner or president of the team.
McCourt agreed to sell on Tuesday, in an abrupt end to his two-year court fight to retain ownership of the Dodgers.
“The health of the organization has deteriorated in the last 12 months,” O’Malley said. “The standing of the organization in the community has deteriorated.
“I am confident I can restore it to respectability quicker, sooner and probably better than — or at least as well as — anyone else.”
O’Malley, 73, called the revival of the Dodgers his top priority beyond his family and said he hoped to run the team for several years.
“I think I’m in good health,” he said. “I believe I have the energy.”
O’Malley discussed his plans Wednesday with baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
O’Malley declined to identify any of his possible investors but said he has no concerns about assembling a group that could pay the $1 billion or more that might be necessary to buy the Dodgers. He said he has met with some prospective investors and would meet with others, with the intention of assembling a group that would be “basically local.”
His father, Walter, moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. The Dodgers won the World Series six times under O’Malley family ownership — five times in Los Angeles — but they did not win a playoff game between 1988 and 2004.
In 1982, the Dodgers attracted a club-record 3.6 million fans to Dodger Stadium. Teams no longer announce their turnstile count, but the Dodgers were expected to attract between 2.1 million and 2.2 million fans this season, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court testimony.
Peter O’Malley sold the team to Fox for $311 million in 1998; Fox sold the Dodgers to McCourt for $421 million in 2004.
When he sold the Dodgers, Peter O’Malley said the family could no longer afford the baseball business. He said Wednesday he had “no regrets at all” about the decision to sell and said a new ownership group would depend upon the outside financial backers that had not been part of his family’s ownership structure.
As a Dodgers fan, O’Malley said, he was troubled that the on-field excellence of pitcher Clayton Kershaw and outfielder Matt Kemp were overshadowed by the Bankruptcy Court showdown between McCourt and Selig.
“The players had extraordinary seasons. Unfortunately, the focus was elsewhere,” O’Malley said.
“I want L.A. to be proud of the Dodgers, from top to bottom. As you read the blogs and hear people talk, the institution is not as highly regarded and respected as it should be. That has to be resolved quickly.”