It is not uncommon for an athlete to aspire to own a team after his playing days are over, but Brandon McCarthy already is an owner.
The Dodgers pitcher is a minority owner of Phoenix Rising FC, a minor league soccer team here that has applied for membership in Major League Soccer. McCarthy, who makes his home in the Phoenix area, joined an investment group that bought the team seven months ago.
That enables him to learn about such topics as marketing, facility management and stadium financing, so he can decide whether to get more heavily into the business side of sports after he retires.
“I’m too stupid to know right now exactly what I want to do, and I’m too much into this career,” he said. “I could get out in a few years and realize ownership is for the birds and I’d rather just paint.”
McCarthy said he played soccer in his childhood.
“I kind of did the American thing,” he said. “I stopped when I was 13 and focused on another sport. I’d like to see that change more as I get older, where it’s not just a way for parents to let little kids run off energy. I’d like it to be a serious pursuit for a lot of America’s athletes.”
However, he does not subscribe to a grand vision of America winning the World Cup by persuading its best athletes to stick with soccer.
“A lot of our best athletes are too big for it,” he said. “People talk about, ‘What if LeBron [James] played soccer?’ Well, nobody LeBron’s size plays soccer anywhere in the world.
“You’d just like to see our very good athletes playing, where it’s less of a marginalized sport … It’s a quick, fun, accessible game. There’s less money and less time needed to play than in other sports. I’d like to see it become more popular.”
The Dodgers are soliciting bids for minority ownership. Based on Forbes’ estimated $2.5-billion franchise value, a 1% share of the Dodgers would cost $25 million.
McCarthy would not say how much he invested into the ownership of a soccer club but smiled as he said it was “significantly less than $25 million.”
Cody Bellinger the big bat?
If the Dodgers need offense as the season progresses, they might give Cody Bellinger a shot before making a trade.
Bellinger, 21, is the Dodgers’ top prospect and is expected to start the season at triple-A Oklahoma City. He is a first baseman, but the Dodgers have made sure to work him out at all three outfield positions this spring.
“He just looks natural regardless of where we put him,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “When he arrives, I’d feel comfortable putting him anywhere on the diamond.”
The Dodgers’ left fielders ranked 13th among the 15 National League teams in OPS last season, the right fielders 12th. Bellinger could become an intriguing option if Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke struggle against right-handers.
“There are certain players that just look right in a uniform, and look like major league players,” Roberts said. “Cody fits that description.”
Bellinger batted third for the Dodgers in their 7-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. He batted .271 with 26 home runs and a .365 on-base percentage last season, split between Oklahoma City and double-A Tulsa.
Bellinger is ranked among baseball’s top 10 prospects by Baseball America and mlb.com, and he gets messages from friends that see his picture on MLB Network.
“It’s cool. I’m not going to lie,” he said. “Seeing your name up there is showing all the hard work is paying off. At the end of the day, the goal is the big leagues, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin