Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ramona Shelburne Nails The Dodgers' Debutante Parade

Four days left before preliminary bids are due, and ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne does a fine job of stepping back and assessing why the Dodgers, despite Frank McCourt's encumbrances and the organization's weakened state, is still a hot ticket that promises to be a contested battle of billionaires:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Rob Reiner is a serious movie producer and a funny guy. So when he stepped to the podium to present an award at the ninth-annual Pro Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner late last week, everything that came out of his mouth had several layers of meaning.

The ballroom at this swanky Beverly Hills hotel was packed with baseball luminaries. No fewer than a half a dozen Hall of Famers were in attendance for what's become something of a winter meeting in Los Angeles since former sports agent Dennis Gilbert's began hosting the fundraiser nine years ago.

Reiner took one look at the crowd and laughed.

"Show of hands," Reiner said, clearly going a bit off script. "Who in this room isn't trying to buy the Dodgers?"

The audience erupted in nervous laughter, relieved someone had let the air out of the balloon hovering above the room. I counted no fewer than four prospective ownership groups in attendance -- Peter O'Malley, Gilbert, Joe Torre, and members of the group headed by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten -- and none of them could say a word because they've signed non-disclosure agreements with the Blackstone group, the New York-based investment firm handling the sale of the team.

About the only man in the room who could provide a bit of an answer to Reiner's question was baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who was in attendance to shake Gilbert's hand and present an award to longtime executive Al Rosen.

"It's a manifestation of how popular the sport is," Selig said, when asked why the Los Angeles Dodgers have attracted so many potential bidders since Frank McCourt announced he would sell the team.

"We have five or six terrific groups, or maybe even more and I'm very confident that out of that will come an excellent owner. You look at the quality of the people in each group and they're very very good."

Shoot, I myself would be trying to buy the Dodgers, if this blog was only a tad more profitable (DelinO's paycheck is out of control, I tell you). But besides the fact that I'm jealous about Shelburne's dining options, I also liked the way she ended the piece:

The problem is that the Dodgers and their fans have suffered long enough. Their next owner needs to be simple and uncomplicated. Unfunny, maybe. But of noble intention.

As Kemp put it: "It doesn't really matter to me who owns the team as long as they have the same interests as me, and that's winning."

Leave it to the true MVP to break it down to what really matters. Let the best billionaire win.

5 comments:

Fernie V said...

Great story, crappy pic, starting reading it by accident.

Steve Sax said...

I'd argue not *everyone* in that pic is crappy.

Jason said...

Second row, far left: dibs!

DodgersKings323 said...

That movie BRidesmaids sucks balls, don't bother watching it

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

I still haven't seen Bridesmaids.