In a letter to Commissioner Bud Selig, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has requested that MLB see to it that the next Dodgers’ owner be an LA resident. That may or may not be a good idea.
Even with Peter O’Malley’s reported interest in re-acquiring the Dodgers, by far the guy still topping the list of new owner prospects is Mark Cuban. Cuban is glued to no one community, having spent about half of his life in Pittsburgh and the other half in Texas. He has the personality to captivate the LA fan, the professional sports expertise to build a winner, and the fortune to buy the team and have the remaining capital to spend enough to recapture past glory.
Several unasked questions come to mind about O’Malley:
1. How much money does he have, especially in light of his statements about putting together a group to make the purchase? The selling price of the Dodgers’ now will be three to four times what O’Malley received 15 years ago;
3. At 73 years of age, for how long would he actually be in change? What would be his long-range plans for the Dodgers?
4. When LA politicians in the mid-nineties pissed him off by not supporting his plan to acquire an NFL team and build his own football stadium, he had a fit and sold out. How has his opinion of LA politics changed and will he take only so much if things do not go his way, and run out on LA yet again?
5. Perhaps most important of all, does he still have the ability to own and operate a winning team? Through the Fox and McCourt years, LA fans have clamored for the ‘good old days” of the O’Malleys, but the fact is, the Dodgers did not reach the World Series in the last ten years of O’Mallleys ownership.
There are other LA names mentioned in the press as possible buyers of the team, and some are downright scary. One is Tom Werner, current co-owner of the Red Sox, and the man who destroyed the San Diego Padres when he was the owner down south. Some of the other names mentioned are not bad, such as real estate magnate and philanthropist Alan Casden and grocery industry legend Ron Burkle.
While local ownership is a great idea, it is only a great idea for the right local owner. Don;t rule out a guy like Mark Cuban because he lives in Texas. Read up on his background and you’ll see how well he would fit in, in Los Angeles.