The WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks are now property of the Dodgers. Sort of.
Under the terms of a just-completed sale, the Sparks belong to five of the six people who own the Dodgers: Magic Johnson, Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. Peter Guber, who co-owns both the Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors, isn’t involved in the Sparks purchase.
Colleague Jill Painter reports that Johnson was the only member of the unnamed group who spoke Wednesday at a press conference at Staples Center. Johnson said that he and Walter decided about two weeks ago to place a bid on the franchise while the two were sharing a flight. “We came in at the 11th hour,” Johnson said.
Kasten, the Dodgers’ president and CEO, declined comment on what his role would be beyond financier.
Yesterday we speculated about whether Sparks games would wind up on SportsNet LA if the Dodgers purchased the Sparks. That won’t happen.
The Sparks have a contract with Time Warner through 2016. Time Warner owns TWC SportsNet, which has been carrying Sparks games the past two seasons. The Dodgers (technically, American Media Productions) own SportsNet LA.
Some bullet points for a National Weatherperson’s Day:
• Johnson said the Dodgers “could have sold 50,000 season tickets.” They’ve capped season-ticket sales around 32,000 after 98 percent of fans renewed their plans from 2013.
• From the coulda, woulda, shoulda department: Then-Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta once passed up a chance to interview an aspiring baseball executive named Farhan Zaidi. So did the Toronto Blue Jays. The A’s eventually, reluctantly interviewed Zaidi, then eagerly hired him. Recently he spearheaded the signing of Yoenis Cespedes and was even more recently promoted to assistant GM.
• Here’s what I took from this analysis of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s peripheral statistics and 2014 projections: No one offering their opinion thinks he will improve on his rookie season.
• Via MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, a spring training preview.
• Where have all the Mexican prospects gone? ThinkBlueLA.com identifies some of the hindrances to developing star players south of the border.
• TheSportingNews.com picked the “iconic moment” for all 30 MLB teams. Can you guess the Dodgers’ most iconic moment? We’ll wait.
• San Diego Padres left-hander Corey Luebke is an unlucky man. He missed all of 2013 and most of 2012 following Tommy John surgery. Tuesday he learned his left ulnar collateral ligament is torn again, and he’ll have to undergo another Tommy John procedure that will force him to miss the 2014 season. The Padres won’t pursue free-agent starter Bronson Arroyo, who’s still talking to the Dodgers.
• Tracy McGrady, the retired 34-year-old NBA forward, plans to pitch professionally this year.
• “I’m Not Moving ” by Phil Collins could slip into a contemporary Spotify playlist and I wouldn’t blink. Don’t be fooled. This song is from 1980: