There were a number of fresh faces on the major-league fields today who migrated from the Dodgers’ minor-league camp.
“That’s kind of been a plan — just talking about integrating” the two sides, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve tried to hit on the back field early in camp. When the pitchers are doing their work, we’ve had guys hitting back there with the minor leaguers. It was only three days this year, so they lockered over here. During those first two camps they were lockering over there. Where you get the minor league guys get exposed to Matt (Kemp) and different guys. I think it’s nice that we’ve got a little bit of a new program where our guys can work out together.
“That’s been the development-side thinking, trying to integrate those guys. I know we’ve got some guys who are going to go over and talk to the kids. We’re all one. … I had to talk about it this morning, what (team president) Stan (Kasten) has talked about is building the system back. I know that when you bring all these guys in that we’ve brought in at once, that’s big, bold splashes right away to kind of get the team on opportunity right away. But you listen to Magic (Johnson) and Stan and these guys, they want to try to win every year. To do that, that side over there has got to get strong, where that’s coming through. We need to keep integrating. The idea of having the clubhouses closer, having them all together. When those guys know it’s not that far away it’s a good thing.”
Mattingly added that the minor-league players aren’t missing out on anything they wouldn’t be doing otherwise by switching sides, as both camps have integrated new training methods this year.
Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson made the media rounds today to talk about the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
Dodgers chairman Mark Walter blew away the other bidders when his Guggenheim Baseball Management submitted a billion-dollar bid to buy the team out of bankruptcy in March.
From his seat in the owners’ box at Dodger Stadium, where he is among the team’s most vociferous cheerleaders most nights, Walter continues to blow everyone away with cash. The latest strike: The most expensive trade in the history of Major League Baseball, which brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers on Saturday.
As Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com wrote today: “The Dodgers are trying to money-slap the opposition en route to the World Series.”
Asked if there’s a ceiling to how much the Dodgers can spend, Walter replied, smiling: “Somewhere, I suppose.”
The historical significance of Magic Johnson’s latest feat was lost on a few Dodgers, but not Jerry Hairston Jr.
To Hairston, whose grandfather Sam became the first black player to play for the Chicago White Sox in 1951, it’s special to play for the league’s first black (part-)owner in Johnson.
“I think Jackie Robinson would be very proud today,” Hairston said.
A self-described “history buff” –as well as a third-generation major-leaguer — Hairston sees the civil rights movement through a unique lens.
Lakers owner Jerry Buss today joined his star player, Kobe Bryant, by chiming in on Magic Johnson’s purchase of the Dodgers:
“Magic Johnson is probably the most beloved sports figure in Los Angeles history,” Buss said in a statement. “In addition to being a phenomenal success on the court in leading the Lakers to five NBA Championships, he has been a success in everything else he’s become involved with, most notably his spectacular business career and also his educationa
campaign on behalf of HIV awareness. I’d like to congratulate Magic and his partners on their acquisition of the Dodgers and wish them the best of luck.”
On a day when no one wearing a Dodger uniform could avoid a question about the change in ownership, Tommy Lasorda was no exception.
Surrounded by reporters outside the team’s spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona, today, Lasorda addressed his future with the club as a “special advisor” to the owner, as well as his relationship with Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten, two members of the incoming ownership group.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement Wednesday, posted on MLB.com:
“It is extraordinarily exciting for Major League Baseball that Magic Johnson, a beloved figure in Los Angeles and around the world, has entered into an agreement, along with Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, that would make them a part of our national pastime.
“I believe that a man of Magic’s remarkable stature and experience can play an integral role for one of the game’s most historic franchises, in a city where he is revered. Major League Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and Magic Johnson is a living embodiment of so many of the ideals that are vital to our game and its future.
“The interest in this franchise and its historic sale price are profound illustrations of the great overall health of our industry. This has been a long, difficult process, and I once again want to thank the great Dodger fans for their loyalty and patience.”
In case you missed it, a group led by Magic Johnson was selected as the next owner of the Dodgers tonight. Here are the preliminary details.
There are some good questions that remain to be answered as of this moment.Why did the deal go down so soon after Major League Baseball owners approved the final three groups of bidders? What were Frank McCourt’s sticking points? What will the team’s next television package look like, and does the incoming ownership group already know?
If these questions haven’t been answered by the time McCourt and the Guggenheim Group sit down for a press conference later this week in Los Angeles (the exact date and location are TBA), they will be asked with Magic Johnson and his cohorts on the dais.
Here are some things we do know: