Daily Distractions: The Dodgers are the new World Series favorites.

Yasiel Puig fans

Dodgers fans have pushed the team to first in Major League Baseball in attendance. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

The Dodgers’ fortunes came full circle today, when online oddsmaker Bovada released its list of World Series favorites with the Dodgers on top at 9 to 2.

To recap, then:

The Dodgers have gone from the preseason favorites with baseball’s highest payroll, to midseason busts on the verge of firing their manager, to favorites once again by winning 40 of 48 games.

Friday served as a reminder of how things might have been when the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers’ weekend opponent, fired manager Charlie Manuel with 40 games left in their season. Ryne Sandberg will take over on an interim basis.

It was supposed to be Don Mattingly not long ago. Now it’s Mattingly who will be opposing Jim Leyland from the opposite bench in the 2013 World Series, if these odds are any indication:

Los Angeles Dodgers   9/2
Detroit Tigers    5/1
Atlanta Braves    13/2
Boston Red Sox    15/2
St. Louis Cardinals    10/1
Tampa Bay Rays    11/1
Texas Rangers    11/1
Cincinnati Reds    12/1
Oakland Athletics    12/1
Pittsburgh Pirates    12/1

On a related note, Gary Sheffield is buying in. He tells Dodgers Nation: “I think they have the chips to make it.”

Some bullet points for the weekend:

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Dodgers-Boston Red Sox game selected for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball on August 25.

ESPN logoThe Dodgers’ game against the Boston Red Sox scheduled for August 25 was chosen today for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast, which will begin at 5 p.m. local time and 8 p.m. Eastern. Earlier this month, the Dodgers-Tampa Bay Rays game scheduled for August 11 was also chosen by ESPN for a Sunday night telecast.

The Dodgers are the only team based outside the Eastern time zone that will be featured on Sunday night baseball in August. The September SNB participants will be announced in two weeks.

On a practical level, there’s some good news for the Dodgers: Neither Sunday night game is followed by a game in Los Angeles. The Dodgers will stay in the Eastern time zone, traveling from Tampa to New York, for an August 12 game against the Mets. After their Sunday night game against the Red Sox, the Dodgers visit the Chicago Cubs.

Forbes values Dodgers at $1.615 billion.

Dodgers logoThe Dodgers are still not worth as much as their purchase price, according to Forbes magazine’s latest MLB franchise valuations released Wednesday.

Forbes places the Dodgers’ value at $1.615 billion, less than the $2 million paid a year ago by Guggenheim Baseball Management but more than the $1.37 billion the franchise was valued at a year ago.

Among all MLB teams the Dodgers are second only to the Yankees, valued at $2.3 billion, and one of only four billion-dollar franchises along with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

Forbes’ list of values for all 30 teams can be found here.

Of the Dodgers, Forbes writes:
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Say hello to ‘SportsNet LA’.

The Dodgers and Time Warner Cable officially announced the creation of a new channel, SportsNet LA, this morning.

In effect, the Dodgers will be televised on their own regional sports network beginning in the 2014 season. The next challenge will be to secure distribution among the local carriers. TWC has already agreed to be the charter distributor throughout Southern California and Hawaii.

Here’s the full text of the press release from TWC:

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