The current ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which as you know includes NBA legend Magic Johnson, paid $2.15 billion for the team — the most ever for a sports franchise. They are expected to have a payroll of $230 million in 2013, which is the highest in baseball history. The team is also planning to spend over $100 million in stadium upgrades and improvements.
You think they’re gonna roll out that type of red carpet for a school marching band? That certainly isn’t the plan. The Dodgers have won only two playoff series in the past 25 years, but the new ownership group is thinking big. How big? Dynasty big.
During an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, Dodgers CEO Mark Walter was asked if he feels it is possible for any team to duplicate what the Atlanta Braves did when they won 14 consecutive division titles.
“It’s going to be done again, this time on the West Coast,” Walter said. “Oh, sorry.”
Dodgers president Stan Kasten happened to be the president of the Braves during that incredible run of success. While he was less specific than Walter with his prediction, the message was the same.
“I’m saying, ‘Yes.’” Kasten added. “But that’s all I’m going to say.”
LA certainly has the names. Whether you’re talking about Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett or Andre Ethier, the team isn’t lacking star power. The Dodgers’ roster will do wonders for ticket sales, but it will also keep expectations sky-high. Fans are not going to be patient, and why should they be?
Let us also remember that the Dodgers are in a division with the San Francisco Giants, who happen to be the reining World Series champions and have won two titles in the past three years. If LA intends to build a dynasty similar to the one the Braves had under Bobby Cox, they’ll have to start by beating the best.
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