Dodgers New Owners Introduce Themselves + Take Shots At Frank McCourt

Via Vin Scully Is My Homeboy

With the Dodgers finalizing the transfer of ownership from Frank McCourt to Guggenheim Partners yesterday, the new owners held a press conference today to answer questions and make statements about the state of the team.

It went well.

“We’re not going to gouge the fans just because we paid a nice sum for this franchise,” Johnson said, disclosing that general parking would come down from $15 to $10. “We don’t want the fans to think because we wrote a big check [$2 billion], we’re going to stop writing checks for talent. We don’t want people to think we’re short on money now. That’s not the case.”

In what is a solid public relations move, Magic Johnson announced that the team would reduce parking prices.

Most importantly though, he says that they will pay for talent. Will they just throw money at the situation though?

No, says Stan Kasten.

“We have to make a [scouting and development] commitment nationally and, more importantly, internationally.”

How about concerns that Mark Walter will meddle in personnel decisions like Frank McCourt did from time to time?

How about the team’s image with fans and the public?

“I especially liked what Magic said about not having to reinvent the wheel, and what Kasten said about [players] interacting with fans. Fred Claire, when he was in charge of public relations, used to send us out in uniform to do clinics in places like Pasadena, Compton, the San Fernando Valley — all over Southern California. The fans here love baseball and proved it over the years.”

“Mr. O’Malley, you put pride in the Dodgers,” Johnson said, asking the former owner to stand. “What we want to do is bring the pride back to the city and organization. We want to win on the field and make sure the fans have the best experience they’ve ever had. We want to make sure it’s fan-friendly and safe.”

But wait, doesn’t Frank McCourt still get a share of the parking lot revenue?

In response to repeated questions about McCourt possibly capitalizing on parking revenue, Johnson and Walter quashed that possibility — Magic firmly so, in no uncertain terms.

“We own it 100 percent,” Johnson said. “He won’t get a dime for the parking.”

Walter stressed that McCourt can profit only from future development, adding, “We don’t have any current plans for development. Nothing can be developed unless we think it’s good for us.”

Thankfully, there was no “there’s a new sheriff in town” moment, nor was there a sign of impending disaster.

I have to say that they got their reign off to a great start by holding a near flawless introductory press conference.

Why not completely flawless?

Kasten will work alongside general manager Ned Colletti in personnel matters in an effort to return the Dodgers to a place of consistent excellence.

Makes it sound like Ned Colletti will be sticking around or something. Ugh.

I’ve expressed my concern with that before, but I’ve also said that if Stan Kasten thinks keeping him on board is the right move, then I’ll try to evaluate him as a different GM under the new regime.

In Stan we trust, right?

We’ll see, but Colletti is now easily the part of the organization that I’m most concerned about.

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Magic Johnson and Mark Walter both took parting shots at Frank McCourt, even if they weren’t direct.

Glorious.

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