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Sorry this is so hard, but new Dodgers owners earn early praise

August 08, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck

We interrupt this public meltdown from the heat and recent woeful offensive performance by the Dodgers to bring praise. That’s right, to pay tribute, to offer controlled applause and to ever so carefully give accolades to … the Dodgers' new owners.

It’s hard, I know. Very difficult to have faith after you’ve been burned, to dip the toes back into the waters of trust and belief after Frank McCourt’s constant lies and ownership transgressions.

And, sure, the Guggenheim Baseball Management Group got off to a less than auspicious start when Magic Johnson sat next to McCourt at the season opener, they lied about McCourt receiving continued funding from the parking lots and refused to say who in their group owned exactly what piece of the Dodgers. All regrettable.

But they did say to “judge us by our actions,” and thus far, they’ve acted like the Bizarro McCourt.

They said they wanted to reenter the international market on players and did, highlighted by the $42 million spent to sign Cuba’s Yasiel Puig. They said they wanted to keep their core and signed Andre Ethier to an $85-million extension.

They said there was more where the record $2.15 billion came from to purchase the club and would not be afraid to add payroll to improve the team. So they outbid the A’s for Hanley Ramirez by agreeing to pay the rest of the $38 million on his contract. Brought in five players prior to the nonwaiver trade deadline. Put in a failed claim on Cliff Lee that would have cost them an additional $95 million and did not blink.

They said they appreciated the uniqueness of Dodger Stadium but wanted to modernize it, and already have hired respected stadium innovator Janet Marie Smith and hope to have the first phase of the renovation completed before the start of next season.

Right now, they’re being aggressive and spending money. Treating the team and the franchise like something to be valued and invested in, not as an entree to Rodeo Drive.

Maybe it all comes to a crashing stop soon. Maybe it devolves into some kind of frightening Ponzi scheme or Guggenheim starts asking to look at the profit margin or Mark Walter decides he’d rather waste money making movies.

For now, for the first three months, the new owners have been trying to make the right moves. They still have plenty to prove, but begrudgingly or not, for now they deserve kudos to their start. The trust can evolve later.

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