THEN: Jamie and Frank McCourt were all smiles in 2004. (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
The Times banner headline Wednesday morning shouted “It’s Showtime for Dodgers.”
As staff writers Bill Shaikin and David Wharton wrote:
“A group led by Lakers legend Magic Johnson emerged Tuesday night as the new owners of the Dodgers, ending months of uncertainty for the storied but troubled baseball franchise.”
Letter writers to The Times quickly pitched their thoughts, some celebratory -- but many also tinged with disappointment. Amid the euphoria, the cloudy era of Frank McCourt was neither forgiven nor forgotten.
Rich Minahan of Huntington Beach’s email -- alluding to the hefty sale price -- was direct:
“Thank you Magic, thank you. Two billion times THANK YOU.”
In North Hollywood, Greg Nersesyan had a different take:
“Let this be a lesson to all you kids. If you too are gift-wrapped a very valuable civic institution and, in turn, manage to straddle it with heavy debt, ignore your customers and overall act beyond repulsion, then yes, you too can become a billionaire.”
Jeff Turkell of Los Angeles was less than enthusiastic:
“What a shocking, sickening price to pay off the McCourts. Magic has a great personality, but he and his group know that money is coming from all of us who will pay higher prices for cable or satellite TV, and who will buy astronomically-priced tickets. Folks, we lost.”
And Arthur A. Fleisher in Northridge turned to a baseball golden oldie:
“What should have been ‘Joy in Mudville’ has been ruined by allowing Frank McCourt to keep and have his name associated with even the smallest part of the Dodger franchise.
For the price paid he should be gone, gone, gone from the L.A. Dodgers!”
Wayne Muramatsu in Cerritos had some advice for Magic Johnson:
“The Dodgers have been in turmoil on and off the field under McCourt's ownership. Yet, Magic Johnson said the new owners ‘intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt.’
What fantastic foundation? Unlike the NBA, the Dodgers are not fantastic.
Hopefully, Johnson was misquoted. Otherwise, Magic's ownership should just be limited to his smile as the face of the franchise.”
And Robert Imm of Sunland offered this challenge to the team’s fans:
“I love everything about this transaction except for the fact that McCourt keeps a small land stake. I am sorry, but for me, that sours the whole deal. We need this man out of our lives.
I’ve got six bucks here in my wallet. All we need is $150,000,001 to rid ourselves of this dark cloud.
Who’s with me?”
So Johnson’s group has paid a huge price -- $2 billion, a record for a sports franchise -- but it remains to be seen whether it has bought the hearts, and wallets, of long-suffering Dodger fans.
Bill Plaschke: Magic Johnson is perfect fit for Dodgers
Steve Lopez: The shame of being a Dodgers fan is over
T.J. Simers: Smile, it's Magic! What could go wrong? Well . . .