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Dodgers new ownership news conference: Live updates

May 02, 2012|By Mike Hiserman and Houston Mitchell
  • The Dodgers new ownership group shares a laugh after being introduced to the media, They are from left; Todd Boehly, Peter Guber, Earvin ' Magic' Johnson, Mark R. Walter and Bobby Patton.
The Dodgers new ownership group shares a laugh after being introduced to… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

It's a new day at Dodger Stadium, with Wednesday's news conference featuring the new owners. It may seem overcast, but it somehow seems sunny at the stadium.

Vin Scully is the master of ceremonies. Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, Ron Cey, Tommy Davis. Tommy Lasorda and Steve Garvey are in attendance in Dodger jerseys.

Eric Karros and Steve Yeager are here in suits. So is Ned Colletti. Peter O'Malley and Fred Claire -- each part of failed bidding groups -- are here.

First up to speak, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is wearing a Dodgers jacket. The mayor starts by thanking Scully and praising Magic Johnson. The mayor has one piece of advice for Magic: Win. I'm sure Magic hadn't thought of that. Good tip, Mr. Mayor.

The mayor speaks for about 10 minutes, then introduces L.A. Councilman Ed Reyes to a smattering of applause.

10:15 update: Mark Walter, new controlling owner of the team speaks. He says all the right things and then turns it over to the man most fans think is the controlling owner: Magic.

Magic says when he was winning NBA titles, the Dodgers were winning World Series titles. He introduces Peter O'Malley as the man who made the Dodgers great. And he says it is time for them to be great again.

He gives a shout-out to Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Don Mattingly. He talks about giving back to the community. He also seems to be the only person genuinely excited to be there this morning.

"Mr. O'Malley, thank you. Because we don't have to reinvent the wheel, we just have to get it back to where it was before." Obviously, Magic is a big Peter O'Malley fan.

Magic then introduces his wife, Cookie, thereby ensuring he will not have to sleep on the couch tonight. Then he introduces Stan Kasten as a man who tried to lure him from the Lakers to the Atlanta Hawks years ago. "How do you leave the Lakers for the Hawks? But we won't get into that." Magic says.

But then Magic remembers something, and waves Kasten away from the mic for a moment to say: "I used to have the sweetest voice in basketball, Chick Hearn, calling my games. Now I have the sweetest voice in baseball, Vin Scully." And he leads the crowd in a standing ovation for Scully. Boy, Magic always knows how to work a crowd and get it on his side.

10:30 update: Kasten says the stadium will be getting a facelift. That fans will have more access to batting practice and player autographs. That players will occasionally greet fans at the front gate in full uniform. That there was one reason the ownership group was willing to bid $2 billion for the team: "Because it's the Dodgers."

Scully comes back and introduces the rest of the ownership group. You can tell they aren't important because they didn't get to say anything.

Scully then introduces former Dodgers in attendance, including Kenny Lofton. Kenny Lofton?

Then Peter O'Malley is introduced again to another standing ovation.

Then it's time for the great Dodgers of the past to be introduced. No Kenny Lofton here. All introduced as only Vin Scully can: Tommy Lasorda. Don Newcombe. Tommy Davis. Maury Wills. Steve Garvey and Ron Cey.

Up next, Ron Manfred from Major League Baseball.

10:45 update: Manfred, the executive vice president of Major League Baseball, welcomes the new owners and speaks for Commissioner Bud Selig, who is not there. Shouldn't the commissioner of the sport be there when one of the marquee franchises gets sold?

Scully then apologizes because he and Magic were supposed to play a game of basketball, one-on-one, shirts against skins. But unfortunately he suffered a split infinitive while calling the Washington Nationals series and will be unable to compete.

Vin then says Bill Russell, who it was earlier said was not there, is in fact there. Which seems appropriate, since Russell was often the overlooked member of the Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey infield.

Time for the Q&A: After a question from Jim Hill, Magic Johnson almost breaks down and has to stop and collect himself when talking about Jackie Robinson. The best moment of the news conference by far.

One final note: Kasten announced that they have set up an email for fans to send suggestions on how to improve their experience at the game. That address: fanbox@ladodgers.com.

We will have more on today's news conference later today on latimes.com/sports


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