Magic Johnson smiles as he and Guggenheim Baseball Management are introduced… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
So you thought maybe they didn’t get it, huh? That Magic Johnson sitting next to Frank McCourt at the season opener signaled he had lived in Los Angeles and somehow missed all the animosity that had built up against McCourt.
Then there was the money quote from Wednesday’s new ownership news conference. Growing frustrated at repeated questions about McCourt’s continued involvement in the parking lots – they claim he has none unless there is future development – Johnson finally said this:
“Let’s move forward, please,” Johnson said. “Frank’s not here. He’s not a part of the Dodgers anymore. We should be clapping for just that.”
Now who can’t applaud that?
After the news conference I asked Johnson whether he had a keen sense of the frustration and even hostility built up against McCourt throughout Los Angeles.
“Of course, you’d have to be living under a rock if you didn’t understand the disappointment, the dislike that’s been going on,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, there’s nothing we can do about that. The only thing we can do is come in and prove to the fans that we’re different. That we care about them, that we care about their fan experience here at Dodger Stadium, we care about winning, we care about being a best-in-class organization.
“Look, I was disappointed too. I’m a fan too. You have to remember, I’ve been coming here a long time.”
Johnson said he was sitting by McCourt at the season opener only to pick his brain, because that’s simply smart business. Believe that if you’d like – he couldn’t do that in private some other time? – but he clearly seems to understand the public outrage over McCourt’s ownership.
“I can’t sit here and talk about Frank, because I don’t know what’s been going on,” he said. “I now the parking. But my thing is, it’s a new day, it’s a new era. The only thing I want to be judged on is what we do and how we deliver.
“You can tell there’s new life, new passion. I’ve been going everywhere. I got a standing ovation twice at different restaurants. People feel good that there is change here, and we’re going to build on that.”
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