You focus on the Magic, I'm still looking at the $2 billion
Frank McCourt's departure from the baseball scene is great news. Magic Johnson's arrival might be, too. But back to that number: $2 billion. A baseball team just sold for $2 billion -- in cash, no debt. Amazing.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Two billion.
That's what still gets me about the Dodgers sale.
Not the exciting arrival of Magic Johnson. Not the even-more-exciting departure of Frank McCourt.
A baseball team just sold for $2 billion.
"Imagine what [McCourt] would have gotten if he had spent a little money on paint," one major-league coach quipped, noting how McCourt had allowed Dodger Stadium (and much of the rest of his franchise) to rot in recent years.
There's a lot we still don't know about what happens to the Dodgers as a result of the sale agreement announced late Tuesday night. But here's what we do know:
Baseball franchises are more valuable than ever. And baseball players now figure to get even richer than ever.
"I would assume every player in baseball is happy to see that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday, when asked about the $2 billion price that Johnson's group will pay.
When McCourt first started suggesting to people last fall that he was going to get at least $1.5 billion for the team, plenty of people in baseball scoffed. Even in the last few weeks, people insisted that McCourt would never get even $1.5 billion if he didn't turn over the parking lots.
Just this month, Forbes estimated that the Dodgers were worth $1.4 billion.
They sold for 43 percent more than that. In cash. With another $150 million for a share of the land Dodger Stadium and its parking lots sit on. And no debt, which should help the new owners operate the team with a mega-payroll.
That's as opposed to McCourt, who bought the Dodgers for $371 million (with plenty of debt) eight years ago, then tried to operate it on a mid-market payroll.
McCourt's critics -- and by the end, who wasn't a critic? -- liked to say that he was running a proud franchise into the ground.
That team he ran into the ground just sold for $2 billion.
Crazy game, isn't it?