OK, first of all I realize that Magic Johnson is not going to be running the Dodgers. I understand that he is part of the team that is buying the Dodgers. Stan Kasten is the main baseball mind in this group. Peter Guber brings the show business know how. Magic very well might simply be the public face and symbol of the new ownership.
Well as symbols go, Magic is a pretty good one.
After the humiliation of the Frank McCourt, Los Angeles needs to have some positivity in terms of the Dodgers.
What sports figure in Los Angeles is bigger and more loved than Magic Johnson?
He was the brightest star in the greatest era in L.A. sports history.
Think about Los Angeles sports in the 1980s. What city had a better decade?
The Dodgers had Fernando mania, Hershiser’s streak, the Gibson homer and were the only team in the decade to win multiple World Series.
The Angels had Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Fred Lynn, two trips to the ALCS (and nearly won both) and were featured in The Naked Gun.
The Raiders were in town and won Super Bowl XVIII.
The 1984 Olympics showcased the city and America (and helped reelect Reagan.)
Even the Kings became glamorous when Wayne Gretzky arrived.
But no team was bigger than the Lakers, who won titles in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
And who personified the Showtime Lakers? That would be Magic.
It’s interesting that the brightest era L.A. sports ever saw ended abruptly when Magic retired after testing positive for HIV.
Los Angeles fell into a dark period in the 1990s. The Lakers didn’t make the Finals for 8 years. The Darryl Strawberry years for the Dodgers were a bust. The Angels had their massive collapse in 1995. The Dodgers were swept in their only two post season appearances. Tom Lasorda had to retire. Wayne Gretzky was traded away. The Rams and Raiders left town.
Practically the only bright spot was Magic’s triumphant performance in the 1992 Olympics. But it says a lot that the best thing to happen in Los Angeles sports for a decade took place in Spain!
The Lakers, Angels (and Ducks) won titles in the 2000s but it is time for the Dodgers to have that sense of glamor and excitement.
Why not have the face of the brightest moments in Los Angeles sports represent a renaissance for the Dodgers?
It’s a more pleasant image than McCourt, isn’t it?