Magic Johnson told Bill Plashcke of the Los Angeles Times that he’s putting together a group to buy the Dodgers.
His group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Mark Walter, chief executive of Guggenheim Partners. To the extent that Major League Baseball has a say in who buys — and they will, although less than usual given the bankruptcy auction backdrop — having Kasten on board is pretty big. He’s a favorite of Selig’s, who put Kasten together with the Lerners in Washington when they bought the Expos/Nationals.
Johnson — while clearly the face of this group — would be more than a mere figurehead. He has sports ownership experience given a previous stake in the Lakers and a stake in the Dayton Dragons minor league team. He’s sort of a renaissance mogul, with numerous business and philanthropic interests.
UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, Johnson confirmed his interest via Twitter: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Dodgers legacy & bring a World Series championship back to LA.”
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.