Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen is going to bid on the Dodgers

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If I had $8 billion to my name, you can pretty much assume that I’d be buying a baseball team. Don’t care which one, even. I’d buy one and hire all of my baseball man-crushes to run it and/or play for it and I’d sit in the owner’s box with the kind of women who like to hang out with octbillionaires while eating and drinking like I was a Roman emperor and there’s nothing you could do to stop me.

Connecticut-based hedge fund manager Steven Cohen has eight billion dollars. He may not have the same vision I have about how he’d behave as a baseball owner, but he certainly wants a baseball team. Or so says the L.A. Times. And he is serious about it:

Steven Cohen, a billionaire eight times over, is bidding for the Dodgers in a process tilted toward the high bidder. However, the East Coast hedge-fund executive is not content to let his wealth speak for itself. He has engaged one of America’s notable sports architecture firms to propose renovations to Dodger Stadium, allied himself with one of baseball’s power brokers, secured the support of at least two prominent Angelenos and met with several major league owners.

The power broker in question is agent Arn Tellem, who insiders think would run the Dodgers in some way, possibly as team president, if Cohen wins the auction for the team.

Cohen was last heard of in baseball circles back in April when he was said to be considering buying into the Mets. That never went anywhere, probably because guys with that kind of money and power typically don’t care to take a non-controlling interest in companies. Owning the Dodgers, however, is a different thing altogether.

Also a different thing: Cohen’s company, SAC Capital Advisors, has been in the news this year as a result of having two of its fund managers plead guilty to insider trading. Cohen has not been implicated, nor has the company as a whole, but there have been subpoenas and things and that kind of thing is always a mess.

It remains to be seen if that would cause Major League Baseball any headaches.  Though, as the article says, given that the Dodgers are being sold at auction, the league has a slightly smaller role to play in approving bidders than it normally would, with Frank McCourt having recourse to the bankruptcy court if he feels MLB is unreasonably withholding approval of a potential buyer.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.