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MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Dodgers sure to get a winner in new owner

Moore: Dodgers sure to get a winner in new owner

Dodgers sure to get a winner in new owner
Here's yet another sign of baseball's sustained popularity and health after years, decades and centuries: The slew of potential buyers for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

What makes all of this even more impressive is the quality of those potential buyers.

Just about the only persons of note who seemingly haven't submitted opening bids to purchase the Dodgers are the Queen of England, Mitt Romney and the heirs of Thurston Howell III.

More specifically, you know baseball is prospering when one of its premier franchises is highly sought after by even folks prominently connected to other professional sports -- like Mark Cuban and Magic Johnson, for instance.

According to sources for the Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Rams owner Stank Kroenke also has "explored" his options regarding the purchasing of the Dodgers.

This is fun to watch.

As I wrote months ago, I'm hoping the Dodgers go back to the future with Peter O'Malley, whose family owned the franchise for nearly a half-century.

The Dodgers flourished on and off the field during most of the O'Malleys' reign through 1998. Those Dodgers had legendary Hall of Famers, teams that won pennants and World Series championships, The Dodger Way, a stadium that eternally sparkled, Tommy Lasorda and the aura of professionalism wrapped in class.

Now Peter O'Malley wishes to return after relinquishing control of the Dodgers to Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. O'Malley sold the team for more than $300 million, which was a record at the time for a professional sports franchise in the United States. Then, in 2004, Murdoch's group sold the Dodgers to Frank McCourt for around $430 million.

McCourt reportedly is seeking nothing less than $1.5 billion for the Dodgers these days.

McCourt will get that amount, especially since, as the Los Angeles Times reported, O'Malley and his financial folks were among more than 10 entities to submit opening bids for the Dodgers before Monday's deadline.

If O'Malley loses his bid, no worries.

Just about any of those other owner wannabes of the Dodgers have the potential to keep them legendary for the good of baseball.

Speaking of legendary, there is Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He is noted for doing whatever it takes financially to make his players and fans comfortable. He also has this obsession with winning, which is what the Mavericks did well enough last season along the way to the NBA championship.

Cuban would follow the old O'Malley blueprint of having everybody associated with the Dodgers spend every millisecond seeking to project the right public image.

Well, for the most part.

Magic Johnson is more into smiling than fuming. But, like Cuban, Johnson also is into winning.

For years, Johnson was the star of the Showtime Lakers who won world championships while flashing L.A. glitter. Even now, 16 years after his last pro dribble, Johnson remains an icon, not only around southern California, but around the globe.

As a survivor of the HIV virus that causes AIDS, Johnson has been a leader in trying to keep others from contracting the disease. He does national-television analysis of NBA games. Mostly, in relation to his bid for the Dodgers, he is a businessman who owns a bunch of popular theaters across the country, a promotional company for entertainment and other successful things.

In addition, Johnson's business partner in pursuit of the Dodgers is Stan Kasten, an accomplished sports executive.

While working in Atlanta for years, Kasten was the president of the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers -- at the same time. He later was a top executive for the Washington Nationals during their early days.

If not Johnson and Kasten for the Dodgers, why not Joe Torre and his business group?

Torre is a baseball lifer.

He was a nine-time All-Star as a player for 18 seasons. He was a celebrated manager who won four world championships with the New York Yankees. He also was the executive vice president for baseball operations for Major League Baseball before he resigned a few weeks ago to submit his bid for the Dodgers.

These are the same Dodgers that Torre managed for three years before retiring after the 2010 season.

Torre. Magic. Cuban. O'Malley. The Times mentioned other bidders for the Dodgers, but none with more name recognition than the family of the late Roy Disney.

Roy had a brother named Walt.

Ever hear of Disneyland and Disney World?

You have to think that anybody associated with a place owning the slogan of "The Happiest Place on Earth" could do wonders with a baseball team in Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers -- and baseball -- are about to hit a grand slam, no matter who steps to the plate.

Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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