LA buys new Triple-A club, moves Double-A

LA buys new Triple-A club, moves Double-A

LOS ANGELES -- Confirmation Wednesday that the Oklahoma City RedHawks will be the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate next year is a payoff from the synergies brought by the parent franchise's Dream Team of owners.

Mandalay Baseball Properties' Peter Guber, who was instrumental in bringing Magic Johnson with him into the Guggenheim Baseball Partners' bid for the Dodgers, is selling the RedHawks to the Dodgers' owners. Guber will be the executive chairman and managing director of the team, and Mandalay Baseball partners Paul Schaeffer and Larry Freedman will manage the operations of the company.

"I am thrilled to be partnering with the Dodgers in the Oklahoma City franchise and am looking forward to an exciting future for the enterprise," said Guber.

Led by president and CEO Stan Kasten, the Dodgers' ownership group has vowed to replenish and invigorate the player development system. Solidifying affiliations is a small but necessary part of that. The club's Triple-A affiliate had been in Albuquerque, N.M.

"The Los Angeles Dodgers look forward to making Oklahoma City our long-term home for our Triple-A franchise," said Kasten. "We are committed to the great sports fans and the great city of Oklahoma City. We are excited to work with president and general manager Michael Byrnes and his outstanding staff, who have been a very integral part of the community.

"We enjoyed a great relationship with the Albuquerque organization and its fans, but the opportunity of franchise ownership was one we couldn't pass up."

Guber said he and Johnson were partners long before they joined the Dodgers' bidding. They partnered in developing Magic Johnson Theaters, and Johnson was a founding partner with MBP (and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin) in the Dayton Dragons franchise of the Midwest League. The Dragons were recently sold for a Minor League record price (reportedly $40 million) after selling out every home game in their 15-year history and holding the record for the most consecutive sellouts in North American sports at over 1,050 consecutive sellouts.

"Our Dodgers ownership group is a very collaborative enterprise," said Guber. "We all like each other, are respectful of each other and we all bring value to the venture. I am very invested in sports. I understand the process of franchise ownership, what great entertainment sports [are]. It's exciting to see us building the Minor League system."

Guber's early career was primarily in Hollywood, teaming with production partner Jon Peters, releasing a string of hits for Columbia Pictures and Sony Entertainment, eventually founding Mandalay Entertainment, and expanding that company into sports ownership with a handful of Minor League baseball and hockey clubs. That led Guber to become a co-owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, and, three years ago, he joined with Johnson as partners in Guggenheim's record purchase of the Dodgers.

Guber remains equally committed to Hollywood and sports. "When the Game Stands Still," released by Sony last week, is the latest production in his four-decade career producing movies and television. Among the hits he produced -- "The Deep," "Midnight Express," "An American Werewolf in London," "Six Weeks," "Flashdance," "The Color Purple," "Rain Man," "Batman," "Donnie Brasco" and "Les Miserables." Through Mandalay Television Pictures, Guber has also adapted a number of books into Lifetime movies.

Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, co-owner of the Warriors, chairman of the Guggenheim-owned Dick Clark Productions, chairman of Mandalay Digital Media and Mandalay Sports Media. He also wrote the New York Times No. 1 bestseller "Tell to Win -- Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story."

Mandalay has owned and operated 10 Minor League Baseball teams and owns the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (current Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, jointly owned by the New York Yankees) and the Erie SeaWolves (current Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers). Mandalay owned the Las Vegas 51s when they were a Dodgers affiliate.

The Dodgers will also be moving their Double-A affiliate to Oklahoma.

Los Angeles signed an agreement Wednesday with the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League through the 2016 season, moving their Double-A team from Chattanooga, Tenn. Tulsa was previously an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies before the Dodgers came to an agreement with Drillers owners Dale and Jeff Hubbard.

"We are thrilled to be working with the Hubbard family and making Tulsa our home for the Dodgers' Double-A team," said Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten. "Having our top two Minor League teams within the state of Oklahoma will certainly be great for our organization and for the Dodger fans in the state."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.