After the Dodgers' sale to a group led by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten for $2 billion (and other considerations) — more than twice as much as has ever been paid for an MLB team — everything changes.
For the A's owners.
For Mark Davis' views of the Raiders' value — and possible thoughts of selling to LA interests.
Maybe for the Warriors' ownership group, now that $450 million for an NBA team doesn't look so gaudy. Actually, looks kinda dinky now. (Interesting that Peter Guber is part of both record-smashing groups. Peter, want to buy my used golf clubs? Only$5 million!)
And definitely for the other baseball owners, who have to be thrilled that there's a massive new valuation on a franchise that was almost run into the ground by previous ownership, but maybe a little worried about the Dodgers re-entering as huge player-bidders.
I realize Giants fans are already worried about the effect this could have on Matt Cain's pending free agency, and it's valid.
(Mostly, Giants fans and ownership should've been worried about that pending massive local TV deal that the Dodgers are about to land, which was how the valuation on the team spun so high.)
If the Dodgers are dead set on going nuts ASAP and as large as possible, then Cain and Cole Hamels are by far the two biggest potential free-agent prizes after this season, and that probably adds a theoretical $2-4 million a year to any Cain bid.
If the Giants have to pay up for Cain... or if they lose him next winter... those are bad things for them, unquestionably.
I mean, if Magic and Kasten and their money guy have the fluidity to reportedly pay cash for this transaction and to top the next-highest bid by more than $600 million, then what's a few hundred million bucks to land a couple of great pitchers?
(For further local connections: The principal in this bid is Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners, the massive Wall Street firm where Jed York worked before he came in to run the 49ers full-time.)
If you're the Giants, that is not a friendly thought.
But while I understand the concern, and totally get that Dodgers fans are overjoyed to replace McCourt with a winner like Magic, I'm skeptical that any team can guarantee success by paying outrageous salaries immediately.
There have been big, showy MLB ownership splashes in the past. I'm thinking Peter Angelos' first days in Baltimore, Tom Hicks' Alex Rodriguez extravaganza in Texas, the Washington Nationals with Jayson Werth last year, and the Cubs just about all the time.
Oh, and Peter Magowan did it right at the start of his ownership—with Barry Bonds—and did it very not-right at the end with Barry Zito.
Money doesn't guarantee World Series championships and spending stupidly actually hurts you more than doing nothing.
I mean, the Dodgers have gone through horrifying things under McCourt, no doubt, and they haven't gone for broke on any recent free agents.
But they were actually 82-79 last year, that's not exactly bottom-dwelling.
And 80-82 in 2010.
And won the division at 95-67 in 2009.
Could they have done better if McCourt paid out like the Yankees or Red Sox (or Angels)? Maybe. But it's not guaranteed.
St. Louis won the World Series last year and had nobody in the top 20 salaries.
Texas was one out away from winning the World Series and had nobody in the top 20.
The Yankees had Nos. 1 (A-Rod), 3 (Sabathia), 4 (Teixeira) and 20 (Burnett) and lost in the first round to Detroit.
So... Will Magic Johnson be a livelier, sunnier, more sensible and exciting front man than McCourt could ever be? Absolutely.
I'm glad Earvin's in play and he deserves all the financial and general success he has made for himself.
But his group won't be successful just because it paid an incredible sum for the Dodgers.
It'll be successful if they are smart, spend wisely, and not convince itself that it has to out-bid anybody for everything.
Which is the same for everybody, even non-billionaires.