Next in Line?
THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR MARK CUBAN TO BUY THE DODGERS
Under normal circumstances, maybe Mark Cuban wouldn't be the best choice to be the Dodgers' owner. If Peter O'Malley still owned the team and was looking to pass the mild-mannered baton, perhaps the choice for his successor would need to be reserved and reticent. An owner seen but rarely heard; distant and removed from the players the fans paid to watch.
As we have come to see this season, however, fans do care about the owner of the team. Their feelings for him, good or bad, effect whether or not they come out and support the team. Dodgers' fans grew tired of Frank McCourt dodging the media and dodging fans and dragging their team through the mud and turned their back on him.
That is why Cuban must buy the Dodgers.
That is why he must put on that Dodger blue jersey and walk around the parking lot and chat up fans before games. Why he must talk to reporters whenever they fire him an e-mail or stop him in the hallway. Why he must take his seat behind home plate and scream at umpires just as loudly as the fans in the upper decks.
Cuban is more than just an owner; he's a fan with enough money to own a team. There's a big difference there. Frank McCourt was never a fan. He was man in over his head who wanted to own a team, any team, so badly he was willing to drag it through a messy divorce and bankruptcy to hold on to it. Cuban is too much of a fan and too successful in his other business endeavors to ever do that if he didn't believe he was the best man for the job.
Lakers fans saw firsthand a few months ago that Cuban is willing to spend millions to build a championship team and is capable of being silent and not taking the focus off his players when there is no need for it.
Cuban missed out on buying the Texas Rangers last year and there are many in baseball who don't want him as an owner, but adversity and naysayers have never slowed down Cuban before. He took one down-on-its-luck team to a championship last year and will do the same in Los Angeles if he can buy the Dodgers.
MARK CUBAN IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION
Mark Cuban would be a fantastic owner for the Dodgers. He is bright, charismatic, sincere and passionate about sports. He has treated the Dallas Mavericks like his own child. No expense is too great if it means a better chance at winning. In that sense, he would remind a lot of people in this town of Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
The thing is: Baseball likes its owners to be seen and not heard. There is a reason he has come up short in previous bids to buy the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers: Baseball is the oldest of the old boys clubs in professional sports. For their stodgy set of owners, Cuban is avant garde. And after seven and a half years of watching Frank McCourt embarrass the sport and the franchise, I suspect baseball's owners will want to play this one safe.
The question here is whether Mark Cuban can make you love the Dodgers again? Of course he can. But so can a lot of the other people who might bid on the team. Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey have already signaled their intentions to front an ownership group, respected sports agent Dennis Gilbert will likely be in the mix too.
Mark Cuban might be the dream owner for a lot of Dodger fans, but after the nightmare of McCourt's rule, just waking up will be a great start.