Dodgers fans cheer Magic Johnson as new team owner
As he drank coffee from a Styrofoam cup at Dino’s Burgers in Lincoln Heights early Wednesday, Charlie Alvarez said he dusted off some of his favorite Dodgers gear to celebrate the team's sale to Magic Johnson and other investors.
The 46-year-old consultant to at-risk youths said he put on a blue Dodgers jacket he bought the year Frank McCourt bought the team, a white Dodgers polo shirt and a Dodgers watch.
“I got all of this to slap on as soon as I heard the news,” Alvarez said. “Oh man, all of us started calling each other. ‘Magic got it! Magic got it!’ ”
Johnson and a group of investors will be the new owners of the Dodgers after paying a record $2 billion, it was announced Tuesday. The Lakers legend is joined by longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, movie executive Peter Guber and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of a Chicago financial services company.
Alvarez said he skipped opening day for the first time in years last year but vowed to be there for the Dodgers home opener April 10.
“I’m a Lakers fan. I’m a Magic fan. Showtime at the Los Angeles Forum!” Alvarez exclaimed nostalgically. “It’s great not only for the Dodgers but for the city. Tommy Lasorda said L.A. was a city of champions. Now that Magic is with the Dodgers, I expect to see championships. He’s a winner. Anything Magic touches turns to gold.”
Tuesday's announcement ended three years of turmoil that included a bankruptcy filing. The sale must be confirmed April 13 at a court hearing. The Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988, their sixth championship in half a century of O'Malley family ownership.
The Johnson group would become the Dodgers' third owner since the O'Malleys sold the team in 1998, following News Corp. and McCourt.
Over at Phillipe's in downtown L.A. early Wednesday, Jeff Lynn, 56, of La Crescenta, sat at a table drinking a cup of coffee and said it was important to him Johnson was involved in the sale of the Dodgers, a team he’s followed since the early 1970s.
“There’s no greater son of Los Angeles than Magic Johnson. He’s proved himself in the community,” Lynn said Wednesday morning. “No sports figure in L.A. has done more than Magic Johnson. And that’s not even talking about what he did for the Lakers.... Plus, he’s from where I’m from: Lansing, Michigan.”
Lynn said the Dodgers were a hard team to love in the last few years. He said he found McCourt’s business decisions “shady” and stopped going to games at Dodger Stadium two years ago as his passion for the team faded.
The Dodgers have a “great nucleus of young players,” he said, and Johnson “can only take the Dodgers up from where they are now.”
-- Hector Becerra