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Getting all emotional about purchasing the Dodgers

January 23, 2012 |  1:40 pm


Do you love the Dodgers? Do you just love them sooo much? So much than when reason screams — “Stop, what in the hell are you thinking?” — love whispers — “Ah, come on, what’s another $100 mil?”

Love can do that to someone, of course, get them all out of whack, making goofy decisions that turn the rational side of their brain into goo.

And this love affair comes equipped with something money can buy — status. Not just red-Porsche status or even side-by-side Malibu homes status. That’s just so common.

We’re talking the super-elite. Owning not just a Major League Baseball team but one of the most iconic teams in baseball history, situated in one of America’s most glamorous cities.

Bids for the Dodgers are due Monday, and all indications are the investment firm handling the auction could receive up to 20 preliminary proposals.

And one of them is apparently going to pay way more than the team is actually worth. Last March, Forbes estimated that the Dodgers were worth $800 million. Now they’re expected to fetch well over $1 billion. Maybe much more.

Which means you can look at all the flow sheets and income projections and potential TV media rights packages you want, but in the end if you want to come out on top of the auction, the bankrupt Dodgers are going to cost a lot more than makes practical business sense.

The Times’ T.J. Simers wrote Sunday that the Dodgers should sign Prince Fielder, which many happen to agree with. Me too, if the desired length of his contract comes down significantly.

But to me the most interesting part of Simers’ column was when he talked to super-agent Scott Boras about the process.

"Everyone will be able to figure out within a few percentage points the value of the franchise, the land, TV contract and such. That's what bean counters do," Boras said. "But this will not be an accountant-driven negotiation. This will be a very personal negotiation, the Dodgers meaning more to someone than the value of the asset."

There comes a point, of course, when the rational side of the brain could win out. At least for most. Long ago, potential owners Peter O’Malley and Mark Cuban warned about keeping the ultimate price of the team economically feasible. So you have to wonder how long they hang in there if starry-eyed bidders take the price into an unrealistically profitable stratosphere.

Boras called the purchase of the Dodgers a “personal buy.” Love is blind and all. Of course, there are only so many on the block who can claim ownership of a historic baseball team. You can build a mall or sell a zillion shares of stocks, but that won’t quite get you in the history books like owning the Dodgers. Even if this affair of the heart proves insanely costly.


Dodgers sale: Who's who in the bidding process

Dodgers put debt at $573 million

Mark Cuban on buying Dodgers: 'L.A. would never be the same'

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Agent Scott Boras, at his offices in Newport Beach, believes the sale of the Dodgers will be a personal buy that drives the price well above the value of the organization. Credit: Los Angeles Times