03/28/12 3:31 PM ET
'Winning is essential' to new Dodgers owners
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"Stan will be president and CEO and my role will be what it's been during the 30 years since I got to LA," said Johnson, the biggest name in the group that will pay $2 billion to purchase the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium.
"I'll be working with the city, making sure the fans enjoy themselves at the park," Johnson said. "If the players need anything, my door is open to anything -- not just baseball. They'll get enough baseball from the manager, Don Mattingly, and I'm sure they can reach out to Stan too, and Mark, from the standpoint of selling the Dodgers brand and working with the sponsors. I'll have an office there and I'll be there every day."
Johnson said he was enlisted by Kasten, their relationship dating to Johnson's playing days with the Lakers when Kasten ran the Atlanta Hawks, along with the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Thrashers. Kasten also ran the Washington Nationals, and now he'll be in charge of running the Dodgers. Walter will be the controlling partner.
"It's beyond a dream come true for a guy who does what I do," Kasten said. "The word that's associated with Dodgers is 'pride.' There's not any other franchise that has that history. Any opportunity to be associated with that franchise -- I've been friends with Tom Lasorda and Vin Scully -- and the thought of being co-workers with them is beyond belief."
Kasten, who met with general manager Ned Colletti after touring the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch Spring Training facility two weeks ago, said he has no immediate changes planned.
"We'll be coming in May 1, and I know a lot about an organization from the outside, but you can't know everything and everybody until you get inside," Kasten said. "I look forward to getting to know the people and helping them be more productive, and if we need more people or different people, we'll do that."
Walter, CEO of investment manager Guggenheim Partners, which is providing the primary funding for the purchase, was asked if there is any money left to acquire and pay players after the record-breaking purchase price for a North American sports franchise.
"There is," Walter said. "I know Stan is an expert on this topic, as far as what should be done building a roster. My job is to help Stan and Magic accomplish all of our goals, and that's not only on the field, but in the community and philanthropy.
"But winning is essential. When I met Magic the first time, we covered a lot of topics, but it was clear that if winning wasn't the goal, there was no point in owning the franchise. We want to win. If that means we have to work harder on the business side to make that happen, we will."
Other named partners in the Guggenheim Baseball Partnership LLC purchasing group are Peter Guber, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly.
Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, which expanded its initial focus of movie production to include ownership of Minor League baseball teams and a stake in the Golden State Warriors NBA team.
Patton is an oil and gas investor and Boehly is president of Guggenheim Partners.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.