When it comes to the world of baseball, progress could easily be spelled D-O-D-G-E-R-S. There’s no organization that has come out to the front lines of pushing forward the culture of the game like the Los Angeles Dodgers have. Beginning with the signing, and showcasing of Jackie Robinson, on to having the first Black MVP in the game’s history in Roy Campanella, African-American culture has had no difficulty finding a launch pad for its substantial cultural leaps and bounds in the game with the Brooklyn/LA club.
On Tuesday night, another cultural baseball first has a group headed by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson put up the winning bid for the, which had been on the road towards a sale for over a year. However, the purchase of the team is far more than an end to a grueling status limbo for one of baseball’s third-winningiest franchise of all-time; it makes Magic the first African-American large scale owner in Major League Baseball’s 150 year history.
It’s not as if he didn’t pay the price to make history happen however. The winning bid paid out at $2 billion, which not only makes this the first ONE billion dollar team purchase in baseball history, it out paces the previous high bid for a MLB club ($845 million) by a large margin. It is the largest sale price for a team in professional sports history. Included in the deal are Dodger Stadium and half of the highly debated parking lots around the stadium, which previous owner Frank McCourt will retain half of. McCourt originally paid $340 million for the team, which he was forced to put up for sale due to a nasty divorce break.
Initial finances aside, this is a marriage made in heaven. It digs the already substantially deep roots of the Dodgers in LA even deeper by bringing the city’s greatest sports icon of all-time to the head of its table. This deepens the devotion to the team, raises the profile in the game and also gives them a management that can bring a competitive image and edge back that the team has lacked.
And as for what it means for the culture, both baseball and society’s? It means the final stone in the progress of sports equality in the country’s oldest game is finally met. A sport, that just over 60 years ago, wouldn’t even let it’s Black players reside in the same hotel has the rest of their teammates, now has a man that couldn’t have technically resided with most of the players that now will call him their boss. He inherits a roster with one huge Black star in Matt Kemp leading the way now and another promising talent in Dee Gordon now making his way in Dodger blue as well, the bridge between the legacy of history made both years ago and now is a true vision made clear.
No telling what’s next, what the future may hold for the progress of the on-field Dodgers now. But for once, one tradition of the national pastime has held bold and true (Blue) yet again.
For more on the developments coming to Dodgertown, and the lead into Baseball season, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.