To begin with a paragraph that I am sure Giants fans will forget reading by the end of this post (this isn’t my first rodeo), I want to publicly state my admiration for the Giants two World Series wins in the last three years. After a long dry spell, they won with pitching, team dynamic and a slough of “Rudy type shit” that made it impossible, even for a season-ticket holding die hard Dodger fan not to root for them. Hard to not like a Matt Cain or a Buster Posey. Hard not to love the fact that guys like Angel fucking Pagan and Marco fucking Scutaro decided to over index for the sake of just winning the damn thing.
For me, there was zero to dislike about how the Giants won except, well, it was the Giants who won.
Onto the thesis… Giants fans on Twitter are going out of there way to point out that the 2008 super expensive Yankees didn’t win the World Series. They point out that money does not equal championships. They are totally right on both accounts.
What they are missing is that as a Dodger fan, coming off some of the cheapest, most depressing years of all time under Voldemort McCourt, we are printing money and our ownership is actually spending it on BASEBALL PLAYERS which is insanity.
I don’t care if Greinke is any good. I don’t care if Ryu plays baseball worse than I played his namesake in Street Fighter back in the arcade days (note that I note Ryu was Japanese, this Ryu is Korean).
I am just happy that our ownership group is going out there and fucking things up for the universe. The Yankees are in financial decline because their stadium isn’t paying itself off fast enough. The Dodgers went out and took a bunch of expensive players so they could get Adrian Gonzalez.
I remember being in SF for a bachelor party (and it lived up to its name) when the Dodgers came up there and swept the Giants on the heels of the Ramirez and Scutaro acquisitions. I remember the papers being furious that the new Dodger ownership would constantly be getting Ramirez-types and the Giants would be bargain shopping for Scutaros. We all know Scutaro turned out amazing and we also know SF papers are drama queens when it comes to baseball. For the record, I don’t read the LA Times at all, so I’m casting rocks in a glass house.
I guess the point is, the fact that the Dodgers could have signed Scutaro to put pine tar on the team bats for fun caused his price to jump to, well, un-Scutaro levels. Angel Pagan for that price? I mean, I get that we spent a lot on Greinke, but he’s won a Cy Young. Recently. He’s filthy in the National League and well, we can afford it. Committing 80MM to Marco fucking Scutaro and Angel fucking Pagan? Rocks in a glass house. More like Molotovs in a grass hut.
I hear the formula of keeping a winner together, but if that was the case, where is Cody Ross? If keeping a team together meant repeat wins, well, there’d be more 3-peats in baseball.
The part I fail to understand in this “money can’t buy championships” logic is that money buys every championship. Some players cost less than others. Some championships are expensive. Some aren’t. Of course the example of the 2008 Yankees is true, that monster payroll didn’t lead to a World Series win. At the same time, the Phillies had a payroll of over 106 million, a franchise record. They spent more than they ever had and it equalled a title.
While I agree spending just to spend doesn’t guarantee titles, it does improve rosters and it buys better players. The better team on paper doesn’t always win. But they win a lot of the time.
The thing is, Giants fans haven’t quite grasped the amount of money the Dodgers have, because very few understand it. Everyone said 2.15 billion for the Dodgers was ludicrous, except the Guggenheim line was basically “it was the right price because you can’t buy the Dodgers every day”. 2.15 is what it cost and when you have so much money you are considering buying AEG also, you don’t care what it costs, you just buy it because that’s what you want and that’s what it takes.
It’s not a weird concept for anyone who ever bought a house. If you have the money, if you can afford to outbid your competition, you just do it.
Then there is the media deal. LA is the #2 DMA and has no real competition for summer live TV. Look at what the Angels got paid and the 6+ BILLION the Dodgers are sure to net. The Angels are not from LA, no one in LA cares about them and the proof was KCAL dropping them the year the won the World Series to get the Dodgers, who finish second to last that year (I believe). The Dodger logo is “LA”. It’s on tattoos and t-shirts and bumper stickers. It’s the city brand along with the Lakers and suddenly, they have the money to fashionable again.
So think about what 6 billion dollars (which is lower than what the final sale will be) breaks out to over 25 years. That comes out to 240 million dollars a year. There’s your payroll covered for a quarter century before you sell an overpriced t-shirt, an 8 dollar Dodger Dog or even a single solitary ticket. That’s before you get advertising dollars. That’s before anything. And they are going to sell the rights for more than 6 billion, I was being conservative.
6 billion is the new conservative for the Dodgers. Like it or not, they changed the game.
Many think this is a bubble for baseball, fine. Dodgers sold their house before the bubble burst. That deal is a contract and if the bubble bursts, it won’t be the Dodgers missing out. Their 240 million a year will just pay for more players.
The next argument has been that you can’t just buy talent and expect to win. I actually agree, but the thing is, the Dodgers have so much fucking money right now they are going to stock the farm system too. They signed a Cuban defector for 42 million. They are going to draft the Zach Lee’s of the world who teams let slip only because they are expensive and not bat an eye at offering them 5+ million to give up getting crushed in pads in college football. The Dodgers have the money to spend big in the pros and in the farm system. They’ve poured more money in a year into scouting and player development than most teams do in five years.
They signed 8 pitchers and now can trade a Chris Capuano for prospects or bullpen help because they can eat his salary if they have to. Money doesn’t just help you sign free agents. It helps you sweeten deals. It helps you sign better draft picks who otherwise you’d ignore. It changes the game if you are committed to playing every facet of it.
They are going to grow their talent AND buy it. They didn’t even give up a draft pick for Greinke. It’s a juggernaut like that of the Real Madrids of the world. It’s more than the Yankees did because they never stocked the farm system.
How did the MLB let such wealthy owners come into the league? Simple. They were the assholes who ruined the Dodgers by letting Frank McCourt buy them on a stolen credit card. Dodger fans, the team, the city suffered embarrassment after embarrassment with McCourt. They dealt with a lack of security leading to Bryan Stow being beaten in the parking lot and it was totally appalling and a tragedy none are proud of. They owed us and they knew it. They fucking took team control away and forced a sale and the richest people ever to want a team bought it, partnered with a guy who is famous for building farm systems and an LA sports icon who just tweets hilarious shit all the time.
ADIOS FRANK. That’s over now. It’s all over now. Guggenheim Baseball is making a statement and it’s loud an clear. If it can help, we’ll buy it.
Fucking Ned Colletti went from being a headache to a guy reciting poetry about seeing toothpicks and thinking redwood tree. As a long time fan and season ticket holder, it’s an odd feeling. It’s literally like you’ve had an awful, ugly, mean teacher who has been flunking you and trying to keep you out of college get replaced by a former Victoria’s Secret model who wants to let you ditch class, take you to prom and buy you a Bentley. And she likes watching sports and bourbon too.
So pardon us, Giants fans, if we aren’t worried about what it costs or if it means we’ll win next year. Pardon us if we don’t see the same pressure to win that we’re supposed to. It’s been 23 years and suddenly we have a chance again. We can sign Brian Wilson just to tell jokes for more than you are overpaying Angel Pagan. That’s real.
You won two World Series in an amazing, gritty manor that made me appreciate you and root for you even though I hate you. That’s amazing. Like Tonga is at the Fairmont. It’s good for baseball.
Guggenheim is good for Los Angeles. You don’t have to understand, but we’d rather have a Lakers team with stars struggling than a scrappy team. That’s the city. Better or worse. That’s us.
Sure, right now it just looks good on paper. We all saw this team needs to gel. Damn, though. It looks good on paper and we’re not even done.
I wish you good luck this season. After 50 years of futility, you have taken control of the rivalry. We finally have the means to try to do something about it. Can’t wait.
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