Record-setting Dodgers sale will change economics of NL West

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Record-setting Dodgers sale will change economics of NL West

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants wont be the biggest spenderin the NL West for long.

Their archrivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are about to beflush with cash after a group with Magic Johnson as its public face agreed topurchase the club for 2.15 billion on Tuesday night.

Yep, 2.15 billion. All cash, no contingencies. Andstunningly, almost triple the previous record sale price for a major leaguefranchise.

The announcement is being heralded in SoCal as the rebirthof one of baseballs jewel franchises, which had been run into the ground (andbankruptcy court) by conniving East Coast parking lot baron Frank McCourt.

Now McCourt, who bought the team in 2004 in essence with agiant Countrywide home loan, and then borrowed more to fund a wildly lavish, Gatsbyesquelifestyle, will walk away with an estimated 700-800 million in pure profit.And thats after buying out his lovely, equally conniving ex-wife.

What a country.

So how should Giants fans feel about this? How is the Giantsfront office reacting to it?

I called CEO Larry Baer for that reason on Wednesday. And hetermed the sale a good thing for everyone including the Dodgers archrival.

We are going to compete our brains out against L.A. andevery other team, said Baer, who participated in the 30-0 approval vote. Butoff the field, we want the other 29 clubs to do well and be in good, stablehands. We want them to get good TV deals. We want them to sell tickets. We wantthem to excel in every area, except we want to beat them on the field.

The Dodgers new ownership group includes Golden StateWarriors co-owner Peter Guber, is fronted by Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter andwill be run by longtime major league executive Stan Kasten. Magic Johnson addsmagnetism and a heroic local presence. He will have an office at the stadium asthe Dodgers seek to win back legions of disaffected fans.

Baer called the group a committed ownership that seems tobe well financed with local personalities that will put a lot of energy intothe team. I think that will speak well for the Dodger-Giant rivalry.

Were partners off the field. You dont want teams inbankruptcy. You want the industry to be strong from top to bottom and thatincludes all 30 teams.

There is already a current of thought that the Dodgers willlook to make huge splashes in free agency this winter. Theres speculation thatother teams will spend more, too, now that their franchise values just shot upmillions.

RELATED: Dodgers sale adds drama to Cain talks

That may not be true, however. Theres usually one teamevery winter that wants to make a huge splash. Look at the Miami Marlins a fewmonths ago. They impacted the market to a degree, but they couldnt buy upeveryone they want. They didnt get Albert Pujols, after all.

Theres alsothis to consider: Suppose, and this is a wild guess, that the Giants franchisevalue went from 600 million to 800 million based on the Dodgers sale. Thatsnot equity that can be used to boost payroll without cash calls to owners whomay not be so swift to liquidate other personal assets.

The Giants, like every other team, must balance costs withactual revenues.

As for those revenues? Yes, they are substantial. But maybenot substantial enough to spend with the Guggenheims of the baseball world.

Instant Replay: Arroyo, Morse go deep, Giants walk off on Dodgers

Instant Replay: Arroyo, Morse go deep, Giants walk off on Dodgers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Morse hoped to bring a little levity to a battered clubhouse Wednesday. On his first day as a Giant since the 2014 World Series, he ended up bringing the most thrilling win of the season. 

Morse’s pinch-hit homer in the eighth shook AT&T Park and tied the game. His good friend Hunter Pence won it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th, giving the Giants a 4-3 win over the Dodgers. 

The 10th-inning rally started with Gorkys Hernandez’s single off Ross Stripling. Hernandez stole second and Conor Gillaspie drew a walk, and both runners were safe when Adrian Gonzalez went to third on Nick Hundley’s bunt. Pence flied out to deep left on the 10th pitch of his at-bat. The Giants had been 0-13 when trailing after seven. Morse  helped change all that.

Morse’s homer came an inning after Christian Arroyo’s first career homer. The newcomers saved a night that started with nothing but failure. 

The Giants entered with four games this month where they failed to put a runner on the first time through the order. Lefty Alex Wood stayed with the theme. Brandon Belt finally touched first with a one-out walk in the fourth but it wasn’t until the sixth that a Giant — Drew Stubbs — picked up a hit.

By that time, the Dodgers led 3-0. Johnny Cueto worked around some early trouble but Corey Seager got to him in the sixth. The young shortstop led off with a mammoth blast on a 3-2 pitch that landed a couple dozen rows up in left-center. The homer was tracked at 462 feet per Statcast, tied for the longest in the Majors this season.

The Dodgers went up 2-0 when Chase Utley blooped a single to left with the bases loaded. Utley was 1-for-31 at the time. Andrew Toles beat out a grounder to bring home a third run. 

The Giants looked dead in the water, but Wood — the Dodgers’ swingman — was pulled after 77 pitches and old friend Sergio Romo immediately opened the door. Buster Posey hit a one-out single and Arroyo lined a slider just over the fence in left-center.

Morse’s first at-bat as a Giant in three years sent an even bigger charge through the park. He got a 97 mph fastball from Pedro Baez with two strikes and blasted it to left. Morse held his arm up right away and screamed as he rounded first.

Starting pitching report: Cueto was charged with three runs on seven hits and two walks. He’ll finish April with a 5.10 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. After holding opposing hitters to a .238 average last year, he’s getting hit at a .271 clip this season. 

Bullpen report: Steven Okert did a great job of settling the place down, throwing a scoreless inning before Arroyo’s homer and retiring two more immediately after. 

At the plate: The 21-year-old Arroyo calmly clapped his hands once as he rounded first. He was pushed out of the dugout for a curtain call as the park roared. Most impressive of all, his mom, Kimberly, didn’t drop a single nacho as she celebrated in the stands.

In the field: Stubbs made a diving catch to open the seventh and Gorkys Hernandez followed with a nifty sliding catch at the wall.

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,572 human beings. Thursday will be the 500th consecutive (announced) sellout.

Up next: Matt Moore (1-3, 5.87 ERA) will try to turn his month around. The Dodgers will trot out young lefty Julio Urias, who spent three weeks in the minors to control his innings count. 

Giants lineup: Bochy places Arroyo right behind Posey vs Dodgers

Giants lineup: Bochy places Arroyo right behind Posey vs Dodgers

After recording his first hit in the big leagues, the Giants are making Christian Arroyo into Buster Posey's protection vs. the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers (10-11)

1. Cody Bellinger (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
5. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Chase Utley (L) 2B
8. Andrew Toles (L) CF
9. Alex Wood (R) P

San Francisco Giants (7-14)

1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
6. Joe Panik (L) 2B
7. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P