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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

South Korean Financing Should be No Deterrent to O'Malley Bid



       By Ross Newhan

       So, a lot of the conversation in the chat rooms and on the bulletin boards Tuesday regarded the prospect that a South Korean conglomerate, E-Land, may provide significant financial support for Peter O'Malley's bid to re-purchase the Dodgers and was mostly on the negative side.

       I would ponder the issue of jingoism except that we pretty much know the chat rooms and bullletin boards aren't necessarily a true reflection of anything, and if I'm going to be nauseated about anything it's the two-caste divide that has developed in America and the appaling partisanship between the two political parties and the more appaling disrespect shown to the highest office in the country in recent days with the chairman of the Republican National Committee comparing the President to the captain of the Costa Concordia, a felon if not more, and Jan Brewer, the Arizona Governess, wagging her finger at the President on the tarmac in Phoenix.

       Regarding O'Malley and the potential investment by E-Land, it's another step in baseball's on and off the field globalization. The Seattle Mariners have significant Japanese financing, O'Malley has been a forward thinking contributer to the development of baseball in Asia, no one has the ability to put the organization back together faster than the former owner, and his financing may also include the Los Angeles based Tony Ressler, a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and co-founder of Ares Capital, fair valued at $4.8 billion in September. It is a shame that two of L.A.'s most noted movers and shakers, Eli Broad and David Geffen, have expressed public support for hedge fund magnate and fellow art collector Steve Cohen. a slap at O'Malley.

      There is quality competition in the Dodger derby, with at least eight groups involved in the second round of bidding, but I can't think of anyone more qualified than O'Malley, and if he survives to the final round when Frank McCourt will make the final decision, I don't think South Korean financing will be as much of the issue as O'Malley's previous public criticism of McCourt.

      The outgoing Dodger owner isn't the type to hold a grudge is he?

      That's rhetorical and there is no need to provide an answer.

      What I will provide is this bit of personal history: O'Malley and the Dodgers made Chan Ho Park the first South Korean pitcher/player in major league history.

      Park remains a close friend of O'Malley's, would likely step into a major role with a new O'Malley ownership and has always been one of the finest people I have met in 50 years of baseball coverage.

      Korean, Dominican, Venezuelan, Cuban, Japanese, European...that's the game now, and O'Malley has been an influential figure in that global growth. Hopefully, he will get a fair shake in the ownership bidding. There is no one more experienced or better prepared to restore the franchise.          

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