New ownership press conference: 10 a.m.

Dodgers at Rockies, 12:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXXII: Kershawut of Africa
Tony Gwynn Jr., LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Andre Ethier, RF
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
Justin Sellers, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

In addition to television coverage on Prime Ticket and KCAL, the press conference introducing the new Dodger ownership team will be streamed at MLB.com and FoxSportsWest.com. Time permitting, I will live-blog some quotes in this space.

Vin Scully: “By the time the day is over, you will sense the following things … commitment, fan-friendly, definition of winning, complete and honorable way to get there, and above all, longevity.”

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Mark Walter: “A man who realizes that the owners of this team are really the people of this town.”

Scully, telling the tale of a young prospect. “The manager was asked, ‘Just how good is this kid, what’s his ceiling, how high can he go?’ The manager thought for a moment, and said, ‘His ceiling is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.’ It’s time now to meet the group that will take the Dodgers higher than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.”

Walter: “Thank you, Mr. Scully.”

Walter: “This is really not about us. This is about the Dodgers. One of the most honored and storied franchises in history, with limitless pride and potential. And for us, the Dodgers begin with the fans. … We are passionate about making this organization the best it can be in every respect, from winning, to its relationship with the community and to all the philanthropic things it can be a platform with. We know this is going to be hard work, and it’s going to take time … but I promise you this commitment to work will be a labor of love.”

Magic Johnson: “I just talked to the employees. It starts with you, because if you’re the best, it trickles down to the players on the field.”

Johnson: “Yes, we’re in first place, but it’s early in the season, so we want to continue to support the team. We know we have the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw and the best player in baseball in Matt Kemp.”

Johnson: “We’re going to outwork everybody. I can’t wait until my office is done. … I told my team, I’m a man who gets up early and will be here early.”

Johnson: “Mr. O’Malley, thank you. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we just have to go back to the time where you had it before.”

Johnson: “Chick Hearn used to call my games, the sweertst voice in basketball. And now I get the cahnce, the sweetest voice, I’m almost about to cry, and now I got Vin Scully.”

Johnson: “General parking is going down from $15 to $10.”

Stan Kasten: “The team, the fan experience and our relationship with our community. I assure you I could spend an hour on each of these subjects … and I’m just coming off a six-month gag order, so I’ve got a lot to say.”

Kasten: “A culture of winning – for me, that has always started and ended with a scouting and player development system … both domestically and increasingly important, internationally.”

Kasten: “The other commitment we want to make is our own personal availability and accessibility. … You won’t have to look for me. I’ll be on the concourse.”

Kasten: “Today I want to announce a special e-mail suggestion box: fanbox@ladodgers.com. We want to hear from all of you. Send us your thoughts and your suggestions … this is how we’re going to do it.”

Kasten: “We’re going to liberalize our policy for access to batting practice. We’re going to have more access for autographs.  We’re going to do a lot more with social media. … There will be times you will have players in full uniform greeting fans at the gate. The players understand why this is important. You never get any pushback – you just have to ask them.”

Scully: “Walking across the field with Ned Colletti, it seemed like just yesterday we were just introducing Joe Torre and the McCourts. And my mind began to wonder, and I realized I was there to see Branch Rickey hand off the franchise to Walter O’Malley.”

Rob Manfred, MLB executive: “Dodger fans have stayed loyal through difficult times, and we know this ownership group will reward them for their support.”

Scully: “I will finish with a disappointing note.  … They were going to have a small basketball court put out here, and Magic and I were going to go one on one, skins against the shirts. Unfortunately during the Washington Nationals series, I suffered a split infinitive and will not be able to contest.”

Moving on to the Q&A …

Kasten (slight paraphrase): “No team has had sustained success without a sound scouting and player development system. But we understand where we are, this market, this fan base … these fans deserve a team that can win, can repeat, can contend well. We intend to be aggressive with that as well. We’re not going to pass up any opportunity. We’re not going to wait for 25 kids to grow into their uniform.”

Johnson: “I’m gonna be involved — heavily.”

Walter: “A hundred percent of all the operations of this baseball team … everything that happens in Chavez Ravine and the Dodgers is controlled and managed by us, and all of the money from all that goes to the Dodgers. Former ownership does have an economic interest in the profits from the possible eventual development of any part of the property, but that’s down the road. In terms of current operations, parking, it’s not related to that.”

Johnson: “I don’t want the fans to think just because we wrote a big check that we’re gonna stop now. … We’re out to win, and we’re out to win for the fans. I don’t want that question to go, ‘Now we’re short on money.’ … I didn’t come here to not win and not give the fans a great experience, because they deserve that.”

Kasten: “During the due diligence phase of this purchase, I had a day where we brought in a dozen engineers to really survey the building. That’s why I referred to the back-of-the-house  things that need near-term attention: power, water, information systems. As far as enhancements, we have ideas. … Our plan is to retain those things that make this ballpark so special but try to upgrade the experience so that it’s more in keeping with what fans can expect in the 21st century. We think we can do both.”

Walter: “We don’t have any plans for development, but there’s 300 acres here. I don’t know what the future may or may not hold, but we don’t have any current plans.”

Kasten: “Nothing can be developed if we don’t think it’s good for our fans and (the franchise).”

Johnson: “Frank McCourt is not involved in any, shape, fashion. If you need me to come up, I’m 6-9. The rumors, we’re squashing them right now … his only future profits is from new development, if we do any. There’s nothing on the table.”

Johnson: “This franchise is moving forward with us. If (McCourt) is part of the future development, so what? … That’s how you got to get it sometimes. We own it. We control everything. Fans got to understand, we’re going to make sure we’re going to win and have a great team every day and that they’re going to have a great experience. … Frank’s not here, he’s not part of the Dodgers anymore — we should be clapping just for that.”

Walter: “It is a lot of money. I believe the value is there. If we do things right … I believe people will look back and say the value is there.

Scully: “I am telling each and every one of you right now — this is the last new ownership press conference I will ever attend.”

 

* * *

  • Using data from Baseball Info Solutions, ESPN.com determined that Jerry Hariston, Jr. was April’s top defensive player in the National League.

    … Hairston was able to make the good play and the great play. He finished April tied with Ryan Zimmerman for the major league lead with four Web Gems (including the No. 1 Gem on consecutive nights). He was credited with one Defensive Run Saved at second base, one at third base and two in left field.

    Hairston finished April with a Good Play/Misplay tally of 11 to 1 in only 15 games in his first month with the Dodgers.

    His highlight-reel play came on April 19 against the Milwaukee Brewers while playing third base, when he robbed Alex Gonzalez of the game-tying hit in the eighth inning with a diving stop and throw from his knees on a groundball down the line.

    The next day, he missed on a similar diving attempt against Jose Altuve of the Astros, but then sprinted into foul territory and threw a strike to second base to nail Altuve’s attempt at an extra-base hit.

    Hairston got six of our 10 first-place votes, and even someone who voted him second-best was quite impressed. “No matter where you put him on the field, he posseses the ability to make a dynamic play,” Singleton said. “His value as a utility player is as high as anyone on the defensive side.” …

  • Ted Lilly left Tuesday’s game after six innings and 79 pitches because of a stiff side muscle, while Juan Uribe re-injured his wrist during batting practice, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times. No immediate word on whether the pair might miss more playing time.
  • Albuquerque infielder Luis Cruz has known Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy since childhood, writes Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner.
  • Clayton Kershaw’s ERA at Coors Field: 6.75 in 2011, 5.88 in his career (49 innings).
  • Anonymous

    Tuned out after six last night (because I had to, and not because I thought it was in the bag).   So I gladly missed the anguish.  Impressed by Dee’s arm, if not his power.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Won’t be able to resist watching the ownership presser.  No expectations that a huge trade for more bench help will be announced during it. :)  But excited nonetheless.

    Hope Kershaw fares well today; I know Denver has not always been so kind to him (nor to a lot of pitchers). 

  • Anonymous

    Damn if Vin doesn’t bring a tear to the eye now and then.  It only took a few opening sentences.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Having Magic along is awesome spiritually and for outreach, but man, I’m really stoked to have Stan Kasten on this team. He’s the prize here. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

       Agree. The thing about Magic is if there is anyone who knows just how short “the window” can be it is him. different sport sure.. but he must be thinking, we can’t waste having arguably the best hitter and best pitcher in the world on our team…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    The things they are saying, I believe them. It feels nice to proud to be a dodger fan again..

  • Anonymous

    Dang I am pumped.  I had forgotten the pride there was in being a Dodger fan.  Really glad to hear Magic emphasize he’s here to win and they will continue to spend as it’s required.  

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    I am now officially tired of and done with questions about parking lots vis a vis McCourt, but it’s good they’re directly addressing it here. 

  • Anonymous

    Mark Walter is like a little boy, isn’t he?  I like him.

  • Anonymous

    Hallelujah!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002887503 George Parisotto

    Stan! Now’s the time to push ”The Dodger Way to Drive the 101 with James Loney” promotion. Should be a hit.  Or hits.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Farewell, Junior Seau. 

    • KT

      wow he was young

  • KT

    These guys mentioned every idea I would have implemented if I had the money to by the club…the only thing that wasn’t directly addressed but was in a round about way was improvements to allow fans access to all foods being sold @ DS, better batrooms, better and quicker concessions…I hope this was part of the engineer teams brought in

  • Anonymous

    Vinny bringing up Branch Rickey…Magic bringing up Chick…I love it!

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t get to see it, but sounds like they hit a home run.

  • Anonymous

    Magic began to get rightfully impatient with all the repetitious questions about Mcparkinglot. 

    • Anonymous

      And the idea that they spent all their dough on the purchase, leaving none left to operate.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       One of my favorite parts of the press conference.

  • Anonymous

    OK, time for the icing.

  • Anonymous

    Vin sounds to have been in great humor.

  • Anonymous

    Well, no one else here seems to have mentioned it, so I’ll say it.

     –Cue the Munchkin chorus (“ding, dong, the witch is dead”…)

  • KT

    Come on Matty

    • Anonymous

      Its gonna be tough for him to get chances from here on out, particularly against southpaws and Rivera hitting behind him..

      • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

        Yes and while he hasn’t done anything today, Ethier has been much better against lefties this year. I say keep the 1-2 (or should I say 3-4) punch the same.

  • Anonymous

    Lyons talked about Pomeranz getting ahead of Ellis. He went 3-0 on Ellis before striking him out on a questionable call.

  • http://DoctorKeys.com/ Bruce Siegel

    Magic:  ”Frank’s not here, he’s not part of the Dodgers anymore — we should be clapping just for that.”

    Wow. That’s blunt! After seeing the two sitting together at the ballpark, It surprises me. Maybe Magic was just waiting for the sale to officially finalize before being so frank. Or maybe I should say, anti-Frank.

    • Anonymous

      Blunt, yes, but I think he was directing it more at reporters, not at McCourt.  He wanted the McCourt questions to stop.

      • http://DoctorKeys.com/ Bruce Siegel

        True. But under any circumstances, you wouldn’t say that about someone you respect, would you? He did say “WE should be clapping” not “you”. At any rate, it puts my mind to rest.

        • Anonymous

          Agree with that part.  I think Magic (and team) are genuinely happy for the fans, but I don’t get the impression that there is any personal animosity between himself and Frank McCourt.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       I think there was a big overreaction to that photo.

      • http://DoctorKeys.com/ Bruce Siegel

        Yeah, I figured it was more of a business formality than a buddy-buddy thing. But still, I’m glad to hear Magic unequivocally put some distance between the two.

      • Anonymous

        You’re tone deaf. How can you not get people’s anger and reaction. Those of us who sacrificed and boycotted deserved better.

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

          I’m not saying I don’t get the reaction. I totally get it.  I’m just saying that people inferred a partnership aspect from it that I don’t believe was really there. I think that appearance was little more than the equivalent of a changing of the guard.

          I think Magic would have been better served from a PR standpoint not to have been sitting with McCourt, but I don’t think it meant an endorsement of McCourt’s ways. The two sides made a deal – it’s not like we can pretend they don’t know each other or hate each other.
           

          • Anonymous

            I appreciate your response. I was pleasantly surprised. People in leadership positions must be acutely aware of the power of images to communicate a message. My family’s boycott of McCourt last year was at the expense of a treasured family activity. We understood, however, that it was a necessary sacrifice to get rid of this scoundrel for the long term health of the franchise. Because the Guggenheim group would not have been able to purchase the team without the boycott, they should not be surprised that people would react angrily at the photo. Their surprise at the questions at yesterday’s presser was equally incomprehensible or worse, disingenuous.

  • Anonymous

    Cuddyer got a nice deal at 33 years old from the Rox, $10.5 per year for 3.

  • KT

    the Ellis connection

  • Anonymous

    Ellis magnifico!

  • Anonymous

    Great slide by AJ!

  • KT

    1st IBB for Kemp…Come on Juan

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    That last quote from Vin makes me both happy and sad. It’s nice to think these guys will own the team for a long time, but sad to think of the short amount of time we have left with Vinny.

    • Anonymous

      I interpret this to mean that Vin expects this ownership to be around at least as long as the O’Malleys were.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         Yes, it wasn’t Vin bidding farewell himself – more like fatigue with the relatively constant change.

        • Anonymous

          Still, the thought of it did bring tears to my eyes.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

        Right, I got that too. But I couldn’t help but think about how much longer Vin will really be with us… made me a bit sad.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. Is that four changes of ownership for Vinny?

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         He mentioned Walter O’Malley, Peter O’Malley, Fox, Bob Daly, McCourt and now Guggenheim.

  • KT

    Another nice grap by Jerry

  • Anonymous

    Dee gets benched for hitting a home run. Maybe Don wanted him on base early instead :)

    • Anonymous

      Don’t want him to catch the Li’l Cesar (Izturis) Disease.

  • Anonymous

    Caught part of the presser Q&A in the car. Was delighted to hear Magic put Plaschke in his place.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Look for Matt Kemp to match or exceed this today. bit.ly/JTP6CV

    • Anonymous

      Let’s hope so, because each of those games was a Dodger victory.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Too bad about these home runs, huh?

    • KT

      yea I Know and this pitcher has everyone baffled

  • KT

    “he’s swearing at me…tell him to knock it off” says the home plate ump. After the ump called a questionable strike in his strike out Matt was pissed

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    I think I overheard Monday say that Kershaw is 42-6 when given the lead from the start of the game. Hopefully our offense gets going..

  • KT

    Way off the bag…

  • Anonymous

    Still no need for instant replay in MLB?

    • KT

      no but there should have been a conference on that one

      • Anonymous

        Its already creeped in, which scares me.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    I think Donnie was trying to get thrown out there, nice to see him get worked up. What a terrible call.

  • KT

    I think clayton hurt himself

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Why? What happened?

      • KT

        He slipped after picking up the ball before the throw to 1st…tweaking something…walked a little gingerly back to the mound but shook it off

      • Anonymous

        Hopefully, that answers that concern.  If he was hurting, no reason to have him bat in the 7th while losing by one with a man on.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like to second-guess umpires, but that’s a truly execrable call, almost as bad as the “imperfect game.”

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    You’re out?! RT @ChadMoriyama: RT @truebluela: Here is a better shot of that call bit.ly/IGLczW

    • KT

      yea I saw it originally then slowed my DVR…then the shot from 3rd was the clincher to make it laughable

  • Anonymous

    I know they were hoping to wait for the off day to make a decision on Uribe, but the right handed bench is almost non-existant today.

  • KT

    Come on Mark

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT