Explaining Southern California's economy

Caruso and Torre: An LA dream team wants to buy the Dodgers

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Manager Joe Torre of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 24, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Joe Torre won four World Series with the New York Yankees before moving to the Dodgers and clinching a pair of National League West titles. Rick Caruso has created the closest thing LA has to beloved public spaces, with his Grove and Americana shopping complexes.

Now the two men have joined forces to buy the Dodgers. The team has to be sold out of bankruptcy by April 30.

The LA Times Opinion L.A. blog sums up the state of the potential bidding war:

They join a growing list of heavy-hitting potential buyers including billionaire hedge-fund executive Steven Cohen, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, former Dodgers stars Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey, basketball legend and businessman Magic Johnson, and respected former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley. As the so-called bid book went out last month from owner Frank McCourt to provide prospective bidders with information on the team's worth,  more people were announcing their interest in buying the iconic team.

Let's break down that list. Steven Cohen is a complex and secretive guy. It's not clear why he wants to buy the team. Cuban is a brilliant but also opinionated and controversial owner. But he's from the basketball world. Hershiser and Garvey have the nostalgia factor — but do they understand big-league ball in the 21st century? And Magic? Sounds great, but again, a basketball guy. Peter O'Malley might be too old school, but he is a scion of family that brought the Dodgers to LA from Brooklyn.

The Caruso-Torre partnership makes sense right now. Caruso has created a new kind of throwback Vegas-by-the-beach civic sensibility for LA (minus the seediness), while Torre has demonstrated that he can win it all and manage, most of the time, tempestuous talents. The obvious question is whether the pair can line up enough money. Steven Cohen, after all, is worth $8 billion. And the team could ultimately sell for $1 billion or more.

Of course, this probably means that Caruso won't be running for mayor in 2012, which deprives Angelenos of a political spectacle. But going after the Dodgers should more than make up for it. 

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