Mark Cuban Could Make Dodgers, Major League Baseball Winners, If Price Is Right for Polarizing Owner


Mark Cuban Could Make Dodgers, Major League Baseball Winners, If Price Is Right for Polarizing Owner The Dodgers are in hell right now. They're not just in financial hell, but they're also in baseball hell. Add it all up, and they're in public relations hell.

Really, things cannot get any worse. It's dire. It's dreadful. It's any other piece of hyperbole that you can think of to describe the opposite of a good time.

After owner Frank McCourt filed for bankruptcy on Monday, the eternal pessimist will tell you that the Dodgers are a lost cause, and they will be for a very, very long time. The optimist, on the other hand, will tell you that things can only go up from here.

For the Dodgers, Mark Cuban could be the man to get things trending in an upward direction.

When the Dodgers are officially up for sale — which is a certainty at this point, no? — many will look for Cuban to rescue the once proud franchise. The Dallas Mavericks owner is a savvy businessman, and only makes moves when he feels he can benefit financially.

Yet, if he can somehow be convinced that the Dodgers make sense to add to his portfolio, Cuban could be the knight in shining armor for L.A., and he could make winners out of everyone involved.

Cuban's track record with the Mavs speaks for itself. Before Cuban arrived in the Big D, the Mavs were fledgling in mediocrity — or at least that's what the eternal optimist would say. Perhaps more importantly, at least in the immediate future, Cuban's Midas touch will benefit the Dodgers' bottom line.

The Dodgers are losing money, and they're losing support from some of the best fans in baseball. Last season, the Dodgers averaged 43,979 fans per game. This season, they're all the way down to 36,074 per contest.

That's not something that's unfamiliar to Cuban. He bought his stake in the Mavs in January of 2000. In his first full season, 2000-01, the Mavs saw their total attendance jump from just under 700,000 to over 800,000. They averaged about 16,500 fans per game in 1999-2000 and then jumped to right around 19,500 fans per game the next season.

Perhaps more importantly, bringing Cuban in would change the culture of Dodgers baseball. One, it would improve stability, although that's not saying much, when at this point, anyone not named McCourt would be a step in the right direction. But bringing in Cuban and his loud, yet captivating, personality may be a key to revitalizing the Dodgers. They do, after all, play in the shadow of Hollywood.

The Dodgers don't need to win right now. Sure, everyone loves a winner, but what the Dodgers really need is to be relevant again, in a positive light that is. The McCourts have made the Dodgers the laughingstock of baseball, but bringing in Cuban would change things around real quickly.

On-field performance will take some time, yes, but Cuban now has that championship ring (or whatever they're going to be getting) that validates him as a winning owner.

Cuban may be facing an even bigger hurdle than the Dodgers' books in a potential quest to gain ownership. He will have to somehow gain the approval of his potential peers.

Any ownership change has to be approved by fellow MLB owners, a group that is notoriously old school and conservative. Small-market owners may feel like he would make things even more unfair (think Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, etc.), and big-market owners may feel threatened by him.

However, having Mark Cuban as one of 30 major league owners will only stand to benefit that wealthy fraternity.

Major League Baseball's intricate revenue sharing system is built, in part, to benefit everyone. More revenue for the Dodgers would mean a bigger piece of the pie for other owners. Throw in Cuban's mastery of TV (HDNet makes him a whole ton of money every year and the foundation of his fortune comes from, and that's even more money that could be split up across the bigs.

Restoring the Dodgers to relevancy — on the field and at the turnstiles — should signal gain for the rest of the owners. If Cuban is able to work his magic (and why shouldn't we believe he could?), a trip from the Dodgers may mean something again.

Even better, can you imagine a cross-country feud between Cuban, and say, Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner? Or, if Mets chief Jeff Wilpon is willing to criticize David Wright, he'd certainly go after Cuban, right? That could be a lot of fun.

Approving a potential sale to Cuban would be a nice "Our bad" gesture by the owners. After all, they had to let this happen, as they did once think the McCourt purchase was a good idea.

Again, this all depends on Cuban, and his savvy business sense. You don't become a bajillionaire by making poor business decisions, and lets' face it, this would probably be a risk of major proportions.

But it could work. Right?

Mark Cuban would certainly shake things up for baseball, and that could very well be a good thing. In a sport that lacks substantial star power like the NBA, having Cuban on board would help increase MLB's star power, even if it's in the owner's box and not the batter's box.

Cuban undoubtedly loves the spotlight. And if he's able to see the merit in purchasing the Dodgers and if he's able to turn them around (admittedly two big ifs), Cuban would be in his element, with the spotlight shining on him. And where does the spotlight burn brighter than La-La Land?

Hopefully for the Dodgers' sake and as a result, baseball's sake, Mark Cuban is the next owner of the Dodgers. If he isn't, it's going to have to be someone similar to him. For everyone involved.

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