The Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged as a baseball powerhouse with Guggenheim Baseball Management at the helm since their acquisition of the organization in 2012. Led by Dodgers chairman and controlling owner Mark Walter, president and CEO Stan Kasten, and co-owner Magic Johnson, the club was valued by Forbes at an all-time high of $2.75 billion this season.
With a plethora of resources invested into the team, the Dodgers have won five consecutive National League West division titles dating back to 2013. Los Angeles won an MLB-best 104 games this season and cruised to a three-game sweep over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series.
On Thursday, the Dodgers capped off a dominating performance in the NL Championship Series with an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 — eliminating the defending World Series champions on their home field and advancing to the Fall Classic for the first time in 29 years.
While members of the Dodgers ownership group were with the team at Wrigley Field, Johnson was tending to his duties as Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations.
“This is a great moment for the players,” Johnson said from Staples Center. “They all stepped up. I’m just happy for all the players and Dodger fans across the world. Dave [Roberts] has done a wonderful job of managing our team.
“To be in our first World Series is a true blessing. This is a moment I’ll never forget. I was torn, because I wanted to be here for Lonzo Ball’s first game, and I’m glad that I’m here, but my heart is all the way in Chicago.”
Johnson went on record earlier this season to predict a World Series championship for the Dodgers in 2017.
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Clayton Kershaw, the recipient of unfair postseason criticism in recent seasons, propelled the Dodgers to their first World Series appearance since 1988 with a six innings of one-run ball to earn the win in the NLCS clincher.
“I’m so happy that Clayton Kershaw can finally get to pitch in the World Series,” Johnson said. “He deserves this moment. I want to really thank him because he’s been a great leader for out team.
Since joining the Dodgers organization in 2012, Johnson and Guggenheim Baseball Management have revitalized a Los Angeles fanbase that had lost hope in recent years with former owner Frank McCourt at the helm.
“When we all came together, our goal was to get us back in the World Series,” Johnson said. “People didn’t understand why we spent the money we spent. It was because we wanted to be in the World Series.”
The consortium has shown a willingness to improve the Dodgers at all costs, whether it’s increasing the yearly payroll or investing in international talent to polish the farm system.
In addition to his five rings with the Lakers, Johnson won another in 2016 as co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks. He may now add a World Series ring to his résumé in the coming weeks.