A painful chapter in Los Angeles Dodgers history has been closed, as a group of investors that includes former NBA star Magic Johnson and highly regarded baseball executive Stan Kasten will officially begin operating the franchise in the coming weeks. Kasten, who ran the Braves for a very successful 17-year stretch earlier in his career, will become the club’s president and CEO.
Stan Kasten joined Fox Sports Radio to discuss his group’s plans for the Dodgers moving forward. Kasten broke down where he sees the team on and off the field right now, and delivered a thesis for how he plans to improve things.
On his new role with the team:
“This is a dream come true for a guy like me. For a guy who does what I do, this is the best gig that you can imagine. And I’ve done and been around some really cool things in my life, I’ve been very fortunate, but this should top them all and I couldn’t be more excited.”
On the status of the franchise on the field:
“I would say from the outside you could say it’s probably middle of the pack on the major league side and middle of the pack in scouting and player development. I could be wrong — until I’m inside you can’t really know. And it’s clear that they have a chance to win the division this year if things go right. So I’m very eager to get in there and start to work with Ned (Colletti) and all the people on his team and work with Donnie (Mattingly). And then of course working with all the people on the business side. There’s a lot to do. We thought there is enormous upside and enormous potential, because there’s only one Dodgers, and we’re so proud today to be finally associated with them.”
On if there’s a mission statement for his ownership group:
“Well, I have things I really believe in running a franchise. And I’ve been saying this a lot already, so pretty soon you’re gonna get bored with it, but I’m gonna keep saying it. There are three things I think that are critical in building a franchise and those are the same for every franchise and every business: our product, which is our team on the field, and that goes back to scouting and player development; our customers, which is our fans and the fan experience, everything that goes in it … and then our program reaching out throughout our community, our brand, the way we connect with our customers when they’re not watching us on TV, when they’re not at our ballpark. We have to continue the very proud tradition of the Dodgers and community relations. It started with the O’Malleys, and give credit where it’s due — Frank (McCourt) really did a great job continuing those community efforts. We hope to continue them and build on them. I think there’s one additional element when you talk about Dodgers. When you look at the Dodgers from afar, the word I associate with the franchise is pride. There’s a pride that you just can’t talk about with the average franchise. Everyone who puts on that uniform has a unique pride. Everyone who works in the front office has a unique pride. And it extends even to the fans. Fans have a real connection, a real pride in the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Dodgers family. So that’s unique, that’s a thrilling element for me to have to work with. And like I said, it’s a privilege, a challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”
On what Dodgers fans should expect from a price standpoint:
“The truth is that for most things the die is cast for 2012. We’re not even getting in there till May, and we’re gonna take the time that we have to learn as much as we can from the staff that’s in place, to meet with as many fans as we can. I’ll meet with them every night, all night. That’s what I do. I’ll meet with groups, I’ll talk to groups. If you need me for a speech, I’m there. … No decisions like that have been made, but we’re mindful of the importance of the customer experience, and we’re gonna think long and hard about the best way to do everything.”