Initial bids for the Dodgers officially have been made. Tony Jackson covered it for ESPNLosAngeles.com, while Bill Shaikin was on it for the Times. Not much in the way of surprises in a process that still has some time to develop. From Jackson:
... Although the passing of the deadline represents a significant step in the sale process, it isn't necessarily a major one. For one thing, additional bids are still welcome even with the deadline having passed, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. For another, even the groups that placed initial bids aren't set in stone, as there could be merging of groups, individual movement between groups and individual additions or subtractions within a specific group.
Two bidders said talks about possible group mergers were ongoing. They both spoke on condition of anonymity because Blackstone Group made them sign nondisclosure agreements.
"It would be a shock if they don't start talking merger," said Marc Ganis, president of the Chicago-based consulting firm Sportscorp, which is not involved. "I think we'll get a half-dozen parties that are actually in the bid, plus or minus one."
What the passing of the deadline does mean is that the weeding-out process can now officially begin. This initial phase will involve eliminating candidates whose bids simply aren't competitive. Once that process is complete, Blackstone will submit its list of remaining candidates to Major League Baseball for a vetting process that already is underway in a preliminary sense -- MLB already is looking at all candidates who were given bid books -- but at that point will intensify.
There is no deadline for the submitting of those candidates to MLB, although the April 30 deadline for completing the sale -- and the April 1 deadline for selecting the owner and ownership group that ultimately will get the team -- necessarily means the process will move comparatively quickly.
One source in the Dodgers camp said McCourt views the April 30 deadline as rigid, but baseball commissioner Bud Selig said two weeks ago at MLB's quarterly owners meetings that he feels confident the sale will be completed on time and that "I think we're on track," both characterizations that seemed to allow for some wiggle room. ...
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- Mike Piazza said it's "no question" he would like to go into the Hall of Fame as a Met (Mets Blog via Baseball Think Factory).
- Mike Silva's NY Baseball Digest has this story of close a 20-year-old Tom Seaver came to being a Dodger.
... “He was born to be a Dodger,” Travers said. “Born and raised in California, went to USC, had season tickets to Dodger games because his uncle has season tickets in Los Angeles, and he would use them every fourth and fifth day to see Koufax and Drysdale.”
As luck would have it, Seaver was drafted by the Dodgers in the 10th round of the 1965 draft. Seaver wanted $50,000 to sign; the Dodgers offered $2,000 along with advice from a scout by the name of Tommy Lasorda. “Good luck with your dental career,” Lasorda said. This was in reference to the fact that Seaver was a pre-dental student at USC.
Seaver would sign a contract with Atlanta the following year, only to see it voided by the commissioner’s office because his college team played some exhibition games. He couldn’t return to school since he was now considered a “pro.” The league responded by setting up a lottery with interested teams. The Dodgers tried to get involved once again, but ultimately failed to follow through, which led to the Mets winning Seaver’s rights in the lottery over Cleveland and Philadelphia. ...
- James Loney is now the dean of the Dodgers in service time, writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. No. 2, if you go by signing date, is Ramon Troncoso, followed by Matt Kemp.
- The gang's all there: Eric Stults, Delwyn Young and Hector Gimenez signed minor-league deals with White Sox, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball put the Dodger farm system in the bottom 10 of the majors, while the Padres' kids were first in the National League.
- Jon SooHoo passes along this vintage photo of Dodger beat writers from the 1990s.
- New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is considering a change in the nickname and uniforms of the erstwhile Colt '45s, reports The Associated Press. I trust the next Dodger owner isn't thinking similarly.