Andy and I spent Thursday afternoon filling in for John Ireland on 710 ESPN's Mason and Ireland Show, and no surprise much of the air time was sucked up by the Dodgers. While Frank McCourt fights back against Major League Baseball, Tom Schieffer, the Blue's new "monitor," was introduced to the media.
Among the litany of calls on the subject was one from an L.A. sports fan wishing the Buss family would buy into the Dodgers and show McCourt how to run a true winner. To be abundantly clear, it's absolutely not going to happen, but still raises a fun hypothetical for fans of both teams. If it was an option, would you want Dr. Buss to branch out into baseball? He's owned teams in other leagues, right? Why not a crown jewel of America's pastime?
Sounds tempting, particularly for Dodgers die hards. The Buss' certainly bring a sense of stability and trust, both of which are in short supply around the Ravine these days. Even better, Dr. Buss is a Dodger fan, and as I understand even toyed with the idea of buying in with them at different points in the past.
Still, it's not a good idea. The Buss family has become incredibly successful with the purple and gold in part because their focus is narrow. The Lakers are a family business- albeit one with incredible amounts of star power and cache, global reach, and sky high value- as opposed to one part of a larger sports empire. Basketball is their gig. It's what they know, and the record Dr. Buss has built as owner is the most impressive in professional sports.
Perhaps there's an alternate universe in which back in '79 Dr. Buss bought the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium instead of the Lakers, Kings, and the Forum. There, the Blue have more than a pair of World Series championships- none since '88- won since. But it's incredibly hard, particularly now, to run one successful franchise, let alone two (whether as a full owner or partner, particularly with someone like the McCourts).
There's a risk of robbing Peter to pay Paul, even if unintentionally.
In terms of delivering for their fans, the Lakers are about as close to the ideal as can be had. Appealing as it might seem to have someone like Dr. Buss take a hand in steering the Dodgers, it's best not to mess with what works.