Baseball owners approve sale of Dodgers to Frank McCourt

Friday, January 30th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Six years after going corporate, the Dodgers are back to being family owned.

Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda approves wholeheartedly.

``I'm happy about this. I see big things out of this man,'' Lasorda said Thursday after baseball owners unanimously approved the $430 million sale of major league baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers from News Corp. to Frank McCourt.

``Having a family own it again is great. That's what we need,'' said Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1977-96 and is now a senior vice president. ``I think he's going to turn this team around.''

The O'Malley family controlled the Dodgers for nearly 48 years before selling to News Corp. in March 1998.

``You put them in the same (category) with the O'Malleys,'' Lasorda said of McCourt and his wife, Jamie.

McCourt announced Oct. 10 he agreed to buy the team. He had lengthy talks with officials of the commissioner's office and other owners, who were concerned about the amount of debt in the deal. News Corp. will retain a minority stake.

Under scrutiny over his finances and a target of local criticism, McCourt made some bold promises at a news conference at Dodger Stadium.

``Welcome to a new era of Dodger baseball,'' he said. ``I intend to restore the glory days of Dodger baseball with a team worthy of support from our fans. We've committed not just to buy this team, but to win a world championship.''

The Dodgers haven't won a postseason game since beating Oakland in the 1988 World Series.

The price is the second-highest for a baseball team, trailing only the $660 million paid for the Boston Red Sox two years ago.