Like a movie, every league needs a good villain.
Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), and Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic) talk about the essential role superteams play in sports.
The Evil Empire of U.S. sports has always resided in New York, where the profligate Yankees have outspent the opposition for decades. But this summer proves that a Wicked Witch of the West is rising—the L.A. Dodgers, and to a lesser extent the NBA's L.A. Lakers.
The Dodgers were acquired earlier this year by mogul investors Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson (yes, that Magic), and private fund firm Guggenheim Partners among others for an eye-popping $2 billion. With deep-pocketed private fund backers and one of the country's largest markets AND a multi-billion dollar TV deal with Fox in the works, the Dodgers were expected to spend big at the trade deadline, which they did by acquiring elite Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez. But no one expected what came last week: a megadeal with Boston where the Dodgers acquired star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, malcontent pitcher Josh Beckett, and injured former star Carl Crawford for a package of minor leaguers and big-league nobodies. That's more than $260 million in player salaries overall picked up by the Dodgers in a single day.