Torre pursues ownership of Dodgers

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Torre pursues ownership of Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - Baseball veteran Joe Torre is partnering with Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso to bid for the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers.

The two join a long list of prospective bidders lining up for the storied baseball franchise. The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June after the Major League Baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, rejected a proposed renewal of the team’s broadcast rights with News Corporation’s Fox Sports.

The Dodgers ended their feud with MLB in November by agreeing to auction the team. MLB in return agreed to allow team owner Frank McCourt to sell media rights to future games sooner than Fox’s current contract allows, in order to boost the value of the team.

Fox Sports, which has now become the team’s adversary, last month won a key victory by persuading a judge to temporarily halt the team’s plan to sell the media rights to games starting in 2014 - rights that were expected to be worth up to $3 billion.

Some sports experts predict the Dodgers, stadium and some related assets could fetch more than $1 billion. McCourt bought the team in 2004 for $430 million, primarily financed with debt.

Forbes magazine valued the assets at $800 million in March.

Torre, who played 18 seasons in the majors, managed the Dodgers from 2008-10 following a 12-year stint as manager of the New York Yankees, where he won the World Series four times.

He said on Wednesday he had resigned his post in MLB’s front office in order to bid for the Dodgers.

“I have made this decision because of a unique chance to join a group that plans to bid for the Dodgers,” he said. “After leaving the field, this job was an incredible experience.

Torre, 71, was appointed baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations in February, overseeing areas that included on-field discipline and umpiring. McCourt and Selig reached a deal on Nov. 2 to put the team up for sale. Terms of the pact were sketched out in a court filing last month, effectively starting the auction for the team and stadium.

The prospective bidders include a who’s who list of sports and financial heavyweights, including basketball legend Magic Johnson, hedge fund titan Steven Cohen, media mogul Mark Cuban, financier Ron Burkle, sports agent and Los Angeles businessman Dennis Gilbert, and former Dodgers star Steve Garvey.

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