Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Los Angeles Dodgers of Dokdo

Southern Californians, as of late, have been subjected to a near daily soap opera surrounding the divorce of the McCourts, the uber-rich couple that own the L.A. Dodgers, and the resulting forced sale of the iconic baseball franchise.

I love me the Dodgers — though I'm first and foremost an Angels fan — but I haven't really followed the McCourt saga. Where it got interesting for me, however, was when it was announced yesterday that one of the handful of suitors for the boys in blue is a well-known Korean company:
A consortium led by South Korean retailer E-Land is among the short-listed bidders vying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yonhap news reported on Monday.

The Dodgers said late last week that a preliminary round of bidding had been completed and all parties would be notified of the results.

The E-Land consortium is one of the short-listed bidders for the Dodgers, Yonhap reported, quoting an unnamed industry official. [Reuters]
With legendary has-been Park Chanho having put Dodger Stadium on the Korean tourist map, there is already an affinity toward the Los Angeles club. One wonders, though, what kinds of tie-ins with Korean stuff we might see if E-Land takes over the Dodgers.

They could sell kimchi dogs,
 although that name would
 probably lead to considerable
 misunderstanding. [source]
We should expect thunderstix, a Korean invention already popular down the 5-Freeway in Orange County. Maybe Kimchi Night, where all ticket holders are given a panchan-sized portion of the pungent stuff (though this brings the danger that it might be thrown at the players if the spectators suddenly have a bout of Shakespearean scorn).

Maybe hot dogs with kyŏja. Or the best idea ever at a baseball stadium: 2000-won beer.

[UPDATE: No, comely cheerleaders and bat girls would make 2000-won beer the second best idea ever.]

We might even see a nightly parade of K-pop stars throwing out the first pitch with their stick-like girlie arms. And maybe some of the female stars might try it, too.

Perhaps the first North-South summit involving the Prodigious Progeny can be held while he and the leader of South Korea take in a Dodger game (though that sounds eerily close to the climactic scene of Shiri, and Kim Jong-un is better known for liking that other b-ball... maybe Lotte can buy the Lakers).

But my bold prediction is a name change. Just as Arte Moreno decided that the name "Anaheim" didn't have enough cache as a team moniker and so he decided to change the name of the Orange County home team to "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" [obligatory spitting on the ground in disgust] to raise awareness of the Angels franchise, maybe E-Land will decide that the Tokto issue needs its profile raised, and we shall see what's up there in the title.

Stranger things have happened.

Apparently E-Land's bid has the backing of former Dodgers president and owner Peter O'Malley (who knew there were so many Irish Angelenos?), and vice-versa:
Peter O'Malley's bid to buy back the Dodgers is supported by financing from the South Korean conglomerate E-Land, two people familiar with the Dodgers' sale process said Monday.

If the O'Malley bid is successful, E-Land Chairman Song Soo Park would become a major investor in the Dodgers, one of the people said.

The ownership group also would have investors from Los Angeles. O'Malley has had discussions with Tony Ressler, a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Ares Capital, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Foreign investment is not necessarily an obstacle to MLB ownership; the Seattle Mariners' ownership group includes a significant Japanese presence. In November, O'Malley told The Times that he wanted to lead an investment group in which he would return as the Dodgers' chief executive. ...

Under O'Malley, the Dodgers were pioneers in international baseball, particularly in Asia. In 1994, three years before O'Malley sold the team to News Corp., Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park became the first Korean player to appear in a major league game. ...

E-Land has expanded its business interests from fashion into such areas as hotels and resorts, restaurants and construction, according to the company website.

According to the E-Land website, the company opened its first U.S. retail store in 2007 at a mall in Stamford, Conn., under the brand name "Who A.U." The slogan for the brand: "California Dream."
This really would be a California dream. Although a lot of people would be asking of E-Land, "Who are you?"



  1. Thunderstix? I sincerely hope not. Now, scantily clad young women dancing on the dugout roof would be a welcome addition. Not to mention all sorts of Korean street food. But those inflated tubes, ugh, barbarism!

    1. D'oh! How could I forget about scantily clad young women dancing on the dugout roof?! Especially when I waxed lyrically about their virtues in a favorite post of mine from 2009.

      Thanks for reminding me. I've since updated the post.


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