Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sports Chowdah Update- Dodgers Under New Management Thanks To Some Magic; Rising Sun- A's & M's Begin Season in Japan; Lightning Round- B's Make it 3

MLB- A group of California investors including former LA Laker great Magic Johnson announced on Tuesday that they had won the rights to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion. Last year, the Dodgers had filed for bankruptcy and Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a trustee to oversee the day to day operations of the Dodgers. The team had been financially struggling since owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie filed for divorce in 2009. McCourt was reportedly close to reaching an agreement with MLB regarding ownership and day to day operations of the Dodgers when a restructed TV deal with FOX was struck down by Selig, negating the entire agreement.

The new owners, known as Guggenheim Baseball Management also said they would form a joint venture with McCourt and certain affiliates of Guggenheim to purchase the real-estate in Chavez Ravine in a seperate transaction worth an estimated $150 Million.

The $2 billion transaction is reportedly the most any ownership group has paid for a professional sports club, surpassing the $1 billion paid by Steve Ross for the Miami Dolphins and C$1.3 billion Bell Canada and Rogers Communications paid for a 75% stake in the Toronto Maple Leafs in late 2011.

ELSEWHERE IN MLB- The regular season kicked off early Wednesday morning in the USA with an AL West matchup taking place a little further west than the Bay Area and Seattle.

Before a a sellout crowd of 44,000 at the Tokyo Dome, Felix Hernandez went 8 innings for the Mariners, allowing 5 hits and one run. Hernandez left with the game tied at 1-1 before 2B Dustin Ackley drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and Ichiro Suzuki run gave the Mariners some insurance. Brandon League came on in the bottom of the 11th to preserve the win while Ichiro went 4 for 5 with an RBI.

The Mariners and A's will go at it again on Thursday for the second game in the Tokyo Dome before returning to the USA. Before Wednesday's game, players and managers from both teams toured the quake and tsunami-ravaged city of Ishinomaki and held a clinic for displaced students. MLB also reportedly donated $500,000 to the municipality.

RED SOX- After trading SS Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies, manager Bobby Valentine named the starting shortstop for the 2012 Red Sox season as Mike Aviles. Although Aviles hasn't regularly played shortstop since 2008, but batted .333 during spring training so far. Aviles beats out 22 year old Cuban prospect Jose Iglesias for the starting position- Iglesias will start the season with AAA Pawtucket. So far, Iglesias has a career batting average of .261 on the minors.

NHL- The Bruins returned home to the Garden to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night after wrapping up their west coast road trip.

The Lightning got off to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Steven Stamkos tally five minutes into the first before Shawn Thronton tied things up at 1-1 before the first intermission. The Bruins then took the 2-1 on a Dennis Seidenberg goal with 5 minutes to in the second.

Early in the 3rd, the Lightning tied the contest back up with a power play goal- once again from Stamkos- before the Bruins scored three unanswered goal from Benoit Pouliot, Brad Marchand and an empty-netter from Rich Peverly to seal Boston's 5-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Tim Thomas turned aside 16 of 18 shots while Dwayne Roloson stopped 33 of 37 shots faced for the Lightning. The Bruins went 0-5 on the power play while Tampa Bay was 1-4 with the man advantage. The win is the Bruins 3rd straight and puts some more distance between them and Ottawa Senators.

The Bruins will next host the Washington Capitals at the Garden. Washington is fighting for their playoff lives after their 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. Buffalo leapfrogs past the Caps for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference. Thursday night's game will be televised on the NHL Network and gets underway at 7:00 PM.

NBA- Looks like good things come in threes for the Celtics as well. After back-to-back wins against the lowly Wizards and Bobcats, the C's hosted the Utah Jazz- winners of 7 of their last 8 games.

The C's nearly blew an 18 point lead late but managed to pull away and win by a 94-82 final. Kevin Garnett led the scoring for Boston with 23 points and 10 rebounds on the night.

With Tuesday night's win, the Celtics move into a tie with the 76ers for first place- although Philly owns the tiedbreakers by virtue of their wins against the Celtics in head-to-head contests this season.

The Celtics will next travel to the Twin Cities to take on Kevin Garnett's former team- the Minnesota Timberwolves- on Firday night.

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