Disney & the Dodgers?


Yesterday Bill Shaikin reported in the Los Angeles Times that Stanley Gold and the family of Walt Disney’s late nephew Roy Edward Disney are going to bid for the ownership of the Dodgers. Gold handles the Disney family private investment firm Shamrock Holdings.

The Walt Disney Company owned the Angels from 1996-2003 and during their championship year in 2002 when they beat the Giants in the World Series. They sold the team the following year. Disney also brought the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim into NHL reality after the success of their Mighty Ducks hockey movies. I remember visiting The Pond (now the Honda Center) during the early ’90s.

Gold is in discussions with potential investors since the current net worth of the Disney family is unknown.

“They would guard the Dodger name the way they guard the Disney name,” the source told the newspaper. The Disney family would hold the Dodgers as a private investment, and they would not be owned under the Walt Disney Co.

In the 1990’s Roy Disney set out to revitalize the Walt Disney Company and return to its tradition of animated feature films. The company had what can be described as a renaissance, and they produced a number of critically acclaimed films under Roy’s guidance during this time including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Roy Disney and Stanley Gold were instrumental in ousting CEO Michael Eisner and revamping the Walt Disney Company during the following decade as well.

I’m admittedly a Disney fan, and I feel that as a potential bidder the Disney family is not one of the worst choices. They do have a history and presence in So Cal, and perhaps they would work to preserve Dodger tradition. If you have ever been to Disneyland (and I have many times) you know that it hasn’t changed much over the years. Sure, there’s new attractions including the California Adventure theme park adjacent to the original Disneyland Resort, and minor revamps of its popular rides like Pirates of the Carribbean and Space Mountain, but the crux of the Happiest Place on Earth has remained intact. I feel more confident that the Disney family wouldn’t alter Dodger Stadium drastically like Joe Torre’s partner Rick Caruso might. After all, Dodger Stadium is already one of the happiest places on earth.