When Magic Johnson brought his midas touch and warm smile to the Los Angeles Dodgers front office, he brought with it a winning attitude. As a result, the wins and gate receipts are piling up at Dodger Stadium — way up. In 2012, the Dodgers finished fifth in attendance.
This year, the Dodgers rank first — averaging about 45,000 fans per game.
It’s no secret Magic loves to win. The Dodgers have taken over the city and firmly cemented their status as L.A.’s definitive team. Of course, there are Los Angeles Angels fans that would beg to differ, but the standings and headlines will prove the contrary.
The recipe is classic Magic: Acquire likable stars and a team that can gel and produce when needed.
Enter Yasiel Puig. He’s creating new levels of awesomeness every night as ESPN tells us. The slugger has single-handedly overtaken the league spotlight from the likes of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Crowds fill opposing stadiums to catch a glimpse of the superstar. Every at-bat is mired in delirious awe and wonder. He is the real deal.
His smile is infectious and his bat deadly. Puig has really been the Dodgers’ savior this year, shouldering the load for the injured Matt Kemp. With Kemp back on the DL and unlikely to return to at least September, can Puig continue to carry the load?
Magic sure thinks so. “Not only his skill set of being a really good baseball player, but also that fire and passion. He passed that on to the other guys, and I think that then we just really started coming together,” Johnson told the L.A. Times.
That fire and passion has extended to Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford, each having key roles in Dodger victories as of late. The Dodgers notched their 15th consecutive road win on Monday night and show no signs of stopping. It’s a winning attitude that starts at the top and filters to the bottom. Certainly Magic can’t take all the credit, but he’s definitely the toast of the town these days.
Dodgers fans are excited but deservedly anxious as well. L.A. is known for late-season collapses and the race for playoff spots will heat up with divisional games in the coming weeks. It’s a promising sign, but more work needs to be done. Championship gold would bring a smile to many faces in L.A. this season.
None bigger than Magic’s.