WBEZ | Ned Colletti http://www.wbez.org/tags/ned-colletti Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en L.A. Dodgers executive is a transplant from Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-05/la-dodgers-executive-transplant-chicago-99238 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ned%20Colletti%20and%20%20Cubs%20GM%20Jim%20Hendry%20at%20Wrigley%202008.jpg" title="L.A. Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti and then-Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry during the L.A.-Cubs playoffs in 2008. (AP/Nan Y. Huh)" /></div><p>It was big off-the-field news when the L.A. Dodgers were sold for over $2 billion to the Guggenheim Baseball Management Group, led by NBA legend Magic Johnson, earlier this month. Since then, the spotlight has been on the former basketball great and his&nbsp;partners, former NBA and MLB executive Stan Kasten and Chicago billionaire Mark Walter.</p><p>But behind the scenes, the new owners are enjoying the fruits of Ned Colletti&rsquo;s labor. The general manager has the team on top of the NL West: Last season,&nbsp;Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award and teammate Matt Kemp was runner up for the MVP honor.&nbsp;</p><p>Colletti is a Chicago native who grew up with a love for baseball. I spoke to him recently about his incredible journey, starting with humble beginnings.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1337780253-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Cheryl-Nedcolletti1.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Standing on the grass of Wrigley Field during a recent Chicago visit, Colletti said he believes the present Cubs ownership has done a great job with subtle changes from the additional&nbsp;seats and new scoreboard. He recalled the first time he set foot in the classic ballpark:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1337780285-3" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cheryl-nedcolletti2.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ned%20Colletti%20at%20Wrigley%205-12.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Los Angeles General Manager Ned Colletti at Wrigley Field in mid-May. (WBEZ/Cheryl Raye-Stout)" /></div><p>Looking at&nbsp;baseball today, Colletti said the salaries &ndash; and the players &ndash; are bigger than they were during his days working for the North Siders. He recalled Cubs first baseman Bill Bucker was the 1980 NL batting champ and only earned $400,000 that year; now the minimum salary is $480,000. Colletti believes that baseball has returned to pitching and defense after the enhanced home-run era.</p><p>Circling back to his roots, Colletti talked about the unusual connection he made with Cubs icon Ron Santo, who will posthumously enter the Hall of Fame in July.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1337780327-5" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cheryl-nedcolletti3.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The short visit to Chicago with the Dodgers allowed Colletti a chance to see his mother, sons and other family members. At Wrigley Field, owners Kasten and Walter made their first public appearance&nbsp;as Colletti&#39;s&nbsp;new bosses. After years&nbsp;of turmoil under the Frank McCourt ownership,&nbsp;Colletti knows the team finally has financially stability, evident when the price tag for the Dodgers was twice what the Ricketts family paid for the&nbsp;Cubs just a few years ago.</p></p> Wed, 23 May 2012 08:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-05/la-dodgers-executive-transplant-chicago-99238