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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billie Jean King has gone back to her
roots in becoming part of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ ownership group.The tennis
champion first became enamored with the team when it arrived from Brooklyn in
1958. King says she and younger brother Randy Moffitt “grew up bleeding Dodger
blue” in Long Beach. Moffitt later pitched in the majors for teams that included
the rival San Francisco Giants ,
or as King puts it “the wrong team.”King and her partner Ilana Kloss have taken
an undisclosed stake in the Dodgers at the invitation of owner Mark Walter.“It’s
a great thing for the Dodgers,” manager Dave Roberts said.Pending approval by
the WNBA, King and Kloss are also expected to have an ownership interest along
with Walter in the Los Angeles Sparks.“We’re not allowed to talk about it,” King
said, referring to her percentage of the Dodgers. “We’re all in this
together.”King said she hopes they “can make a difference that’s meaningful and
be impactful.”She and Kloss met Walter and his wife Kimbra in the last year
while helping raise money for a new tennis complex on the South Side of Chicago,
where King splits her time when she’s not in New York.“We took a beat and waited
and then said we’ve got to do this,” said Kloss, who is King’s former doubles
partner. “It’s funny how little deals sometimes take forever and deals that are
the most meaningful are about the people and the relationships.”Walter, King and
Kloss didn’t get into specifics about what their roles with the team will be.“We
need a lot of listening first because this has happened very fast Steve
Pearce Jersey
,” King said. “We need to learn from
everybody.”Walter said King and Kloss “know a ton” about professional sports and
leagues, with King having co-founded World TeamTennis, which just wrapped up its
43rd season.“They’re so underselling what they add in terms of value,” Walter
said.One area that King and Kloss hope to expand upon is the Dodgers’ efforts to
be inclusive to the LGBTQ community.“I care so much about everyone,” King said.
“I want everyone to feel included.”Kloss added, “We really are excited not only
about doing well but doing good.”King, the 74-year-old former No. 1 player in
the world, was like a kid at batting practice Thursday. Sporting a No. 17
jersey, she and Kloss stood behind the cage watching the Dodgers take cuts while
chatting with coaches.King said it is her and her brother’s favorite number
since both favor odd numbers.King caught up with outfielder Chase
Utley ,
whom she’s known since his days with the Philadelphia Phillies. She pointed out
that they attended the same junior high and high school, albeit at different
times, in Long Beach.King and Kloss are the first women among the current
Dodgers ownership, which includes NBA legend Magic Johnson and entertainment
executive Peter Guber.“It’s great as women that we’re a part of this,” King
said. “It sends a very strong message.” If Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny
Machado is going to be traded this season, he prefers it to be sooner rather
than later."Just get it over with already, go on and not answer these questions
no more," he said when discussing the trade process, per Scott Lauber of the
Philly Inquirer. Lauber noted Machado has no interest in having the rumors drag
up to the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.Machado is an obvious trade
candidate as that deadline approaches considering he is set for unrestricted
free agency this offseason and his 28-69 Orioles are nowhere near contention at
39.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.Baltimore runs
the significant risk of losing one of the best offensive players in the league
without a favorable trade package to accelerate its rebuild in return if it
doesn鈥檛 move him via trade.Machado may get his wish to have the whole situation
over with soon consideringJim Bowdenof The Athletic reported a trade is expected
to take place during the All-Star break and before the Orioles resume their
season on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.According toNick Cafardoof
theBoston Globe Matt Adams
, "multiple teams" are still in contention to land Machado,
including the New York Yankees.While there is inherent risk involved in trading
for the shortstop given his contract status and the fact whichever team lands
him will be forced to part with pieces for a potential rental, he is an
offensive force who would bolster any lineup heading into the stretch run and
the postseason.He will play in his fourth career All-Star Game on Tuesday and is
slashing .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI. If he continues to produce
at such a clip, he will eclipse his career-high totals of a .294 batting average
and 96 RBI.Which uniform he is wearing after the break remains to be seen, but
Machado is apparently tired of waiting to find out.
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