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Opinion Commentary: Bringing a World Series home to North Texas

Commentary: Bringing a World Series home to North Texas

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John Henry
FWBP Contributor

An anecdote in recent years wound its way around town, telling a story of Fort Worth native and businessman Bobby Patton, an avowed horseflesh enthusiast and player, dropping some serious coin at a cutting horse sale.

He had found more than just a few that he liked and tossed around a few dollar bills as if they were tumbleweeds crossing the road in the flattest spot in West Texas.

A big day for Rocking P Ranch, the Patton family ranch, someone said to him, spending that kind of dough on four-legged prospects.

“This? Big money?” he is said to have replied, paraphrasing. “A middle infielder who sits on the bench … now that’s big money.”

In addition to oil and gas properties, chiefly in Texas and Kansas, Patton has a number of other business investments in a number of sectors, including ranching and, yes, horses.

He is also a partner in Guggenheim Baseball Management, which owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Through that investment he has achieved what fellow Fort Worthians Tommy Mercer, Brad Corbett, Amon Carter Jr., Richard Rainwater, and, to date, Bob Simpson have all failed to do.

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Bobby Patton heads to his seat before a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, May 10, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Win a World Series in Arlington.

The Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 at Arlington’s Globe Life Field Oct. 27 to win baseball’s world championship series four games to two. Major League Baseball moved the series in toto to Globe Life Field as part of its comprehensive plan to conduct postseason operations in the environment of a “bubble” so as to avoid a disruption to the games because of any exposure to COVID-19.

The Cubs thought the goat was a curse. Those living in 2020 will show them a curse.

Appropriate doesn’t seem fit to describe how suitable it is for the Dodgers to win a World Series title for the first time in 32 years mere miles from Fort Worth. For years in the previous century, the North Side was headquarters of the franchise’s legendary minor league team, the Cats.

On LaGrave Field in the middle of the century passed some of baseball’s notables, including future managers who knew a thing or two about World Series: Sparky Anderson, Danny Ozark and Dick Williams. Hall of Famer Duke Snider and Maury Wills, a seven-time All-Star, both polished major-league ability just north of the Paddock Viaduct. Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers took part in an exhibition against the Cats in 1948, the day a thrill for the city’s Black population.

With that kind of history, that a Fort Worth native, Patton, is part of Dodgers’ ownership simply seems the best kind of prose.

Patton was out of pocket and unavailable to speak about it, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Suffice to say, he was overjoyed by the result.

The Guggenheim group, headed by Mark Walter, the club’s principle owner, purchased the Dodgers in 2012 from Frank McCourt for $2 billion, the highest price ever paid for a professional sports franchise.

Other members, in addition to Patton, included NBA legend Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, a baseball executive, Todd Boehly and Peter Guber.

The Dodgers have advanced to the World Series three of the past four seasons.

Patton, of course, is the owner of Metallic Cat, cutting horse’s premier sire, the father of winners of more than $33 million in the cutting pen. Last week, Hollywood writer and director Taylor Sheridan and the staff of “Yellowstone” was in town to shoot an episode around the famed sire, a privilege Patton enjoyed after delivering the winning bid of $165,000 at a National Cutting Horse Association fundraiser.

Cutting horses are more than mere avocation for Patton, who rode to the herd for the first time in competition at this year’s NCHA Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular at Will Rogers Coliseum. He loves it and is committed to the sport’s growth.

His daughter, 19-year-old Rachel Patton, won the 4-year-old Limited Amateur championship.

Baseball was a fit for Patton, who is a fan. He has told the story of Dodgers’ clubhouse attendant inquiring if Patton wanted to take a bat home from the clubhouse.

“I was like, ‘I can’t take Matt Kemp’s bat,’ ” Patton said in an interview. “And he said, ‘No, you really can.’ ”

Ironically, Guggenheim’s first target in baseball ownership was the Houston Astros, who beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, now a highly controversial happening in light of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

You can now say, however, that it has all worked out.

And made expensive reserve middle infielders worth every penny.

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