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ANGELES -- Magic Johnson is used to much quieter trade deadlines, because basketball teams rarely make more than one move at that point of their seasons. Now, as a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Johnson is learning just how different and hectic Major League Baseball's Trade Deadline is in comparison.
Johnson summed up the event in a word: crazy.
"There were so many ups and downs during the briefings from Stan [Kasten]," Johnson said with a laugh. "Man, I have to give both Stan and Ned [Colletti] a lot of credit. They were working very hard and there were so many different scenarios going on. They pulled off some really good trades starting with Hanley [Ramirez] and then on and on and on."
With Johnson in attendance Monday night, Kasten made trips back and forth to meet with his fellow owner nearly every inning to give him updates on what was going on with the deadline looming.
Johnson said Kasten taught him a lot along the way about how baseball trades work at midseason, and Johnson wanted to make sure the team did whatever it took to improve. Johnson wasn't directly involved in any trades, but he made phone calls when necessary and was there to give the go-ahead on whatever deal the front office wanted to make.
"We definitely want to win this year," Johnson said. "We're not sitting back, waiting on next year or the year after. We want to win now. As much as we can do, we did. We wanted to do more, but sometimes you don't have the prospects or you don't want to pay the price."
Johnson, who gave all the credit to Kasten and general manager Colletti, said the handcuffs were off this year compared to recent seasons as he is prepared to help make Dodger baseball relevant again.
The team made its biggest splash with Ramirez in a deal that also included left-hander Randy Choate. The Dodgers added right-handed reliever Brandon League from the Mariners on Monday, then acquired outfielder Shane Victorino from the Phillies on Tuesday. Johnson and the new ownership is committed to winning and he said he believes this week has proved that to the players.
"Hanley brought an excitement to our team and a sense that the players now understand, 'Hey, you know, we can do it,'" said Johnson, who recalled what it was like as a player with the Lakers when moves were made to make a run. "The ownership is really behind them in making moves to win this year."
Although Johnson said he wanted to do more, he believes in the current team and its ability to produce on the field.
"I think that we are a championship team," he added. "Everybody has to play their 'A' game and I think when you get a boost like this, it breeds confidence and sometimes you just need something to give you that confidence. In the National League, we can compete against anybody."