ZUCKER Presents a Conversation with Alan Smolinisky

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On this episode of ZUCKER, host Andrew Zucker is joined by Alan Smolinisky, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Smolinisky talks about his father’s journey in America, growth opportunities for baseball, and his first game as a co-owner of his hometown team.

On how his father ended up in America: My father was born in Argentina. He was born very poor and Jewish in a country that was not very friendly to Jews at the time. And he was also born with birthmarks and skin discolorations across his face and neck. He didn’t have an easy time. He had a rough childhood there and he had always dreamed of a better life. And he had to drop out of school in elementary school to support his family when his father got very sick, and he sort of always had this dream of leaving Argentina and going to America. And he got an opportunity in early 1963 when his uncle — his father’s brother, Samuel — moved to Los Angeles. So my dad wrote him a letter and said, ‘I’d love to come to America and live with you,’ and finally he received a letter back from his uncle Sam who said, ‘Come to America. Come live with us.’

On his dream of owning a team: I had always had this idea of being an owner of a sports team. As a kid, I quickly realized I wasn't going to be professional in sports and when you’d see that trophy ceremony, I didn't want to be the player, I didn't want to be the manager, I kind of wanted to be that out-of-shape, half-bald guy with the beautiful wife holding the trophy — he’s like half in the shot, half out of the shot. It was always like, ‘Wow, who’s that guy?’