As season opens, a Q-and-A with Dodgers president Stan Kastan

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As season opens, a Q-and-A with Dodgers president Stan Kastan

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Jordan Fields, Staff Writer

The start of a new MLB season has brought excitement to Los Angeles as the Dodgers gear up for another crack at the World Series.

This year is a big one for the Dodgers, who are saying goodbye to legendary broadcaster Vin Scully who has done the radio broadcast for Dodgers home games for 67 years.

In the last two years, the Dodgers have won their division, and finished with over 90 wins, but have lost in the first round of the playoffs.

This year the team is under new management. The previous manager, Don Mattingly, stepped down and was replaced by Dave Roberts, who will try to lead the Dodgers to their fourth straight division title.

This year also marks the third year of a showdown between Time Warner Cable and other television providers regarding the broadcasting of Dodger games on TV.

A new deal with TWC  created an exclusive Dodger channel – SportsNet LA — in 2014. Other cable providers, most notably Directv, will not pay what TWC is charging, leaving more than half of Los Angeles unable to watch Dodger games.

Stan Kasten is the president and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, having held executive positions for various sports teams beginning in 1979. He was the general manager and president of the Atlanta Hawks and president of the Washington Nationals, among other positions, becoming president and part owner of the Dodgers when they were sold in 2012.

Kasten is Jewish and attended a Yeshiva University High School for Boys in New York. Staff Writer Jordan Fields contacted him with some questions about his Jewish and professional life.

What does being Jewish mean to you?

For me being Jewish relates back to our long and unique history, which can mostly be characterized by lots of struggle and overcoming of great obstacles to achieve ultimate success.

How involved are you in the Jewish community?

With my work and travel I don’t have nearly as much time to be involved in the Jewish community either here in Los Angeles or my home in Atlanta. Fortunately my wife and children and their families are quite active in both cities.

How did u go from a yeshiva boy to a president of a baseball team?

I just got the best education I could first from high school through college and law school. After law school I got a job as a lawyer working for the Atlanta Braves. Things just seemed to happen from there.

How close are the Dodgers to a World Series?

The Dodgers are always in contention. The key is the first step, which is making it into the postseason. After that anything is possible. I expect this team to contend for a postseason spot every year. It’s part of our history. And being in the postseason and contending for and winning the World Series is very much a part of our future as well.

This is Vin Scully’s final season. Is there any progress toward Time Warner Cable making a deal with other television carriers such as Directv?

There are talks underway every single day about resolving the problem of getting us on the air in all the homes in our market. I don’t have any news to report today. But we will keep on trying until we achieve our goal of full distribution.

What is your philosophy to build a consistently winning team? Free agents? Farm system?

I believe that all successful teams that have had success, particularly those with sustained, long-term success, have done so with teams built on a foundation of scouting and player development. You always need to make trades, and you always need to sign free agents. But without a vigorous farm system providing a steady supply of players to the major leagues, you won’t be able to achieve the success that you are looking for.

Who were your favorite team and player growing up?

Growing up and falling in love with baseball in New York in the ‘50s and ‘60s, like so many other people I was a fan of the Yankees and of course Mickey Mantle.