It has to be one of the very top projects [for] new management. It's not hard to do. [Under O'Malley ownership] if graffiti occurred during the third inning in the restroom, it was painted out in the fourth inning.
And I think alcohol in stadiums should be controlled — not eliminated, but think about how much you want to serve the fans. If you mix an intense rivalry between two teams, music that's activating the enthusiasm and alcohol consumption — it's not a good mix. Ninety-nine percent of people go there for a nice night out; you can't let that 1% or less influence that experience.
People always wonder whether you think your family should have sold when you did, in 1998, and to whom you did, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.
There's a time to buy and a time to sell. We thought it was the right time. No regrets. I thought Fox would be an extraordinary owner. Mr. Murdoch lived here, [former Fox entertainment chairman] Peter Chernin lived here, the main office of Fox was in Los Angeles, Fox was the No. 1 sponsor for baseball. I never thought that in a few years they would conclude they would be better off selling it.
Would you consider any role with the new owners?
I'm not looking for any official position, but I told Stan Kasten if they want my view, I'll give it to them as candidly as I can. I want the team to be successful. I told them to count me in.
What's your advice for Magic Johnson?
Have a major presence. Not just the [during] the game — get in the office early, put a lot of time in there, walk the stadium. Hear what the people say.
He'll hear about traffic or food or ticket prices. He's got to be in touch with the fans and employees. I think he will be a great link between the fan and the front office.
This interview was edited and excerpted from a longer taped transcript. Interview archive: latimes.com/pattasks.