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The Dodgers are the kids in a custody battle

Oct 23, 2009, 8:50 AM EDT

Normally, if you fire someone at work after you stop sleeping together, you’re going to get sued for sexual harassment. Of course, what’s going on in L.A. ain’t exactly normal:

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has fired his estranged wife, Jamie, from her position as the team’s chief executive, triggering what her attorney said would be an imminent legal response.

“Jamie is disappointed and saddened by her termination,” attorney Dennis Wasser said Thursday. “As co-owner of the Dodgers, she will address this and all other issues in the courtroom.”

OK, so this one might actually be uglier than a sexual harassment suit. Those are awful, but companies survive them and often learn something in the process. This, on the other hand, is going to wreck the Dodgers for a good long while.  Why? Because of this:

Jamie McCourt is believed to be lining up investors for a possible effort to buy her husband out and gain sole control of the team. In addition, she was believed to have started calling prominent baseball figures, with the intention of arranging meetings to discuss the direction of the team.

There have been ownership battles before, but they almost always involve fights over money and the analysis of contracts and stock certificates and stuff. With a married couple each claiming the team is community property, each is going to have to try and establish that they, in practice, are the owners of the team, just like a husband in any normal divorce would try to establish that he really and truly was entitled to the boat because he always used it or a wife would try and show that she gets the prized show dogs because she’s the one that grooms them. 

Except with the Dodgers, it’s Frank McCourt trying to show that he owns the team by firing his wife/employee.  At the same time, that “arranging meetings to discuss the direction of the team” stuff could mean that Jamie McCourt is going to try and show that she owns the team. What happens if she sends an email to Ned Colletti telling him to trade Clayton Kershaw? Or, more realistically, pledges a million bucks to some charity on behalf of the Dodgers? Based on the positions everyone is taking, it would be hard to figure out what to do.

If I were her lawyer, I’d tell her to try and show up for work this morning and see if big Frank has the stones to escort her off the premises with a security guard. If he doesn’t, it tends to show that she’s an owner too. If he does, she gets some sensational media coverage and probably no small amount of sympathy.  OK, maybe I wouldn’t tell her to do that, but I’m sure some divorce lawyer would.

But even if they avoid that kind of high drama, the Dodgers now find themselves as the kids in a custody battle.  And as any of you who have been in that position can attest, that’s not a fun place to be.

  1. StMiller - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    So packin’ all that smarts heat why does she still suck at running the Dodgers? She’s either not as bright as all those credentials indicate or she’s a gutless chump that couldn’t even convince her husband to do things the right way for the team. Either way she has to go just like her witless ex-hubby.

  2. Roger - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Screw em both for what they have done to “Dodger Blue”! Sell the team to Lasorda, a true fan and the team would soar.

  3. bret hilliker - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    People all over America are starving,loosing their jobs and homes and some how we are supposed to care about a sports team, their rich owners or their marital problems. Get a grip and be concerend about what is important.

  4. StMiller - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    Education means nothing when you branch outside you’re area of training. For example, her MBA has definitely not made her any better at running a baseball team and your law degree has certainly not made you a competent writer/reporter.

  5. Old Gator - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    It’s Me, you need to get ahold of a dictionary and look up the word “irony.” Then the subtleties of Ron’s post will become clear to you. I hope.

  6. Lou Brown - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    I know, she wants to make the team suck sooo bad, she can get out of the contract and move it to Boca Raton…
    Seriously, considering how bad the last few owners have been, maybe if she gets the team we might see some good players! There’s alot of great baseball players out there that could be GM’s that actually know about baseball and what a good/great player is supposed to look like!!!!

  7. boxerdog4141 - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    Ya you should be unlucky enough to have to split a baseball team!
    They should be happy the Phillies ended there season. Imagine the problems if they won the world series!! GO PHILS!!!

  8. NRESQ - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    Whoa! I was with ya there Roger until you mentioned Lasorda. That’s the guy who dumped Pedro Martinez just as he was becoming the most dominant pitcher in baseball for several years. He’s certainly a true Dodger fan, and a passable cheerleader-type manager, but he proved time and again he’s no good at evaluating talent or running the business.

  9. Robert Markowitz - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    You know, I can’t afford the price of a TICKET! I used to go to Dodger games for $2.50. The peanuts cost triple that now. It’s a family tragedy, but these folks have more money than they could possibly spend in a hundred lifetimes. The hell with them both! Professional sports is dying. It just doesn’t know it yet….

  10. Luvheat - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    How do you know CD is a guy?

  11. erin - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    Well, CD did say in one post: …take it from an old man…. It really doesn’t matter because some women are marriage phobic also. Anger, bitterness, and fear are human emotions.

  12. mike - Oct 23, 2009 at 6:26 PM

    Great idea! Then he could make more trades like Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw, without realizing that Shaw could opt out of his contract. Or Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields.
    Tommy promotes Tommy.

  13. george - Oct 23, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    There is no divorce filing yet. When/if there is, there can be a status quo order put in place, perhaps. Or maybe there can be a TRO to sustain Jamie’s position. Not an attorney but been subject to a screw over.

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