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The Dodgers deny that McCourt wants to sell; call me irresponsible

Jan 27, 2010, 6:11 PM EDT

UPDATE: So this morning, I wrote the bit way down below, passing on a rumor I heard that Frank McCourt would like to sell the Dodgers once all of the McCourt v. McCourt litigation blows over. I trust my source on this, but the Dodgers took issue.  A few minutes ago they sent me the following statement in response:


“The NBC report is completely erroneous, inaccurate
and irresponsible journalism. The Dodgers are not for sale. Mr. McCourt has
made it abundantly clear that he is the long-term owner of the Dodgers and he
looks forward to the day when his four boys will own and operate the team.”

I’ll grant them the irresponsible stuff, but they should know that saying such a thing about me is only gonna make the women want me even more. Regardless, I told the team that I’d run their denial of my report, and dadgummit I did. But a couple of thoughts:

  • It’s worth noting that no one ever said the team was for sale. My source — and then I — said that McCourt was thinking about selling once the litigation was done. I’ll grant, however, that the above denial covers it all, so take that as the official line of the Dodgers. McCourt isn’t interested in selling. He will control the Dodgers for as long as he lives, and one day a statue of him will stand in Chavez Ravine, with a visage of cold command, declaring that he is Frank McCourt, King of Kings, and that we should all look on his works, ye Mighty, and despair. To the extent I was wrong about that in my report, apologies;

  • It’s also probably worth noting that, if McCourt were thinking about selling, he’d be all but required, due to his current litigation posture, to say
    that he wants to own the team forever, lest he be cross examined about
    his intentions by his wife’s divorce lawyers, cajoled into an unfavorable
    “hey, you said you were going to sell anyway” settlement by the judge or some other legal unpleasantness. So while I have no choice but to take the denial at face value, understand that McCourt’s lawyers would probably suggest that he say something like that even if it wasn’t true.
  • Finally, it’s totally possible that McCourt’s four sons could own the Dodgers one day even if McCourt isn’t the owner two years from now. He could lose the case, Jamie could get the team and she could pass it on to the boys!  How fun would that be!

So I’m sorry for being irresponsible. On the bright side, however, I made a new friend in the Dodgers’ communications department, and you can never have too many friends in this world.

12:21 P.M. This isn’t first person reportage or anything, but there is buzz coming from some insiders and writers close to the Los Angeles Dodgers that, while Frank McCourt is going to go to the mat to beat his wife Jamie for ownership of the team, he wants out sooner rather than later and will look to turn around and sell within a year or two of the conclusion of the litigation.

The divorce papers that were made public last fall showed just how leveraged the McCourts truly are. It’s no wonder McCourt wants out. After battling his wife to the death
and making the crushing debt service on his team, he’s going to be
broke. Or at least broke in that weird,
relatively-insolvent-but-still-eating-out-at-fancy-restaurants-and-living-in-nice-houses
kind of way rich people who call themselves broke can get from time to
time.

And even if Dennis Mannion denies it, the divorce has greatly impacted the way the Dodgers typically do business on the field.  They refused to take a chance on their best pitcher in
arbitration and they have not been
a player on any free agent or trade target of note. The big offseason moves: Jamey Carroll, Vicente Padilla and Brad Ausmus. 

Between this and everything that has happened in Texas under Tom Hicks’ watch — the latest news: MLB’s virtual receivership of the Rangers essentially prevented them from signing their top draft pick last summer — one would hope that Bud Selig and his gang would start to favor owners who are more financially sound and less dependent on debt as opposed to owners who, because of that debt are pliable to the whims of the Commissioner’s Office.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Hmmm…so that means that if, say, by some offchance, Jeffrey Loria and the Chihuahua decided to join their colleagues in Baghdad after all and happened to step on an IMD (Improvised Merciful Device), then MLB would guarantee that the next owner of the team could actually afford to run it?
    .
    Unfortunately, in my Buddhist convictions I am dedicated to ahimsa so that I cannot wish injury or liberation upon another sentient being (although of course that does leave me with a lot of leeway in what I wish upon Loria), any more than, say, an evangelical fundamentalist deep in the teachings of Jesus could wish injury upon a Democrat. Still, though….

  2. Jonny5 - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Ahhh more left wingnut propaganda from old tater, how refreshing…. Couldn’t squeeze a Horsemeat and velveeta comment out of it tater??? LOL!!!

  3. RobRob - Jan 27, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    I think the debt has less to do with the pliability to whims of the Commissioner’s Office than it has to do with the owners all wanting their teams to sell for the highest price on the market, even if that price is propped up by enormous debt and creative accounting.

    I mean, if my neighbor sells his house for an additional $500,000 because the buyer got some ridiculous balloon mortgage that requires no downpayment, that’s good for me, right?

  4. Old Gator - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    No Feelie mention, no horsemeat and velveeta motif.
    .
    I am neither left nor right wing. I am an equal opportunity cynic. A pox on both houses, and on their summer homes at the beach as well.

  5. gumbercules - Jan 27, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Note to self: when you want to get under Craig’s skin, call him a journalist!

  6. Fuzzball the Magnificent - Jan 27, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    An Ozymandias reference! You warm the cockles of an elderly English teacher’s heart!

  7. tyler - Jan 27, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    I like your stuff, realize this post probably created a bit of an awkward moment, and realize that you probably didn’t mean what was said in this sentence:
    “McCourt’s lawyers would probably suggest that he say something like that even if it wasn’t true,”
    but McCourt’s lawyers would probably object to the implication regarding their professional ethics.

  8. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Tyler — as a lawyer, I can assure you; the notion that one might advise his client to take a certain public stance, be it truthful or not, because it may help his legal position at a later date is in no way a slur regarding his professional ethics.

  9. tyler - Jan 28, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    I think the danger is implying that his lawyers knowingly advised him to make a false statement (not just that they haven’t discussed his present intentions with him…though that seems far-fetched). Even if you don’t think that McCourt’s lawyers’ advising McCourt to lie outside of litigation is unethical, surely it is unethical to advise McCourt to lie while knowing that they will later rely on the truthfulness of that statement and represent it as truthful to the court.
    Not trying to pile on, and really do like your work – been reading since the pre-THT days.

  10. Haywood Jabuzzoff - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    “Unfortunately, in my Buddhist convictions I am dedicated to ahimsa so that I cannot wish injury or liberation upon another sentient being”…
    Fortunately, you STILL suffer from humanity & wish harm on others from time to time, like anyone else. Yes, you KNOW you do.
    But it’s very hard to look into the mirror with your boodist nose so high in the air.

  11. JJ - Jan 28, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    As a long time Dodger fan, I am hopeful for the day where McCourt either pays up to put a complete team on the field, or sells to someone who can. The Dodgers have a great group of everyday players, but they aren’t going anywhere without 2-3 very good pitchers. If Cincinnati is outspending the Dodgers on pitching, there is a big problem.

  12. Andrew Pelt - Jan 29, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Oh my god you will not belief that. My stupid kitty simply farted on my knee!? I mean what’s the matter with that!? I nourish that thing and I end up with this in return. I even now will not belief this. Anyway, you have quite a few helpful information there in your post. I knew Yahoo will bring me to some helpful stuff today :). Alright have to search that creature now! Have a good day you all!

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