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Breaking: MLB to take over the Dodgers

Apr 20, 2011, 4:59 PM EDT

Frank McCourt

Major League Baseball has announced that it is going to take over the financial and day-to-day operations of the Dodgers.  The move, first reported by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, was detailed in the following statement that was just released by Major League Baseball on behalf of Bud Selig:

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club.  I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership.  I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

This statement suggests that this will be more than a mere receivership. McCourt is being pushed out. And not only that, he’s being “investigated.”  This is a far more harsh oversight regime than Tom Hicks got in Texas. This is, I believe, unprecedented.

As has been recently reported, Frank McCourt took a $30 million loan from FOX in order to make team payroll.  Clearly this doesn’t sit will with Selig, who has already gone on record against Frank McCourt using the Dodgers’ TV rights as a means of resolving his personal financial problems. Problems, as everyone who follows the Dodgers knows, stem from McCourt’s over-leveraging of the team combined with his costly divorce from his wife who, as it currently stands, is legally part owner of the Dodgers.

However this shakes out, it’s hard to see how this isn’t the beginning of the end of Frank McCourt’s disastrous reign as the owner of the Dodgers. And while it may be painful for the team and its fans to go through this in the interim, baseball stepping in and relieving McCourt of command is a good thing in the long term for the franchise.

  1. jwbiii - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    “Instead of relying on the corporations to pay the high prices of those tickets, lower the prices to the games and the food concessions this might get more to come for the Dodgers.”

    The Dodgers attendance is about 80% of the stadium’s capacity, so any substantial price cut would reduce revenue. This year’s attendance will probably be lower, due to reasons unrelated to the cost of tickets (disgust with the McCourts, fear of violence) and would probably not change if ticket prices were lowered.

    If a lower reserved seat cost $20 instead of $22, do you think it would make a difference?

  2. larry3656 - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    Richm…

    What the Hell planet are you living on???? LA can’t support an MLB team?? The Dodgers are consistently one of the highest draws in the majors. You don’t say where you’re from… It’s obviously not LA. Your statement is so ludicrous that it barely warrants a reply. Check the figures, mac. I guess they could be the Cleveland Indians who so far this year have averaged about 4,000 per game. It’s always interesting to hear the jeers and boos coming from the LA haters. Notice I said LA haters, not Dodger haters! You obviously hate LA and everything associated with it. (Ah, the great green-eyed beast, Jealousy, rears its prodigious and inflated head). I guess you’ll be pretty surly until the ice melts. The Dodgers are, indeed, having some serious troubles. I’m sorry to disappoint you but these difficulties won’t ruin the team.

    Despite their current problems, they remain one of the most storied franchises in sports. As for the Lakers folding when Kobe goes? Gosh! I wonder why that didn’t happen after Jerry West, Kareem and Magic were gone?? Hmmmmmm???

    The NFL? Okay, I’ll give you that one… Sort of. As has been pointed out by some of the contributors here who really DO know something about sports, the decision to take the Rams from LA was not one based on fan support. It was driven entirely by $$. The Rams owners would not cave to the demands and the fans got screwed.

    So, the next time you want to throw a bone of contention, make sure there’s some meat on it!! I truly hope that you enjoy good fortune, however, if you should happen to make mistakes and suffer some misfortune as a result, I hope nobody kicks you when your down even if they’re convinced you deserve it. Chances are you WON’T deserve it. I, for one, take no pleasure in chortling at the misfortune of others. Good luck and I hope your team wins.

    By the way, I currently live in Columbus, OH – not exactly the bastion of warm weather.

  3. larry3656 - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    One more thing about baseball in LA…

    I am, no doubt, showing my bias as I am a die-hard Dodger fan, having lived in LA from ’62 to ’82. That was during the era of Koufax and Drysdale. One of my fondest memories is of my dad and I deciding at the last minute to go to a game on Tuesday, Sep. 9, 1965. Dodgers vs. Cubs. Koufax on the hill… We saw Sandy pitch a perfect game that night. Dodgers won the game 1-0. There was only 1 hit in the ENTIRE GAME! Imagine throwing a 1-hitter and losing to a perfecto? Well, how about throwing a no-hitter and losng? The Cub’s pitcher, Bob Hendley gave up 1 hit and 1 walk and lost! Here’s the real rub… The Dodgers only run was UNEARNED, coming without a hit. The Dodgers got a walk, sacrifice to 2nd, attempted steal of 3rd with an overthrow of 3rd by the Cub catcher for an error and the unearned run. The only Dodger hit was a little bloop double hit by “Sweet Lou” Johnson in, I believe, the 7th. He was stranded at 2nd. If not for that hit, it could have been a double no-hitter.

    This game was named by ESPN the Magazine as the greatest pitched game in baseball history and my Dad and I were there. He died on an operating table in ’04. Just before he went in for surgery, he looked up at me and said, “Remember Sandy’s perfect game?” How could I not?

    This is what makes baseball so special to Dads and their sons. I still miss him a terribly.

    PLEASE DON’T HAVE THE TEMERITY TO CALL LA FANS THE WORST IN BASEBALL. THIS IS AN INSULT TO MY FATHER WO SUPPORTED HIS TEAM IN THE GOOD AND BAD YEARS. HE LIVED AND, LITERALLY, DIED WITH HIS TEAM. HE WAS ONE HELLUVA GUY WHO REALLY KNEW THE GAME!

  4. thekingdave - Apr 21, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Larry,

    It’s going to be ok…

  5. mrznyc - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Look, Jamie McCourt is a dolt, no one is going to argue that point – BUT – Bud Selig is removing him because he’s stupid and doesn’t know how to run a Major League franchise. Contrast that with the Wilpons in New York who are not only stupid but criminal. Irving Picard, the man appointed to straighten out the Bernie Madoff mess, wants 1 Billion from them, they’re another Billion in debt and there appears no way out – PLUS – As stated before they are accused of criminal activity. Stupid is one thing criminal is another. Commissioner of professional sport are all to quick to “safeguard” the integrity of the game where player behavior is concerned but pretty lax on safeguarding the integrity where the owners are concerned.

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