Skip to content

Great Moments in Chutzpah: Frank McCourt on “transparency”

Apr 28, 2011, 8:25 AM EDT

File photo of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaking at a news conference about increased security at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

While taking in Frank McCourt’s rants against Major League Baseball last night, I neglected one particular passage that is worthy of greater scrutiny:

“There are core values in this country, and fairness is one of them. Transparency is another, and private property is another. Thankfully, it’s not appropriate for one person’s property to be seized by somebody else just because they get divorced or just because of some arbitrary reason. That is one of the great core principles and core values of this country, and that is what I’m referring to when I say it’s just un-American to me.”

You know what takes some serious cajones?  A man who created an organizational chart for a baseball team that looks like this arguing for the value of transparency.

Frank McCourt put millions of dollars worth of other people’s money into the purchase of the Dodgers, mismanaged it, hid the extent to which he and his wife used the team as their own private bank accounts, and now has the nerve to talk about his “hard-earned dollars,” his rights, his property and transparency?

Words fail.

(hat tip to BTF forum member zachtoma for the observation)

  1. purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    The glorified parking lot attendant, Frank Mc Broke, wants to continue to rape, pillage and burn the Dodgers storied franchise in order to finance his very pricey divorce settlement as well as (no doubt), use the future Dodger cable tv revenue stream to buy six or eight more mansions.

    Selig was spot on in finally shutting this leisure suit bum down!

  2. heynerdlinger - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    The sad part in all of this is that McCourt is just one very public example of a significant segment of this country.

    • heynerdlinger - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:50 AM

      And yes, I’m referring to the jackasses who pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for the right to attend baseball games in places like Yankee Stadium, get waited on hand and foot, protected from the unwashed masses of humanity, and then don’t even show up.

  3. Cran Boy - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Seems to me that the foibles of some teams put the integrity of the game at risk, both on the field and financially, at the expense of well-run, profitable ballclubs like the Minnesota Twins. I await Commissioner Selig to do the right thing–propose contracting baseball by shutting down the Dodgers and the Mets.

    • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      Although I appreciate the sentiment Cran Boy, baseball can’t afford to shut down either the Dodgers or the Mets. Depending upon who you believe, the new Dodgers cable tv contract with Fox is estimated to be worth anywhere between $1.6B-$3B; no way the owners let that puppy go.

      As for the Mets? I’m sure that if you asked any of baseballs ownership groups about it, they all tell you that they aren’t about to assume the liability of a lawsuit that would quickly follow if the Mets were contracted to repay the $850M in loans used to build CitiField.

      The real tragedy here is that Selig was asleep at the switch when it comes to baseballs biggest assets, those of course being the largest media market teams that bring along with them the huge TV contract renewal fees.

      • ltzep75 - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        I disagree. MLB would be better off with the dodgers creating their own regional cable network which would rake in more cash than any one-off deal.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        itzep… The deal the Dodgers tentatively have in place IS a regional deal. Roughly 65% of the US population still lives in the Eastern time zone and aren’t up late enough at night to follow teams in the Pacific time zone.

        As a kid, it always frustrated me that my morning (Chicago), paper would always run the box scores a day late from the west coast and that the results from the night before would always be labeled as “late game”. The internet of course has thankfully changed that, but it hasn’t changed the fact that west coast teams are largely unknowns to many of the fans on the Eastern seaboard.

        MLB though I’m sure has paid close attention to what the NBA has successfully done, and that’s to pay close attention to the largest media markets in order to keep the TV contract beast well fed. That’s how Paul Gasol wound up being handed to the Lakers on a silver platter.

    • kopy - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      And sadly, we are only 9 years removed from a court ruling, which had its appeal by MLB rejected, stating that the Twins must finish their lease in the Metrodome being the only reason Bud Selig and the Pohlad family didn’t contract the Minnesota Twins.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        The real issue is having teams stuck in crappy, obsolete stadiums (which the Metrodome, which was built on the cheap, was from the day it first opened).

        What’s not nationally understood though is that Minneapolis is NOT a small market; it is a growing high mid-market and clearly can support an MLB franchise.

        Baseball though is still stuck with two teams who seemingly are hopelessly stuck in terrible stadiums, the Rays and the A’s. The A’s have a viable financial plan to move to San Jose, but dummy Bud is buddies with Giants ownership and doesn’t want to allow them to do so. The Rays though are totally screwed, with the current owners having inherited a terrible lease on a terrible facility in a terrible location.

  4. SmackSaw - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    McCourt sounds like a spoiled child when dad comes home and asks where all the money went.

  5. Mark Armour - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Please don’t forget that Selig and MLB approved this jackass a few years ago. The org chart Craig linked to is not a new thing–this is how American capitalism “works”, and the 29 other owners probably laughed admiringly at McCourt’s successful screwing of the rest of us. “Wow , Frank, I never thought of using *that* arrow there. Good one!”

    • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Mc Broke has created an interesting legal problem for MLB. You see, a few years ago he split the Dodgers into three separate corporate entities. One owns the asset of the franchise itself, one owns the physical stadium and a third owns the physical parking lot.

      So I’m sure Mc Broke’s legal ploy, should he lose any and all appeals to retain the franchise, will be to then blackmail baseball over the use of the stadium and the adjacent parking lot, neither of which baseball have jurisdiction over (as they are both private property).

  6. rcali - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Thanks a lot Bud for letting him in. Can’t Selig do anything right?

    • mkd - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      1. Splitting the leagues into six divisions and adding a round of playoffs

      I think he did that right. Everything else is debatable at best.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        My take on Selig is that the good outweighs the bad. Here are some of the key things that Selig has accomplished during his tenure as Commissioner:

        * Created a wild card in each league and as you point out, split the leagues into divisions;
        * Added interleague play (although I think there now should be four fewer such games a season);
        * Has had unprecedented labor peace;
        * Added the new 7 day DL for concussion victims;
        * Implemented both a luxury payroll tax and revenue sharing.
        * Added the “bereavement leave” for players with significant family issues.
        * Implemented the use of instant reply on home run balls.

        The bad (IMO)?

        * Forced divisional based scheduling to the point to where it has “regionalized” what once was a much more national sport (why do you think so few bothered to tune in to last years world series?).
        * Fumbled the ball badly when it comes to screening new ownership groups.
        * Failed (at least thusfar), to get the DH universally implemented (as it should be).
        * Has made a mess of the annual All Star Game
        * Failed to get international prospects folded into the amateur draft

      • Alex K - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Two things

        1. The DH should not be universally implemented. We’re never going to change the other person’s mind, so lets just agree to disagree on this one.

        2. International prospects should not be put in the draft. There is no good reason for that to happen. Look at what including Puerto Rican prospects in the draft did to baseball in Puerto Rico for an example.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        Alex K: The ONLY thing that keeping the DH out of the NL brings is the “La Russa Double Switch”, which has IMO become largely irrelevant due to the advent of specialized relief pitching.

        Now with a designated setup man to pitch the 8th inning and a designated closer to pitch the 9th inning, about the only time that the double switch rule comes into play anymore is if the starting pitcher is due up in the 6th or 7th inning, or if the game goes into extra innings.

        I don’t get though why the NL fans find that to be so important though, because the vast majority of players who pinch hit and then are kept in the game as part of a double switch are mainly punch and judy utility infielders. So an Aaron Miles might get one extra at bat after having pinch hit? Big whoop! Zzzzz-zzzzzz!

        I will admit though that with the age minimum for signing international amateurs being as low as 16 years of age, that presents a problem in trying to incorporate international players into the draft (as who the heck knows when a kids only 16 if he’s worth burning a high draft pick on?).

        The solution? Raise the minimum age for signing international players to 18, then incorporate them into the draft. Without doing so, the big free spending market teams will continue to dominate signing the increasing influx of international players.

      • Alex K - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:52 PM

        Purdueman- You’re not going to convince me that the DH should be used in the N.L. Pitchers should have to try and help their own cause, that’s what I believe and will always believe.

        By big spending teams you mean the Pirates and A’s, right? I’m pretty sure the Pirates spent the most on international players last year and possibly the year before. The A’s gave out the biggest bonus ever to an international prospect 3 or so years ago. And by raising the age to 18 for the kids to get paid you could lose a lot of them because their families need money and making them wait is two more years that they can’t work.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

        Alex: Any responsible MLB owner/ownership group who wants to continue to have some of their highest paid assets (starting pitchers), risk injury by attempting to hit or run the bases need their heads examined.

        Jake Peavy severely damaged his ankle while running the bases when he was a Padre, and that led to a career threatening major injury to his (detached), lat muscle as he tried to compensate for that injury. Peavy is the highest paid player on the White Sox, but right now he’s not providing anything for them as he labors through his recovery from major experimental surgery.

        Back in the day when pitchers weren’t so highly paid, your argument would hold water, but not today given what top of the rotation starters are getting paid.

        You do make a good point about impoverished families in third world countries, however, baseball could easily address that by providing a pre-determined annual stipend until these players reach 18 years of age.

        Yes, both the Pirates and Reds, to their credit, have plunged heavily into the international market but they also are assuming a disproportionate amount of risk (based on their annual much smaller budgets), by doing so. Put these players into a common pool once they reach 18 years of age and the cost of signing these players goes down along with the risk.

      • Alex K - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

        Purdueman- Should we have designated fielders then? With what hitters are making any responsible ownership group wouldn’t want them to hurt themselves playing defense. Mark Teixeira has a sore shoulder because of defense. Griffey, Jr. hurt himslef more playing defense than he did any other way. You’re not going to change my mind and I’m not going to change yours.

        There is still no reason to include international players in the draft. I don’t think the cost to sign the players should go down. I’m not sure why you think they should be paid less. Would you want someone to hurt your chance to make as much money as possible? Why are you so concerned with the risk involved? For every high priced bust you will have a Hanley Ramirez who was signed for $20,000!

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        To those of you who are hopelessly stuck in the mud up to your axles and are “traditionalists” who are against the DH, if you are true to your cause then you should get rid of indoor plumbing, sell your car(s)/motorcycle(s)/scooter(s) and buy a good horse to get around and stop using electricity to light your place and go back to kerosene lanterns for light!

        You make a great case though FOR the DH! Texeira gets banged up playing in the field, would you rather see him continue to hit? or for him to hit the DL?

        The job description of a PITCHER, is one who PITCHES, not one who hits! There is nothing more boring in baseball than the bottom of the order due up in NL games. Sure, that provides a great chance to go to the john without missing much and get another beer, but that’s about it. You can get the same level of excitement by watching grass grow or paint dry for free.

        As for the international draft? We live in a capitalistic society and IMHO you should get paid for what you bring to the table, not what you MIGHT bring to the table. By including international players in the draft, you hold down signing bonuses, but on the flip side, more of these kids would get drafted and get a chance to prove themselves too.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        Alex: With the implementation of baseball’s new drug testing, power numbers are dramatically down in both leagues, and the game has shifted to heavily now favor pitchers. That’s EXACTLY why the DH was implemented in the first place (i.e., to provide better hitter/pitcher balance).

        The weather out here in So. Cal is drop dead gorgeous, but the poor Padre fans threw in the towel by the third inning of yesterday’s businessman special day game, because the Braves had by that point jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and Padre fans knew that the odds of the Padres making up that big of a gap were slim and none and slim left the yard at the end of the second inning.

        I appreciate a good pitchers duel as well as the next guy, but I sure don’t want a steady diet of that either! All the more reason for the DH in the NL.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM

        No offense to the Edgar Martinez Marching and Chowder Society, but the DH is a joke position filled (historically) by fat men who can’t field.

        I would much rather see a pitcher lay down a sweet bunt than an extra batter paid to hit the ball out of the ballpark less than 1% of the time.

        If anything, the DH should be universally dumped.

      • Alex K - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:31 PM

        So you would rather see one team for offense and one team for defense? So basically you want MLB to be more like the NFL.

        I’m not sure what the Padres game has to do with anything. There are blowouts in both leagues. I’ve told you you’re not going to change my mind, you should stop wasting your time.

        Also, seeing as how we live in a capitalistic society, and you like it, shouldn’t you be all for the free market for the international players?

        I disagree that more kids would get a chance to play professional baseball, look at Puerto Rico.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM

        Koufax… if you’d rather watch a pitcher occasionally attempt (operative word: ATTEMPT), to bunt (much less hit, with of course one or two rare exceptions like Zambrano of the Cubs), you must be easily amused!

        My suggestion for you? Forget about watching baseball and switch to watching outdoor soccer… you’ll get an orgasm over that compared to the excitement of watching a pitcher come up to the plate!

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        Alex isn’t a Puerto Rican name, but clearly you Alex have a thing for Puerto Ricans! To each their own.

        As for trying to convince you to get out of the 19th century and get behind the DH rule in baseball? There’s an old saying that goes: “Never teach a pig to sing; it wastes time and annoys the pig”. That would make you the pig in the equation, of course!

        Since you’re obviously so pro-pitcher and boring low scoring games, why not petition Selig to change the rules in the NL to be 3 balls and 2 strikes instead of the current 4 and 3? Oh, and why not raise the pitchers mound back to the time you yearn for… like back in the 1920′s too?

        As for my reference to yesterday’s Padres game? If the Padres were able to sign a Vlad Guerreo to fill their gaping #4 hole in their lineup as a DH, their fans wouldn’t be so bored to death and would have more of a legitimate hope at the team making a comeback from a 6-0 deficit.

      • Alex K - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

        I keep talking about Puerto Rico because the draft was changed to include it, and it has all but killed baseball there. I don’t want to see that happen to other places. So, no, I don’t have a “thing” for them, they are just a real world example of what you stated was a good idea.

        I told you from the get go you’re not changing my mind on the DH. Because I enjoy non-DH baseball doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past, it means I just simply like it. Notice I didn’t try and change your mind, because there is no point to it….there is nothing I could say that would make you agree with me.

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:17 PM

        Alex: I’m sure that I’m likely quite a bit older than you and I grew up in a two MLB city long before the DH rule ever came into effect.

        Even as a kid though, I knew that when the bottom of the batting order was coming up, it was time to get up and do what kids should be allowed to do, namely roam and explore the park (can’t do that anymore at US Cellular in Chicago because the paying patrons in the upper deck are totally banned from the lower deck).

        That said, I respect your (antiquated), opinion and we can just gentlemanly agree to disagree and leave it at that and move on.

        Puerto Rico has produced a few HOF’ers for sure, but it’s never been the baseball development hotbed that the Dominican Republic is. What really baffles me though is that the DC shares a big old island with Haiti, and as far as I know Haiti doesn’t produce MLB prospects. It’s a conundrum to me.

        The two issues that I have with not including international players in the amateur draft remain:
        1) The horrible corruption in many third world countries that takes place, which could be largely put in check if all prospects had to go into a common pool; and
        2) The ability of large market, free spending teams to simply outspend other teams and potentially corner the market without having to pay the penalty of having to draft at the bottom of rounds that comes with buying winning records (another form of corruption, if you will).

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 29, 2011 at 8:33 AM

        I don’t know, Purdue. Soccer is the world’s No. 1 sport. And the Gauchos won their National Championship on the pitch, so it can’t be that bad.

        Let’s face it, though. If a pitcher can’t lay a bunt down, then the pitcher failed in his opportunity at the plate. That happens to be part of the game.

        The DH was implemented in 1973. Baseball, itself, began about 100 years before that. Ergo, baseball is not defined by the DH.

        American Leaguers sure are cute.

      • Alex K - Apr 29, 2011 at 9:03 AM

        Purdueman- It’s not like I’m saying that the A.L. should go back to non DH, I’m simply saying that the N.L. should not adopt the DH. I perfer non-DH baseball, that’s all. So I’m not sure what you mean by my opinion being antiquated.

        There is going to be corruption will happen no matter what. A draft will not fix that. And why are you so worried about something that isn’t happening? The Red Sox spend a lot in the international market, but they by no means dominate it. It is about scouting, not money with international players.

        Puerto Rico may not have a ton of Hall of Fame baseball players but the chances are that they may not have any more, either. It is sad that the draft is a big reason why that is so.

  7. mkd - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    I could have sworn the ruling that established MLBs anti-trust exemption specifically enjoined owners from ever playing the un-American card.

    • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Here here! It’s high time that Congress repeals baseball’s anti-trust exemption, if for no other reason (aside from it being a blatant restraint of trade), than there no longer is a need for it (as there are no real viable markets for clubs to relocate to or the A’s would have been on the move a long time ago and the Rays would be actively shopping moving companies by now).

      What really irritates me is that Selig continues to allow the Giants to claim territorial rights over San Jose. Those rights were granted by MLB as an incentive to keep the Giants in the Bay Area when they were openly looking to leave Candlestick Park. That reason is no longer valid. Besides, I know the area extremely well and San Jose is no more a part of the San Francisco market than Indianapolis is of the Chicago market.

  8. roycethebaseballhack - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    “But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth…the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!”

    • SmackSaw - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      I’m now humming the Star-Spangled Banner

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        Smack Saw: Good one! I can hear the fife and drum corps playing in the background too!

      • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        …. I just opened my window and Kate Smith is blaring “God Bless America” coming from my neighbor to the left and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” is blaring from my neighbor to the right and one of my neighbors is marching up and down the street in front of our house high stepping carrying an American flag too!!!!

  9. henryd3rd - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    When one goes to http://en.wikipedia.org and looks up “cajones” there should be a picture of Frank McCourt. That team was a money machine from day it open the gates at Chavez Ravine in LA.

    I’m surprise Vince Scully and Tommy Lasorda are still around; but I am especially sad for Don Mattingly. That man was Mr. Donny Baseball for the Yankees his entire career. Fittingly he played for one obsessed owner named Steinbrenner and now he’s working for and obscene owner named McCourt. Life ain’t fair. Steinbrenner did a lot of things that people hated; but he had the best interest of the Yankees at heart.

    McCourt had the best interests of the McCourts at his heart. In the best interest of baseball throw him out.

  10. rapmusicmademedoit - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    I don’t believe in violence but, Selig should have them tied to a street lamp at
    Chavez Ravine and let the Dodger fans beat them on a regular basis.

    • purdueman - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:03 PM

      rapmusic… I used to go to Dodger Stadium regularly up until three years ago, but it just became downright unsafe and a lousy place to spend an evening, especially with kids in tow.

      It’s now hard to find anyone in the outfield pavilion seats who speak English; it’s like a third world country out there, with a bunch of out of control sniveling brats running all over the place and f-bombs being dropped right and left by their so called “good parents”.

      Sit in the reserved lower decks? Long about the 7th inning comes along, you’ll get pelted with garbage, half eaten sandwiches and anything else that the scum in the upper decks hurl down on the fans below. And just try and find any security, and if you can, they’re mostly a bunch of fat lady candy stripers who have zero interest in intervening.

      It’s now THE worst place to see any sporting event in the country. And that’s just inside the park. There’s ZERO security in the massive Dodger Stadium parking lot, and what makes matters worse is that the Dodgers use low light amber lighting (in order to avoid “light pollution” to the nearby Griffith Park observatory). It’s a gang bangers dream come true. Then you have to try and dodge all of the broken beer bottles all over the place while trying to get out without a flat tire.

      Selig is wrong to not have intervened sooner, but it was Dodger owners Frank and Jamie Mc Broke who are to blame, and it clearly is in the best interests of baseball that they never be allowed to have ANY ownership stake in ANY major league baseball team again!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Jackie Robinson Day is bittersweet
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. T. Wood (6431)
  2. J. Kubel (5751)
  3. I. Nova (4912)
  4. S. Kazmir (4529)
  5. M. Moore (3712)
  1. K. Uehara (3680)
  2. Z. Britton (3483)
  3. T. Walker (2940)
  4. A. Rodriguez (2931)
  5. J. Chavez (2926)