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Frank McCourt is sorry that you misunderstand him, Dodgers fans

May 2, 2011, 9:11 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

I missed two interesting Frank McCourt stories over the weekend, both via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, and neither of which makes McCourt look very good.

First, there is the report that one of the reasons Commissioner Selig has not approved the Fox contract McCourt is so hot for is that Jamie McCourt has not signed off on it. The idea is that, while Jamie doesn’t have operational control of the team, she does have an ownership interest and she thinks that the Fox deal would devalue that.  This suggests that the idea that she simply wants cashed out of the Dodgers as fast as possible — or that McCourt could even do that if he wanted to — is not a safe assumption. It’s also further evidence that the Fox deal is not as good as Frank says it is, because you have to think that Jamie has advisors looking at it too.

Second, Shaikin had a sit-down interview with McCourt, and McCourt did not exactly make a good impression when asked about how his personal issues and financial irresponsibility have impacted the team:

Q: Could you explain to Dodgers fans why you believe you are the best person to own this team?

A: First of all, I want to apologize to the fans. I want to tell them how deeply sorry I am for what has occurred over the last 18 months. I’m sorry that my personal mess has entered their lives and affected their experience being a fan of the Dodgers.

I’m sorry that some of them think that lifestyle decisions I made affected my commitment to putting a winner on the field and winning a championship for L.A.

Q: Are you saying that is simply the fans’ perception, or did those decisions affect the team?

A: I’m saying it’s clearly the perception of some.

Q: So you would not agree with that perception?

A: What matters is that is the perception. I’m sorry that is their perception. I’m sorry that they don’t think I’m committed to them. I’m sorry that my situation has been a source of embarrassment for the community, an embarrassment for the team and an embarrassment for the fans.

See: you just don’t understand, Dodgers fans, and Frank McCourt is deeply sorry that you don’t understand.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - May 2, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    I haven’t delved too deeply into this mess that is Dodgers Ownership, but my question to anyone who has is this…why hasn’t major league baseball forced a sale of this team, with the divorcing husband/wife splitting the profits from the sale? Wouldn’t that be something that is “in the best interests of baseball”? I guess it probably has something to do with the anti-trust exemption and legalities, but still…I always thought baseball was a private club, and that the owners could have you whacked when you brought shame on the league…i.e. Marge Schott, etc. Not that this is as bad as being a racist pig like she was. But this is still giving MLB a serious black-eye.

    • Roger Moore - May 2, 2011 at 6:05 PM

      MLB can’t impose its own terms on the divorce; that’s for the divorce judge to decide. What MLB can do is to place requirements on the way the team is run that will effectively force Frank McCourt to sell. For example, MLB can probably say that only one of the McCourts can stay on the ownership team, so that Frank will have to buy Jamie out. At the same time, MLB has debt ratio limits that will prevent Frank from borrowing enough against the team to actually complete the buyout, and AFAIK the team is his only asset nearly big enough to come up with enough cash to do that. The net effect will be to force a sale, but Frank is fighting that conclusion tooth and nail. That’s what the Fox deal is all about.

      The other thing MLB can do (and has done) is to appoint some kind of overseer to make sure that the team itself doesn’t take too much collateral damage from the divorce. Otherwise, Frank might be tempted to do something really stupid, like mismanage the team to drive its value low enough that he could afford the buyout using other assets. Since MLB has a strong interest in the Dodgers remaining a viable franchise, they have a responsibility to step in and prevent that kind of deliberate mismanagement.

  2. lbehrendt - May 2, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Craig, there’s a third piece that most everyone has missed, at the Wall Street Journal — according to the story, the proposed deal with Fox would give McCourt a piece of Fox Sports Prime Ticket. If true, this means that the deal represents yet another effort by McCourt to move value out of the Dodgers and into his own pockets.

    • jwbiii - May 2, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      Remember that the WSJ is a News Corp. property and the The News Corp. is very involved in this situation. Trust but verify.

      • lbehrendt - May 2, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        Well, I did say “according to the story” and “if true”. But I assume that News Corp would like to see this deal go through, and revealing how much McCourt stands to personally profit from this deal might interfere with the deal going through. Still, point taken.

  3. Old Gator - May 2, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    That interview was actually Frank McCourt’s idea of a charm offensive. Bozo must be looking down in mute approbation.

    Also, I have it on good authority that Jamie’s advisors do their background checking by playing Ouija Scrabble.

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