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Frank McCourt will try — and fail — to work the halls at the owners’ meetings

May 11, 2011, 9:33 AM EDT

Combination of file photos of MLB commissioner Bud Selig and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt

The quarterly owners’ meetings take place today and tomorrow in New York and, as Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times notes, despite the fact that the state of the Dodgers is not on the meeting agenda, Frank McCourt has a big lobbying job on his hands:

There will be pleasantries. How was your flight? Where are you staying? How about those Cleveland Indians? And then those conversations could turn awkward, the trapped-in-an-elevator kind of awkward, as Frank McCourt pitches his case to a fellow owner in the hallway.

Eight votes out of 30. That is all McCourt needs to tell Bud Selig what he can do with his trustee, all the Dodgers owner needs to keep his team and get his television money and send the commissioner back to Milwaukee a defeated man.

But he’s not going to get them. Shaikin doesn’t believe he’ll get a single one.  I tend to agree.

As we’ve noted before, Bud Selig is many things, but he is not reckless. He would not make what, when you think about it, is an audacious play to wrest control of the Dodgers from Frank McCourt if he didn’t think he had the ammo to do it. His position — and the position of every baseball commissioner — is contingent on the owners’ approval.  He would not have gone after one of them if he didn’t have the OK from the others ahead of time.

About that OK: Shaikin makes mention of the fact that there has not been any memo sent around to owners explaining the strategy related to the Dodgers. This also makes sense in that, given the extreme likelihood of litigation, Selig probably — and wisely — determined that he didn’t need any extra documents lying around which McCourt’s lawyers could use in court or, maybe more significantly, other owners could later use as the basis for some sort of precedent.

But you know phone calls were made. Conversations took place.  Bud Selig knew what he was doing when he set his sights on Frank McCourt and the Dodgers.  Of that you can be sure.

  1. The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - May 11, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    As little as I care for Bud Selig on a personal level, he may be the single best consensus builder in baseball history.

  2. lawyermalloy - May 11, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    I may be wrong but this is America, doesn’t an owner have an absolute right to run his team into the ground if he wishes?

    • Concretepiggy - May 11, 2011 at 9:52 AM

      I believe (based on Craig’s writing on the subject iirc) owning a team is like joining an exclusive club, and you agree to abide by certain rules/’guidelines’ that (hopefully) precludes any running into the ground of said team. Teams going belly-up would be a nightmare for MLB.

    • paperlions - May 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      No you don’t, it’s a franchise and when you buy in you agree to certain standards. You can’t open up a Burger King and then make up your own menu. Those constraints are the price of buying into the particular business…..and allowing owners to run franchises into the ground is not good for anyone.
      .
      If an owner can’t afford to (or isn’t smart enough to) run a team properly, and can’t come to the realization that he needs to sell on his own, then baseball should step in to protect the team.

    • jvaz511 - May 11, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      No He doesn’t he has a responsibility to the Fans!……………The People
      who pay his Salary!

    • tomemos - May 11, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      You’re right. You are wrong.

  3. BC - May 11, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    This sums it up:
    http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk11/5982/darth-vader-epic-fail.jpg

  4. 4d3fect - May 11, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    “Bud Selig knew what he was doing”

    -I’m going to remember that quote fondly.

  5. sdelmonte - May 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I bet any chats between McCan’t and the Wilpons will be interesting.

  6. Panda Claus - May 11, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    What applies here is good old BIOB, the Best Interest of Baseball clause. I haven’t been a Selig supporter over the years, but agree that the takeover of the Dodgers was necessary before McCourt was allowed to totally bleed that once-proud franchise bone-dry (and that may already be too late).

    If I were Selig, I’d find a way to not even let McCourt into the meetings and I’d claim BIOB as the reason why.

    I realize this is normally BC’s area, but has anyone called McCourt a chipwich today? If not, it’s a bit overdue.

    • craigbhill - May 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      The fact that MLB would do no such thing as disallowing McCourt access is indicative of their unity. An owner who would cause a fan revolt against him, who had drained the well so dry he had to pay people out of a tv contract today that wouldn’t begin for 2 years—WHAT has he done with all the money from the CURRENT contract?!—that guy put himself in persona non grata territory and every owner thinks that. What are they gonna do, let ANY team limp along with the owner continuing to get drunk on every million dollars he’s given?

      On the other hand, if they’d ban him it would show they felt they needed to, to win their case. That their case is a fait accompli is shown by how they will let him exhaust himself begging the others for mercy. He has to go and the bottom line is they all know it.

      I would expect McCourt to return to LA and order his lawyers to file his last-ditch case against MLB and that Selig and MLB’s lawyers have already figured that into their equation. This is a business, a big one, and they have laid out their moves to checkmate him several moves ahead of his. He really doesn’t stand a chance, and didn’t the day Selig declared MLB was taking over his offices.

    • BC - May 11, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      McCourt is a chipwich. Sorry it took so long.

  7. decimusprime - May 11, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    As a life long fan who loves the Dodgers i would have to agree with MLB here, if you dont have the money to pay your main employees month to month and everywhere you go, everyone you see turns into; “oh boy, its mccord… everyone act busy and broke” then its definitely time for a change. i dont want to see the team run into the ground because at the end of the day its not his team, its the fans.

  8. tuftsb - May 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    I’m hoping that McCourt does the Cleavon Little routine from “Blazing Saddles” and takes himself hostage during the owner’s meetings.

    “Won’t someone helpt that poor man?”
    “Hush, Bud, that’s a sure way to get him killed”

  9. dogsweat1 - May 11, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    The Dodgers need two things,

    1.Mark Cuban as owner.

    2. Dodgers back in Brooklyn.

    • craigbhill - May 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      1) not gonna happen, owners don’t want a free-spender steinbrenner-type they cannot control

      2) negative. brooklyn loved the dodgers so much, they couldn’t bear to go to the games. opening day 1956 they raised the only championship flag in brooklyn’s sad history: 10,000 empty seats. opening day 1957, another pennant in ’56 and even more empty seats. o’malley could not get out of that dump fast enough, after five years of fighting the city blocking every attempt he made to build, on his own dime, what would have been the first domed stadium, IN brooklyn. they wanted the brooklyn dodgers to move to queens under the flight path mets fans then got to suffer with. o’malley said f*ck you very much and LA won the prize ny did not want to see any more.

      there is as much chance the dodgers will return to brooklyn as there is frank mccourt will be elected mayor of LA. sorry, but the mets wouldn’t draw the flies in their dumpsters if that happened and the mets OWN THE NL FRANCHISE. stop dreaming, reality’s better.

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