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Quote of the Day: Buster Olney on the MLB’s approval of owners

May 11, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

Frank McCourt AP

The other day Bud Selig was on Mike Lupica’s radio show* and, when asked about how Frank McCourt got the Dodgers in the first place, said that he was really the only viable bidder. That may be technically true given Selig’s definition of viable bidder, but Buster Olney makes a damn fine point about that in his column today:

I’d bet there would be more bidders if baseball worried less about picking potential owners that fit into a certain personality box, and worried more about deep pockets. If you can find aggressive bidders for the Texas Rangers, you should be able to draw interest in the Dodgers.

The defining feature of baseball’s ownership group — at least those who bought in after 1993 or so — is fealty to Bud Selig. There may be some very good features to such a clubby system. That consensus we spoke of this morning is often a good way for complex organizations to operate, and you don’t get that unless you have owners around who are willing to let the Commissioner lead. But you also wind up with the Frank McCourts of the world. A guy who, while he’s in pitched battle with Selig now, probably never would have gotten hold of the team if he had not been a favored candidate then.

I have made no secret of the fact that I am rooting for Major League Baseball to squash Frank McCourt like a grape. But don’t confuse this rooting interest with an approval of MLB’s handling of baseball ownership writ large.  We are damn lucky that, so far anyway, we only have two or three teams in financial distress.  Because when your primary criteria for ownership approval is how friendly they’ll be to the league office as opposed to how deep their pockets and how sharp their financial savvy is, you’re bound to run into trouble.

*I know, right? Wow.

  1. b7p19 - May 11, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Mark? Are you out there Mark? Any way you can confirm or deny the obsurdity of the MLB selection process. Paging Mark Cuban…

    • craigbhill - May 11, 2011 at 3:09 PM



      • BC - May 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        They will if he greases the right palms.

  2. bigxrob - May 11, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    “quote of the day” twice, in one day? Is this even possible? Is the space-time continuum in jeopardy?

  3. koufaxmitzvah - May 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    I remember Malcolm Glazer, owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his family (who live in Southern California) were given a resounding NO when they inquired to bid on the team. That was a sure sign to me that MLB was going to ramrod some shmuck down our throats.

    Sorry, Bud, but we all know the true motivation towards green lighting the McJerkoffs. It was to cut-off those $100 million contracts that people like Kevin Brown were given. Y’know, on teams not located on the East Coast.

    Bud Selig = B.S.

    • paperlions - May 11, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      According to NFL sources, the Glazers have been running the Bucs on a shoe-string budget the last several years (but they swear they will start spending money now that the Bucs had a competitive season). When it comes to team ownership, having money you aren’t willing to spend isn’t much different than not having money at all.

      • mondzy805 - May 11, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        That’s like having Donald Sterling as a Owner, as Clippers fans. The guy has fat pockets, but is Hella cheap.

      • koufaxmitzvah - May 11, 2011 at 7:11 PM

        Running a club on a shoestring budget doesn’t necessarily mean the owner is cash poor. I would have taken the Glazers easily, simply because they live in SoCal and are in tune with the community. They had also just won the Super Bowl, meaning an influx of money.

        Frankie baby came in, and with his first year, said No to Vladimir Guerrero, fired the GM, scouts, and whole lot of other people, didn’t even come up with an offer for Beltre after his MVP season until he coming in too little-too late, and gave us the Paul DePodesta version of Moneyball which put Hee Seop Choi and Jose Valentin at the corners.

        That’s some cheap stuff.

    • craigbhill - May 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM


  4. BC - May 11, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Was Murdoch in that much trouble that he had to unload the franchise to this cretin? Why didn’t MLB say no, and have Murdoch hold onto them. Then maybe even facilitate the process of getting some competitive bidding started?

    • aleskel - May 11, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      I don’t think it was a matter of Murdoch being in trouble that led to the sale, but more of just the slim profit margins MLB teams produce, which makes them weak investments for big multi-nationals like News Corp. Small profit margins aren’t a problem when you’re the vanity project of a rich bloke, but it’s harder to justify to stockholders. That’s the reason why CBS (Yankees), the Tribune Co. (Cubs) and Disney (Angels) have all gotten out of the game. At the moment, I think Nintendo (Mariners) is the only joint stock corporation that owns a team.

      • jwbiii - May 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        Liberty Media owns the Braves.

  5. Walk - May 11, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Out of curiosity and a lack of knowledge on my part, how do they handle approval in the case of a divorce?Take the dodgers for instance i know that Frank Mccourt was the approved owner but now his ex wife has control of half the team on paper from the divorce proceedings. If they are legally bound to accept her ownership i dont see how they can turn down anyone who has the money to make an offer.

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