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Frank McCourt: Shameless

Jun 22, 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

Last night, Bob Sacks, a lawyer who represents Frank McCourt, spoke with Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The subject: Frank McCourt’s response to Major League Baseball’s rejection of the television deal McCourt sought with Fox and the impending standoff between McCourt and Bud Selig.

Everyone knows this is a difficult time for McCourt and the Dodgers. Everyone knows that the money is tight and the options few.  Moreover, everyone — at least everyone with a lick of sense or intellectual honesty about them — knows how McCourt and the Dodgers got into this mess.

Mr. Sacks and Frank McCourt, however, are choosing to ignore that. They are choosing to eschew any sense of humility and any notion of responsibility and to put their absolute worst foot forward. From Shaikin’s report:

“Bob Sacks, the attorney, also said McCourt would not surrender control of Dodger Stadium, the surrounding land and some ticket revenues even if he loses ownership of the Dodgers. Sacks said the entities controlling those interests are separate from the Dodgers and would remain under McCourt’s control, which would require any new owner to pay tens of millions in revenue each year to McCourt.

“‘There is the possibility of some fairly acrimonious and extreme litigation going forward, which Frank is hopeful will not occur. If baseball were to act precipitously against Frank, which has been threatened, then there will be a showdown on that issue.'”

“Acrimonious and extreme litigation.”  It’s a phrase so ridiculous, oblivious, irresponsible and frankly obnoxious in this context that I don’t even have the stomach to make the easy jokes at Mr. Sacks’ expense. As a lawyer I’m disgusted by this kind of threat. It casts what, on some level, I still consider my profession in the worst light. It justifies the low esteem in which so many people hold the practice of law.

As a baseball fan I’m disgusted by Frank McCourt’s entire operation and everything he’s done to this point, and my disgust grows by the day. Here’s a man who bought this once proud franchise on the back of $421 million of debt and managed to turn it into something even less than the funny paper he threw at it.  He carved it up, mortgaged it to the gills, looted whatever he could loot and shifted around whatever he couldn’t.  He lived a billionaire’s lifestyle on millionaire money that wasn’t even his to begin with and since it became abundantly clear that such a state of affairs was unsustainable, he has borrowed more and cast about madly to salvage whatever he can. At least as long as he hasn’t had to make any sacrifices himself, anyway.

And now, when he is finally being called to task over his irresponsible spendthrift ways, he has the audacity to threaten to scorch the earth with “acrimonious and extreme litigation,” all the while continuing to hold the Dodgers hostage, be it to some sort of injunction that keeps the team his for the time being (my guess) or via a gussied up extortion scheme in which he holds his control over the parking lots, the ballpark and whatever other ancillary assets to which he lays claim over the head of Major League Baseball and whoever it may get to run the Dodgers once McCourt’s slimy fingers are pried away from the controls.

Of course, Frank McCourt is a free actor with free will and such a course of action is his right. It is a course of action that was even enabled to a degree by Major League Baseball, who neglected to properly assess the risks of allowing such a leveraged transaction to such a questionable figure. And while I believe McCourt will ultimately lose, there is nothing to stop him from choosing to fight this fight with every weapon at his disposal, and I don’t doubt Mr. Sacks when he says such a fight will be “acrimonious and extreme.”

But just because one can pursue a course of action doesn’t mean one should.  Frank McCourt could, if he so chooses, stand down, admit that he has reached an untenable position as the Dodgers’ owner, allow Major League Baseball to take the team over and then collect his profits — of which there likely will still be a considerable amount — when the team is ultimately sold.  By doing so he will be paying a price for his incompetence and avarice, but it will be a relatively small one given the sheer scope of his incompetence and avarice.  And of course there would be a psychic benefit too, as by doing so he would limit the the pain felt by millions of Dodgers fans who have had to live through the nightmare he has created these past few years.

But I highly doubt McCourt will do any of that. He won’t because he lives in a world of zero responsibility, zero accountability and he has absolutely no shame. He is no idiot. He knows what he has done to this franchise. He knows that, at this point, saving himself and saving the Los Angeles Dodgers are two different things entirely.  He just doesn’t care. He doesn’t care and he doesn’t — as is clearly evidenced by his actions to date and the stated intentions of his attorney — have any intention of pursuing a course that places the best interests of the Dodgers and the interests of Dodgers fans anywhere on the priority list.

So bring your acrimonious and extreme litigation, Frank. Do your absolute worst. No sense in trying to do something decent for once in your reign as Dodgers’ owner. At this point, why should you change? And how could you do it anyway, given how little capacity for prudence, reflection and contrition you’ve exhibited thus far?

  1. purdueman - Jun 22, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    koufax, you shouldn’t be aiming your hate at the messenger, but instead at those who give all Jewish people a bad name because all they care about is money, money, money and squeezing out every last nickle and pinching every last penny any time that they can with total disregard for who they are dealing with on the other side of the negotiating table.

    Until you have experienced it though multiple times, I wouldn’t expect you to understand, but it is reality anytime and every time I’ve had to deal with high powered Jewish lawyers and CFO’s from New Yawk and Philly.

    How can you possibly defend this select and narrow group of people who aren’t content enough to sign off on a totally cost justified, pre-negotiated business deal with a better ROI for a project than they can get anywhere else, just to try and squeeze every last thin dime out by trying to take advantage of people? If you can justify such money grubbing behavior, I feel sorry for you.

    Notice that I said ONLY lawyers and corporate CFO’s ONLY from New Yawk and Philly; while that’s a VERY NARROW group within a group, nonetheless it’s one of the most visible and influential groups and therein lies your problem as to how a large segment of the general public perceive things.

    • tashkalucy - Jun 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM


      I responded to you above.

      I started this thread to show the irresponsibility used mostly by lawyers and businesspeople in the (old) industrial northeast that have taken over American businesses, squeezed every last cent out of them and laid=of the workers which has effectively wiped out the middle class in this country, To infer that this is only being done by people with Jewish backgrounds is (plain and simple) moronic and demagogic.

      I spent almost 40 years in business and ran into people like (the Irish) Frank McCourt — who I referred to when starting this thread. I don’t like them, and I don’t like you. And I’ve run into croks like them from the entire rainbow coalition. So?

      • JBerardi - Jun 23, 2011 at 12:52 AM

        To infer that this is only being done by people with Jewish backgrounds is (plain and simple) moronic and demagogic.

        You don’t think it’s just slightly demagogic to blame the entire northeast for Frank McCourt’s jackassery?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 23, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      I’m sorry… Are you the messenger? Messenger of what? Kkkrap?

      Here’s a twist, Purdue. I’m YOUR messenger.

      Don’t print stupid, ignorant, borderline racist bull on a blog devoted to BASEBALL.

      You want to get all about Jews with me? Go to a board devoted to Israel. Palestine. The Middle East. The Arab Spring.

      You want to talk about how the Jews control the world? Go to Aftonbladet. Go to NPR. Go to some crazy-ass site devoted to debunking the IMF, AIPAC, and World Jewry.

      THIS is a board about BASEBALL. And Frank FuckYou McCourt isn’t a JEW.

      You are one pathetic sack of stink.

      • purdueman - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        tsk, tsk, tsk… I feel sorry for those of you out there who are so-ooooooo thin skinned. Lighten up; life’s too short to create a cause to lug around on your shoulders.

        My posts aren’t in any way intended to anti-Semetic. If you think that, you obviously have lived a sheltered life thusfar and never worked at the upper levels of the corporate world as I have much of my career.

        My point was initially a follow on to one made by another poster as to how the Mc Brokes are giving Boston and New York a black eye due to the money grubbing culture that’s far more dominant there than in any other area of the nation.

        I merely pointed out that there are always a SMALL SEGMENT within ANY population group (be it based on race, creed or ethnicity), that gives their entire group a black eye, generates a lot of public resentment and backlash just to serve their own means, and cause stereotypes to stay alive and perpetuate, if not thrive.

        Now I realize that the above paragraph may be WAY over a lot of your heads, but stop and think about it and you’ll see that my comments weren’t intended to single out any group, but to echo and amplify a group that was already singled out by a prior post (i.e., money grubbing Boston and New Yawkers).

        I realize that the phrase “New Yawk Jew” is a lightening rod that can make Jewish people bristle; my intent though wasn’t meant to be incendiary, but merely to point out that the continued predatory behavior on the part of New Yawk Jewish lawyers and Executives is who you have to blame for perpetuating the stereotype, not me (I’m just the messenger).

        This small segment of the population is the ONLY segment where even though my companies proposals had been thoroughly analyzed and pre-negotiated by the prospects purchasing department, negotiations immediately become acrimonious and go south because the only thing that this segment of the population gives a damn about is shaving the “cawst”, even though the proposals presented provided well over double the return the company could ever get by investing the money instead.

        Denial is not a river in Africa. On the previous details of a representative deal that I chose to walk from (including several Jewish co-workers), most of whom walked away calling the lawyers and CFO openly by that stereotype phrase, not because anyone was anti-Semetic, but because of the ruthless behavior on the part of these individuals.

        Those 60 people walk away and repeat that story to their friends and family, vent at bars and circulate the true story via email. Trust me, it doesn’t generate a lot of love, I can tell you that much for sure!

  2. tuftsb - Jun 22, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    To all fo you that are posting today

    1. Post under your real name if you have any courage of your convictions and will defend what you say.

    2. We are all guests on Craig’s site – let’s be responsible adults.

    Signed – Bob Tufts, ex-MLB player and a Jewish New Yorker

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Jun 22, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    If there is one more bit of bigotry, race-baiting or antisemitism, the poster gets banned.

    I won’t have it and you all know better.

    Grow up.

    • craigbhill - Jun 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      That means you, purdue bigot

  4. cur68 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    purdue; I tried to get you stop with this stuff when you were going on with your amusingly name Asian ballplayers. I don’t know who you intend to blame for this one…

    All in all, I’d just like to add that McCourt’s Bud’s fault and Bud can clean up his own mess. I hope they give each other ulcers.

  5. craigbhill - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    Fuck you, you obnoxious blowhard.

  6. yahmule - Jun 26, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Typical mentality of the rich in this country.

  7. gabe18 - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Dodger fans should stop buying tickets and the ones that still go to the venues they should boycott the concessions until they get rid of this clown.

  8. tumbler43 - Aug 2, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    If McCourt carries through on his threats (typical of his way of doing business through litigation instead of making honest business agreements), he’ll have to set aside the fact that he is suing the MLB despite his own agreement not to do so, once again showing that “Some” deals he’ll honor and some he won’t. In any event, LA Fans have always supported winners and good times. If they get a new owner, I’m sure the fans will return to the seats, UNLESS McCouurt gets a cut. As for the fans who go, I will be shocked if anyone buys a bag of peanuts from the guy. As for parking, the new owner just needs to get the shuttles ready to go. McCourt keeps threateneing litigation and losing (see: his divorce case; see: his bankruptcy trial) — he has lost all of these battles without the angry fans being heard. If McCourt is unfortunate enough to be able to carry out his threat, the fans will united against him in ways that he never considered when making his threats. Good bye Frank. We hardly knew you! And we knew you too damned well!

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