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Frank McCourt calls MLB financing “a deal with the devil”

Jul 18, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

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

One thing you learn pretty quick as a litigator is that, just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.  At least in court filings, where sometimes one’s rhetorical flourishes can go too damn far. Where one’s zealousness to make a sharp point leads one to say something in writing that they would never (one hopes) say to a person’s face.  I have this feeling Frank McCourt’s lawyers are about to be reminded of this, because the filing they just made with the bankruptcy court is over the top.

I haven’t read it yet — and given its length I may not —  but Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal is tweeting the highlights from it, and he came across a doozy.  In arguing against the idea of allowing Major League Baseball to finance the operations of the Dodgers during the pendency of the case, McCourt argues that “it is well within [the Dodgers] business judgment to decline such a ‘deal with the devil.’ ”

That deal would be with Major League Baseball and its Commissioner Bud Selig.  Who, yeah, has been called a lot of things before, but I’m not sure he’s been called “the devil.” And certainly not by a major league owner.  And I’m guessing that a Delaware bankruptcy judge isn’t used to having a putatively sophisticated litigant before him who tosses around that kind of hyperbole in briefs during the preliminary rounds of a complicated business case.

In their weight, McCourt’s multiple arguments that he, and not Major League Baseball, is the more responsible steward of the Los Angeles Dodgers are laughable.  I mean, you can only say “up is down and black is white” so many times before you lose all credibility.  But I have this feeling that referring to an alternative financing plan — one that has better terms than the one he is offering — as “a deal with the devil” is going to make the judge pretty angry and put a big dent in whatever credibility McCourt and his legal team has at the moment.

  1. Utley's Hair - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Any deal with McCourt is a deal with the devil.

  2. Brian Murphy - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    An NFL player called called Commissioner Goodell “the devil” last weekend. So this is just part of the current fashion, right?

    • paperlions - Jul 18, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      He also called Goodell both a puppet and a dictator. The man must be talented to pull that off.

      • Old Gator - Jul 18, 2011 at 11:08 PM

        Try this one:

        You have done well, Lex Luthor, ruler of Australia.

    • scareduck - Jul 18, 2011 at 5:06 PM

      Please allow me to introduce myself
      I’m a man of wealth and taste

  3. scareduck - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    I want to see Frank in irons, doing a perp walk before a Federal courthouse for tax evasion. That, and the Moses day that LA fans everywhere are rid of Frank and Jamie and their salacious, venal, childishness.

  4. bigleagues - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Wait . . . is this Frank McCourt or Joe O’Donnell from Curb Your Enthusiasm that we are talking about?

    I can’t tell the difference.

    BTW, Craig – I know you are not a psychiatrist, but is there one on staff or retainer? I’d love to hear a professional take on what we know about Frank McCourt. Me thinks he’s a tad on the sociopathic tip.

    • scareduck - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      Yes, a trip to the DSM-IV would be interesting. He strikes me as a narcissist.

  5. cur68 - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Man, McCourt just never stops trying, does he? Not hardly a nickel to his name that isn’t owed to someone or 2 or 3 someones, an ex-wife who owns his a$$ to the tune of 600G/month and he spends more time in court that he does in his living rooms yet here he is slingin’ mud like a man with the world at his feet. Frankly I’m glad he’s making his life worse while at the same time stressing the hell out of Selig, the a$$-clown who let McCourt in the door in the first place. Those 2 deserve each other. Enjoy your ulcers gentlemen.

    Craig, on a side note, I watched The Lincoln Lawyer last night. Was pretty good. Tell the truth now; that was the unauthorized biography of your practice of the law wasn’t it?

  6. jimbo1949 - Jul 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    lemmee see if I got this right:
    After their failed attempt to enlist Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac in their nefarious plot to maintain control over Dodgerland, Captain Crook and The Happy Meal Gang have filed their noxious briefs in McCourt in an attempt to besmirch the already infamous Uncle O’Grimacey by citing him as a devil in disguise.
    nah, Ronald wouldn’t believe it,

  7. SmackSaw - Jul 18, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Of course it is, Frank. MLB wants you to go away. Beggar’s can’t be choosers. Imagine calling your landlord the devil. That’ll go over like a fart in church.

  8. koufaxmitzvah - Jul 18, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    There is something to be said about Frank McCourt never missing the opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  9. Old Gator - Jul 18, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Went down to the crossroads
    Tried to flag a loan
    Went down to the crossroads
    Tried to flag a loan
    Aint nobody seemed to like me
    Only Fox throwed me a bone

    Went down to the crossroads
    Take my lawyer to the fight
    Went down to the crossroads
    Take my lawyer to the fight
    You can still scam the judge baby
    If you blame it on Bud Light

  10. 24may98 - Jul 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    At least in court filings, where sometimes one’s rhetorical flourishes can go too damn far

    True, but it’s Bankruptcy Court – the ugly stepchild of the federal bench.

  11. alv2011 - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Baseball fans – even if you dont root for the dodgers, please help Los Angeles throw this bum out of town. We just want our team back:

  12. squish03 - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    He’s right, Selig is the devil but in this case and in this case only I’m advocating for the devil and not just playing.

    I feel so unclean.

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