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Latest Dodgers' payroll figure only fuels McCourt skeptics

April 6, 2010 |  1:22 pm
Are you all a bunch of chumps? Doe-eyed Dodgers fans, with roots so deep that there is nothing the organization can do that would force you to finally look away?

There’s definitely an element out there certain of it. That regardless of what the McCourts do or don’t do, you’ll queue up at Dodger Stadium, 3.8 million strong, yelling, "Thank you sir, may I have another?’’

Latest evidence for the disenchanted comes via USA Today’s annual salary survey, showing the Dodgers dropping to 11th in the league in team payroll at $95.3 million.

The team in the No.2 market in the country, that leads all of baseball in attendance, down to a sad 11th. Down from $118.6 million two years ago and $100.4 million last season.

As Bill Shaikin reminded readers in The Times, when Frank McCourt became owner of the Dodgers six years ago, he said the team payroll would remain in the top quarter of all of baseball. So much for that.

Even the $95-million figure is somewhat generous, including almost $9 million in deferred payments to Manny Ramirez.

That still ranks it below the Tigers, the Giants and the small-market Twins.

That makes the organizational line that the McCourts’ divorce is not affecting the team payroll a tough sell. Particularly in light of continued court documents detailing an exorbitant lifestyle by the owners.

That ace pitcher the Dodgers have needed for several years continues as an unfulfilled wish.

It’s turning some fans off. One long-time Dodgers fan, former Los Angeles Newspaper Group columnist Paul Oberjuerge, said he’s finally had enough. In a scathing indictment of the McCourts in his blog, he said he can no longer pull for his childhood team.

"I am done … as long as anyone named McCourt retains ownership of the team.

"I cannot pull for the Dodgers to win, to succeed, to draw fans, when such vile people own the organization. People whose greed, selfishness and ego apparently are boundless.

"And we should buy tickets to see their team play?’’

Defenders of the realm will point out that the Dodgers have advanced to the National League Championship Series in consecutive seasons, that the McCourts did put money back into Dodger Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ opening-day starter was Vicente Padilla and their fifth starter is retread Charlie Haeger.

And a shrinking team payroll only emboldens the skeptics.

-- Steve Dilbeck