Dodgers Web musings: The all-Frank and Jamie McCourt edition!
OK, first we begin by trying to avoid complete nausea. It will be a challenge.
In The Times’ Bill Shaikin’s latest insightful piece on the financial tragedy emerging from the divorce proceedings of Frank and Jamie McCourt, he has a doozy of a quote to wrap up his story.
It comes from Sal Galatioto, whose New York investment firm advises buyers and sellers of sports franchises. He argues that if the McCourts are forced to sell the franchise, it would hardly be a fire sale.
First he said: "There would be plenty of buyers. The team is profitable. It's Los Angeles."
Then the story ends with this maddening comment.
"The Dodgers would not sell at a distressed price," Galatioto said. "There would be very strong bids if the team goes on the market.
"It's a tribute to the McCourts and the job they have done with the team."
(Please feel free to take this moment to scream high into the heavens. Now repeat.)
Nothing like knowing short-sighted business management hasn’t gone out of vogue in New York with the banking scandal.
Yes, the franchise has made money the past few years. But at what long-term cost?
The McCourts cut payroll and raised prices on tickets, parking and concessions. They pulled in more money and spent less of it on the team.
Now they have a half-empty stadium and a mediocre ballclub. Wonder how much they’re going to make this year. Their quick financial fix could hurt the club for years. Yeah, what a tribute.
Otherwise, Shaikin has baseball so upset about what’s coming out of the court case -- which resumes Monday -- that commissioner Bud Selig is considering intervening on behalf of the baseball.
Isn’t that interesting?
Not that he shouldn’t be highly concerned, but isn’t this the guy who pushed for McCourt ownership back in 2004 despite the little fact that … they had almost no money.
Ross Newhan, The Times’ national baseball columnist in 2004, points out in his blog that he and then-Times beat writer Jason Reid repeatedly warned that the McCourts were under-funded and that their financial plan called for an annual reduction of player payroll.
"I do not bring it up to pat Reid and myself on the back but to ponder again how MLB allowed the McCourts to make a shoestring purchase of a flagship franchise and file a business plan that seemed certain to undercut the club's ability to provide 3-million-plus fans a year with the best players money can buy.’’
And now Selig is -- what? -- shocked and concerned that one of baseball’s premier franchises is being dragged through the mud?
Paul Oberjuerge at his blog said that even those who gave the McCourts credit for reaching the National League Championship Series the past two years had to know the jig was up once the divorce was announced.
He saw only two possible outcomes:
"1. It would be very bad for the club.
"2. It would be disastrous for the club.’’
Which remains a toss-up.
Two other recent stories on the McCourts’ situation mentioned earlier here bear repeating:
-- Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins rips into the owners for crippling one of sports' great franchises and gives a terrific overview of the demise.
-- ESPN.com’s Howard Bryant spares no criticism of the crumbling of the franchise under the McCourts.
"The collapse is an extraordinary example of greed and unaccountability gone wild in a decade already full of them."
And, OK, I lied. It’s not an exclusive McCourt edition of Web musings.
-- BenMaller.com has found Matt Kemp modeling for Crooks & Castles, a street-wear clothing company that is something about everyone having to be a bit of a crook before owning a castle.
-- ESPN/LA.com’s Jon Weisman takes a look at the eight starts James McDonald has made for the Pirates and thinks the Dodgers gave up on their two-time minor-league pitcher of the year too soon.
-- Steve Dilbeck