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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
 
Comments () | Archives (11)

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Three possible worst-case scenarios for Doyer fans: 1) McCourt wins divorce saga and then we have years and years of this same garbage with his sons taking over once he croaks 2) There is a settlement (which in essence means Parking Lot Attendant keeps the team) 3) GOD FORBID they should reconcile!!! Only power we the fans are left with is NOT supporting this inferior product (READ: QUIT ATTENDING THE GAMES, IDIOTS!!!)

I wish you would do Dodger Talk.

I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you to find out that gambling's been going on here.


As far as McDonald... But we got the wonderful and fabulous Roach Dotel.

One thing that I have to wonder about is how the issue of the McCourts loans to themselves out of future ticket sales would be resolved at the time of a proposed sale. Isn't this a liability a future owner would have to demand payment on?

Told 'ya , Uncle Neddy.

I miss Ross Newhan. He and I share the same perspective. He said stuff in this blog that I've been trying to get across all year. Shaikin too. But the Times no longer has Shaikin writing the Sunday baseball column anymore. Pity.
I recommended Shaikin's story today in an earlier post. I hope people took advantage and read it.
Thanks for recommending the Newhan's blog. I've got it bookmarked now.

It makes me laugh when any negative comment about the Dodgers from Jon Weisman is posted. Before Dilbeck, the Dodger Blog hosted by Weisman was nothing more than an extension of the Dodger PR department.

McDonald for another old guy, Ned strikes again! Like Dotel was the missing piece.

I am conflicted between (1) wanting someone to intervene to prevent the complete demise of the Dodgers and (2) my strong dislike of Bud Selig and his behind-the-scenes manipulations. Particularly troublesome to me is the allegation that the McCourts were awarded the Dodgers as some part of a quid-pro-quo for their land holdings in Boston as a future home of the Red Sox. So we Dodger fans got inferior (and now completely blown up) ownership so that MLB could leverage Red Sox facilities?? That is harder to stomach than the Dodger lineups of the last month. I agree with Sangorazul - absent MLB intervention or (please!) an order from the divorce court to sell the team, we are stuck with some version of the McCourts as owners. The only recourse we have as fans is the big middle finger of refusing to buy the product.

This has been the perfect situation with McDonald. He never put it together in his starts for the Dodgers, but at the same time, the Dodgers staff never had the backbone to absorb several bad starts and just say they're geting him experience and believe in him. There is a win now mentality in LA, especially with the success of the past two years, that was unforgiving for McDonald's starts.

In Pittsburgh, he has none of that pressure, so he can go out and build confidence based on his starts. Just a shame that if he does put it together and become a very good starter, that we'll have a few months of Dotel to show for it.

If they end up selling they better not sell to a New Yorker, the team might end up back in Brooklyn.


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