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Another day, another rich guy who reportedly wants to buy Dodgers

OK, I lied. Going to write another pained, positive post about Frank McCourt. You know, sometimes the truth does hurt:

He has apparently made them a desirable item.

Frank and Jamie McCourt purchased the Dodgers from the Evil Empire -- a.k.a. Fox -- in 2004 for $430 million.

Fox had done such a disastrous job running the team, nobody else was really interested. That’s largely why the team was sold to a couple from Boston who had almost zero cash but apparently the world’s niftiest parking lot.

Now, seven years later, people are lining up to purchase the Dodgers and they’re not even for sale.

I admit my own bid at putting an ownership group together has stalled -- I swear the Accord only has 62,000 miles on it -- but that hasn’t intimidated others from emerging.

Now comes word of yet another prospective buyer.Bloomberg News reported Monday that Alec Gores is preparing a bid for the Dodgers should the McCourts’ divorce force them to sell, which everyone seems to believe will happen except the McCourts.

Who is Alec Gores?

First off, he’s a billionaire, so he gets points for that. Forbes listed his worth last October at $1.7 billion. Gores, 57, reportedly made his money that newfangled American way -- leveraged buyouts.

Bloomberg said Gores’ investments include a 75%  stake in Westwood One, the radio programmer, and Alliance Entertainment, a DVD distributor.

Gores may also partner in his bid with brother Tom Gores, another billionaire (Forbes: $2.4 billion). You know, sort of like your family.

All of this follows previous reports that Steve Garvey, Larry King, Mark Cuban, Dennis Gilbert, Tom Werner, Alan Casden, Mark Attanasio, Joe Torre and the Dilbeck Investment Group are all interested in purchasing the Dodgers.

Which, of course, are not for sale. Not today, anyway. Vultures at the ready? Not hardly, when you consider the cost.

The great irony is that the financially troubled McCourt has made the Dodgers a profitable and desirable team to own. The issue, of course, is less that he turned a profit on the team, but what he did with the profit.

The team’s value apparently has somehow skyrocketed even while all this divorce mess was unfolding. Forbes estimated the Dodgers were worth $727 million last April, but recently upped its valuation to a cool billion.

Frank McCourt, business genius!

The problem for McCourt is he has leveraged the team so seriously ($433 million long-term debt, up to $650 million total liabilities) that he hasn’t been able to secure additional funding. He’s had to request an advance from Fox for its 2011 TV rights.

OK, maybe not a genius.

The man does have some interest payments. Probably a tad more than on the Accord, but it’s early. And potential owners continue to emerge.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (14)

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The Judge should force that (him) to sell. He sucks and don't want him ruining our Dodgers no more. I call for a Boycott.

Envoy with nearly 134,000 but willing and ready if the Dilbeck group will allow me in.

Steve, I've got a '06 Acura TL I'll add to your efforts. All I ask is season tickets behind the plate on the second level. Why? Because that's where Roger Ownes puts on a great show every night. Oh yeah, and the right to get rid of the 'Don't Stop Believing' guy

I guess the good news is the Dodgers won't go long without an owner. Somebody with money will always be owning the team.

Never thought I would give up my Schwinn Black Phantom...but the "Dilbeck Dodgers"...count me in.

And speaking of counting....was that Jamie down at Office Max buying a new calculator

Leveraged Buyouts?
Is that inversely related to a Leveraged Buy In, Mr. Selig?
McCourt has the potential buyers lining up!

The last thing Bud Selig and the rest of the MLB owners want is for a billionaire to buy the Dodgers.

These days with computers, stat-geeks and "money," how hard is it to put together a World Series contender...

I would love to see what Kim Ng could do with a 200 million dollar payrol.

Yes, the vultures are circling, but these are community-friendly ones, necessary to the environment and the elimination of a particularly odoriferous skunk and some would say a skank.

They bring to mind the distinct possibility the new owners may be similar or, gasp, worse. It's possible! So how do the keepers of the trust, the fans, weigh in, other than with meaningless blather, which of ocurse carries no weight.

The answer may lie with the other owners, who would have to approve a sale to a specific buyer. That's how McCourt got the Dodgers in the first place, as an afterthought when he was not awarded the Red Sox, where strong ownership was needed with actual cash money to balance out the Yankees, who otherwise would dominate the 30 teams like it was the '50s again, when there were 8 in each league.

The commish did not want a Yankees of the West, gave McCourt the Dodgers as a door prize, stopped him from attempting to sign Vlad Guerrero as a free agent, lest he actually try to spend money on free agents, and here we are, depleted of anything other than dreamland pennants that would depend on luck more than the skill the owner could afford to put on the field, which is why we do compare with Pittsburgh, or even, ugh, Frisco.

So a new owner would need to be vetted before we could allow MLB to make a second mistake with our team. The fans' vetter: Peter O'Malley. We as fans could drill the point thru the heads of the other owners that, having just gone thru the angst of having to Make Noise! in order to shoehorn McCourt out, we wouldn't go dumb if another phony were to take over. Our representative, O'Malley, has already made his own brave noises about the quality of the product under McCourt. He had no need to say so except that it's true, and it disgusts him, as much as us, that his dad's legacy has been tarnished by these deadbeats from Boston. That's what we have in common with Peter: Disgust. That we share that is enough to trust him to pass judgment on the quality, as opposed to the net worth, of the next ownership.

Most of the owners either know him or know of him, and would see his approval as necessary to a happy denouement to this tawdry soap opera. It would mean they would have to accept an owner who would shop for and actually buy championship-caliber free agents a la Philadelphia, and so run up player costs for all. Shiff tut, say i, that's the price they'll have to pay to stop the fan revolt in LA, home of the most storied franchise in at least the National League, which should count for more than their McCourt rubberstamp they smeared on us lo these seven years ago. We have suffered enough from the "competitive" guarantee we would not spend on the horses necessary to win another championship.

The solution to the owners' hesitation to accept a Dodger team that would contribute to skyrocketing free agency is for them to finally bite the bullet and go NFL and enter the 20th century, again, by attacking the evil heart of the problem all along, the Yankees, of course, by capping player salaries at, say $200 million per team (the Angels technically right now are at $145), which should be plenty for the players, and risk a strike over it, and slowly build the rest of baseball's take so all of those who really want their teams to play in a World Series could compete with the NY by, say, 2025.


As much as I want McCourt to sell I want to wait and see it play out. Will Jamie eventually own the team? Will Dodger stadium end up with advertisement painted on the field? How much will parking and tickets cost? I want to see the worst come out of this so MLB will raise the standards for further team purchases.

Frank! Take the money and run, far away from L.A., far away from Jaime, and take the profits while you can.

Steve, I guess that I am in the minority here. I have little problem with who owns the Dodgers. The McCourt's dissolution brought up a lot of issues that offended many. The excess spending, buy real estate with their resources, operating their own successful business... These are all things typically rewarded in modern America. Do you think that rich billionaires will have less dirty laundry then multi-millionaies? They certainly have the potential for a lot more laundry.

Leveraged buyouts? Jeez, just what we need, an asset-stripper. Vultures indeed.

Out of the frying pan...

Only for a worthy cause: My beloved '04 Dodger Blue Mustang GT for a share in Dilbeck's Dodgers. In fact, I see a grass-roots effort building here. McCourt at one time talked about the Dodgers being a "civic treasure" or some such thing -- which it is, even though McCourt was only using the phrase for his own deceptive purposes. What I propose is that the only way we can ever be assured that the Dodgers can ever be protected from future owners doing the same thing as is happening now is for the Dodgers to become a true "civic entity", (a la the Green Bay Packers -- the only modern American sports franchise owned by their community rather than a person or group). I propose that Steve Dilbeck organize this thing and vet the potential members/owners thusly: Each potential Dodger share owner will contribute a 2 or 4 wheeled vehicle to the cause (validity to be determined by Mr. Dilbeck, but I think my Mustang qualifies). Each potential Dodger share owner must pass a timed test -- questions to be determined by Mr. Dilbeck, but they would be something like this:
1. Who hit the fly ball that Joe Ferguson caught in front of Jimmy Wynn to throw out Sal Bando at the plate in the '74 World Series?
2. Who swung the bat that broke and stuck Steve Yeager in the throat that nearly killed him? What city were they in when it happened?
3. What rock star sung the national anthem before Game 3 of the 1977 World Series at Dodger Stadium in exchange for a satin blue Dodger jacket?

Anyway, not all the questions will be from the '70's, obviously, but I'm clearly showing my age here, and anyway, you get my drift. If we all owned the Dodgers collectively, there would be a built-in sanity check. I don't think the crazy stuff would happen. jmho.

Mr. Dilbeck,

Clever and original, a negative piece on Frank McCourt. Who was done what exactly to offend Dodger fans? Get them into the second round of the playoffs a couple of times after a loooong playoff drought? Remodel an aging stadium? Spend willingly on player salaries? Maybe there is a reason that the value of the team has doubled on his watch.

I have issues with the McCourts and their messy divorce, and I don't agree with all of their baseball decisions, but the feeding frenzy around them is all out of proportion. And I am sick of them being a larger story in the LA Times than the new manager, than the prospects for Either or Kemp to rebound from last year, than who will be at short when Furcal is inevitably sidelined. Than how the starting pitching will really perform. Than how farm teams or stocked or who might be available in June to fill the hole in left.

The Dodgers have some strengths and some real big question marks going into spring training. Baseball wise. That, and not the owner, is what I am interested in baseball for.

And I assume his cash flow crunch is divorce related, not a business acumen issue. And he has solved it. Next question.


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