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How scary is this: Pushed into a corner, a desperate Frank McCourt vows to fight on

April 30, 2011 |  8:08 am

Frank6 "I have just begun to fight,’’ said "Irish’’ Frank McCourt.

Scarier words have been spoken, just not recently. I guess we’ve known for some time now this was not going to end well, but just how deep into the muck do we have to delve?

Frank McCourt is a desperate man. It’s almost sad, McCourt trying to instantly reinvent himself only after Commissioner Bud Selig has stepped in and taken control of the team.

Now he wants to talk to the media? Now he wants to go out and mingle in the right-field pavilion? Now he wants to open up?

He is flailing in all directions, though I remain convinced he believes every word he utters. He’s like the teenager who’s come up with some wild excuse for a boneheaded move, repeating it until he actually begins to believe his own ramblings.

Let’s see here, the reason he did not talk to the media for the last 18 months was because his boys asked him not to discuss the divorce. Really? So don’t talk about the divorce. There were only about 99 other topics to discuss.

"Recently, my boys came to me and said it was OK for me to speak out and to defend myself,’’ he told The Times' Bill Shaikin. "I'm going to do that. I'm going to continue to do that. I love this team. I love this game. I love this community.’’

He could have been defending himself against his mismanagement of the team for the last 18 months without talking divorce. Now backed into a corner by MLB, he suddenly plays his divorce like a sympathy card.

And I’m getting real weary of his "love the team’’ and "love the community’’ routine. He’s not from our community and doesn’t know it. He's from Boston and now lives in one of the Southland’s most expensive hotels a block off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

For the last 18 months, he has barely worked at Dodger Stadium. He has an office in Beverly Hills. He had other things on his plate -- like the NFL and Dodger City Walk and buying a Premier League soccer team with the Chinese. When he pushed out team President Dennis Mannion in October, he said he was returning to the stadium to be more hands-on. It never happened.

Somebody clearly told him he needed to sound contrite, but he can’t quite pull it off. He apologizes but only in the vaguest of terms. He can never quite say what it is he’s apologizing for. He apologized for what fans think he might have done wrong.

"What matters is that is the perception,’’ he told Shaikin. "I'm sorry that is their perception.’’

See, just all that misguided perception. And he keeps saying over and over how the only reason he is in financial trouble is because MLB won’t approve his new mega-deal with Fox.

"It's not how you run a business. On the other hand, if somebody prevents you from accessing your capital and executing your financial plans, then things like this happen. We were way out in front of all this.’’

That would be the first thing he was out in front of.

"It's the series of delays in allowing us to close this transaction that has created the problem here. Otherwise, there would be no problem here.’’

OK, come on, get real here. The Dodgers still have two more years on their existing contract with Fox. If they were being run properly, he would not need a new 17-year deal to bail him out and meet payroll now.

And though a great deal for McCourt with its $285 million up front, I remain highly skeptical it’s a great deal for the Dodgers. How can anyone know what their rights deal will be worth 10, 15 or 20 years from now? It’s risky and dangerous, and could even cripple the team financially in later years.

He also said he’ll agree that none of the funds from the Fox transaction go to paying off Jamie McCourt in their divorce settlement, which is kind of silly. If he doesn’t take it from the TV deal, he’s going to take it from some other team revenue stream. The Dodgers are his only revenue source.

Deeper into the murk we go, and he has only begun to fight. Scary as it can be.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Frank McCourt. Credit: Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg

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