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It's Steve Soboroff unplugged: Frank McCourt is a changed man

It's hard to know where to begin with Steve Soboroff, the Dodgers' new vice chairman of something. Say this for him: He doesn't back down.

After telling The Times' Bill Shaikin earlier that Major League Baseball had acted irresponsibly in taking control of the Dodgers, he repeated his charge several times while he stopped by the press box during Thursday's game.

Not that he stopped there. Among other things, Soboroff said divorce had changed Frank McCourt and he would never again pull $100 million away from the team (trust him), that MLB has placed the club on an expenditure limit and must approve anything over $5,000, that unlike the financially strapped Mets the Dodgers were being picked on, and blasted MLB for taking over the Dodgers without having a trustee already in place.

I was going to list his comments and then get all snarky on you, showing just how incredibly clever I can be, but figured you might just actually enjoy the experience of raw, unfiltered Soboroff.

So here's Steevie!

On joining a sinking ship: "So was Playa Vista, so was City Hall, so was the parks department, so was Staples Center, so was the Alameda Corridor, so was the school system. This is the 15th time I've gone on a sinking ship and been warned I was part of the Titanic. I do it to make L.A. a better place."

On looking out of touch with the situation: "I think Frank McCourt is a different person now moving forward or I wouldn't risk having people of your quality looking at a guy like me -- who's spent his whole life helping Big Brothers and all these things -- and say, 'What are you doing? Have you lost your mind?'

"I don't drink. I don't use drugs. I don't use steroids. I have one wife. I have five kids. I have stitches on my nose. I'm not doing this for any reason other than to help L.A. I would love to show the commissioner what's going on here. This should be a model for other baseball teams."

Ripping MLB for not having a trustee in place: "Whoever the Wizard of Oz that comes out here to run this place … usually to me, if you're going to send somebody out to take over, you don't write a letter that says, 'Well, gee whiz, here's all these problems with you and here's everything else, and don't worry, later on in the week we're going to send somebody out.' You send them the same day."

On McCourt being in debt: "Whether he bought the team for cash, or whether he bought the team for 110% leverage, what he did was double the value of the asset. It's irrelevant to me whether or not he paid cash for the team or was smart enough to get the team for nothing. What happened is, he doubled the value of the team."

On getting MLB's notification: "That letter was not expected, was a shock … the content of the letter, the spirit of the letter beneath it, if you hold it up there's probably a part that was whited out saying, 'We've already made our decision.' This letter was written by 35 lawyers. I mean, come on. I thought it was irresponsible."

On whether he's too late to the party: "Well, it sure seems like it, doesn't it? They wrote a letter saying we're not in charge. And I would like to make over $5,000 a year. Any expenditure over $5,000 has to be approved."

On McCourt, the changed man: "I think so, and I think he deserves a chance. He had a life-changing event. And it's sad. Although some of it is extravagant and ridiculous to the common man, divorce is sad. He's had an experience that he's gone through and emerged from, that has changed him. I believe this or I would not have done this."

On whether MLB is picking on McCourt: "Yes, obviously they are. What teams in America have a $3-billion, $2½-billion deal ready to go? That puts the Dodgers in jeopardy? Come on, it puts them in the upper echelon in a financial situation of all other teams.

"Talk to me about something else. Say I don't like him because of his shoes, I don't like this or whatever he did. But don't talk to me about his financial situation. Give me a break. Let's compare it to other places, to other big-city situations. How do you single him out and you don't single the Mets out? Come on."

On Commissioner Bud Selig: "What did the commissioner of baseball do? He increased the value, he increased revenue lines. He did all kinds of great things for baseball. If you read his Wikipedia and you read Frank's Wikipedia, they ain't too different."

On McCourt no longer pulling out team funds for personal use: "I don't see it. Frank McCourt is not going to take $150 million, $200, $300 million dollars more out of this thing. This is the most important thing in his life now."

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, talks with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt before the Dodgers' season opener against the San Francisco Giants on March 31. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (35)

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What planet is this guy from? He obviously has been out of touch with this one for quite awhile now. He's got his head so far up Frank's rear end that he's liable to see Ned anytime now.

Wow, this Soboroff fellow is a real a piece of work. He's obviously grateful for getting a position with the Dodgers, and now he's making himself a charter member of the Frank McCourt Marching and Chowder Society (there it is...I've always wanted a chance to use one of Vinny's great phrases).

Soboroff's going after the Commissioner, two days into the job and doesn't even know who his boss is? He's definitely a loose cannon and a liability whose tenure at the Dodgers will be short.

Now we can all relax, Soboroff who left his high-paying job handling PR duties for another great leader, Kadaffy now promises McCheap won't keep draining
away the club's equity for personal gain. Oh yeah, I totally believe that one...

He's talking out of Frank's rear. Good job puppet. Now bow down to your new master... Selig.

McCourt, pack up, tuck your tail, do not pass go, hit the trail to jail once the IRS is through with you. Get out of LA. The Dodgers are far bigger than you and sooner hopefully than later the debris you left in your wake will be cleaned up by the next O'Malley or Rickey.

2-0 and counting since the MLB "takeover".

Soboroff is a joke to be making statements of this kind after 7 years of the nonsense to which Dodger fans have borne witness. Frankly, it's insulting to Dodger fans, and he should pack up and get out before he embarasses himself any further. Why doesn't someone challenge him to find 10 people in LA who are not on the Dodgers payroll who agree with his "Frank McCourt is good for L.A." remark and see how far he gets? Just an absolute joke to choose to be sidling up to such an unsavory character at this stage of the game. And as for McCourt, choosing to sue would be like paying a lot of money for a ticket to a party when the other guests have it clear they don't want you around - even if he wins, what does he think he is going to be left with - does he expect that to be a situation that fans will get behind? He should get a grip on reality and crawl back into whatever hole he came out of - the quicker the better for everyone.

I am really going to enjoy this Soboroff character. Keep the comments coming Steevie, we are thoroughly entertained by your delusion.

Ned, Steve and Frank, the Three Stooges!

Ha ha, Labeldude, once again you hit it out of the park.

Arrogance. Pure arrogance.

Frank McCourt is despicable. His PR man Steve Sugerman is a felon. You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.

Turn the page.

McCourt can obviously be trusted not to take money out of the Dodgers for his own personal use. If so, why does he plan on using some of that $3 billion deal with fox to help settle his divorce? The entirety of that money should go to the team, not to help him buy out his crazy soon-to-be-ex's half of the team.

This guy needs to put his hooves and horns back on and march his a-ss right back down to he-ll. He can take this Steve Soboroff dude with him.

Maybe soboroff and donald trump are twins, seperated at birth. By the way this was a model franchise before frankie, jamey and neddie got their paws on it! This guy isn`t lacking in the ego department. He has done more than that guy who got crucified 2000 years ago.. Never mind what planet is this guy from, rather what charm school did he NOT graduate from.... I asked this question before but I have to ask it again.. Just to satisfy my own curiosity: IS STEVE SOBOROFF INSANE? Maybe he just acts that way for mccourt. He is as sad as the ousted owners.

Soboroff sounds bat crazy and totally lacking in knowledge. First, obviously "McCourt is not going to take $150 million, $200, $300 million dollars more out of this thing." That's cause "this thing" is already leveraged to the hilt. But wait - if Frank is able to get the money from Fox, then he plans to take exactly $300 million or $400 million out to settle his divorce! So Soboroff is lying! No commercial banks would give the carpetbagger a loan. Just because Fox is willing to hand him a personal loan in exchange for a cut rate deal on 20 years worth of advertising, further mortgaging and strangling the Dodgers future, doesn't mean MLB has to approve it. Soboroff is not only a liar, but a moron. I'm glad he won't be getting paid in his new role as McGoon's mouthpiece.

Is Soboroff a vodka?

Could be Soboroff is a decent guy and upstanding businessman, but his logic is flawed. That McCourt ALREADY took $100/$150M out of the time is the crime. Would the police, DA, and judge let a car thief have another shot at selling cars AFTER he's already stolen a few and pocketed the cash?

What about restitution? Restoring what he took out?

What about being banned from baseball for life for such action and others?

Besides having to sell the team, these should be the terms.

So Steve, when he's in the Vin Scully press box making these comments, was anybody snickering or just flat-out laughing? And while only the exceptions would believe much of what he's saying, keep in mind that by being just hired to his position and coming by to make such statements during the game - not before or after - he clearly takes focus away from the product on the field.

Aggh! Its about the team, the Dodgers, you idiot. You're getting nothing right. You are entitled to your opinion of frank, but its all about the team, not you, not frank, not anything else.

I have this image of Ned Beatty playing Clyde Torkel from the movie Stroker Ace, holding court in the press box. Torkel was unaware what was going on behind him; me thinks Soboroff, too.

Ok, so McCourt really messed up the Dodgers, made a joke of our beautiful, historic stadium and gave LA another black eye (it's certainly not in the top ten worst things to happen to our city). But all of these issues will be fixed, only Mr Stow will feel lasting effects McCourt (this does rank in the top ten).
HOWEVER, you have to feel bad for him, it's a real life tragedy at middle age.
You lose your investments in your hometown (Boston), you lose your wife to your chofer(!) and no one in your city thinks you have any dignity.
Try to take it easy on him, he's getting enough of his just deserts.

This Soboroff dude is an idiot.

ROTFL. How much is McCourt paying his butt-kisser?

Soboroff should sober up!

Soboroff's comments are not helping McCourt. Keep up the good work. Get McCourt out of town and bring new ownership to the Dodgers. Thank you Bud Selig for taking action.

This Sobor-off dude souds like the reincarnation of the famed "Dodger Boy". Way to go Sober-off.

There are some crafty rhetorical devices at work, here, so don't dismiss this blowhard as an utter idiot.

A few worth noting:

(1) When cornered, make the most radical argument you can, the diametrical opposite of what people are thinking: "LA Needs MORE guys like McCourt!"

(2) Tap into American archetypes.

Innocent until proven guilty: McCourt has been prejudged and sentenced without telling his side of the story.

Fair play: The Mets are a mess, but they haven't been taken over.

Don't blame the victim! & Under the Spell of the Evil Eve & Fall From Grace: The Mrs. & Divorce made him bite that apple. By gosh, he's innocent Adam, not the slithery serpent!

Land of Second Chances: Give him a break. Sure, he was extravagant, but he'll scissor his charge cards! And this time, he means it!

(3) Additional appeals:

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged: Let the Malibu millionaire next door toss the first stone!

To Be Great Is To Be Misunderstood: Frank's a financial genius!

Attack The Motives of the Accuser: Bud is out to get Frank, "To run him out of town on a rail!"

Steve, this is "Spray & Pray" salesmanship at its most shameless. The concept is to throw enough against the wall and some of it has to stick.

In this Hollywood tale, it's fourth and long with McCourt in his own end zone, but this time I wish the character would just hail a cab, and go back to Boston.

He says it like taking 100 + million is no big deal
Come on soboroff!
He did once and he'll do it again

Three questions for Steve:

1) Can you guarantee neither you nor your family will have any financial interests in any development of Dodgers stadium property? If you can't, aren't you just schilling to make a buck?

2) Even if the McCourts should be able to retain the team, should they given the ill will they have generated in Los Angeles, and the fact that a large number of fans are currently no longer attending games and won't until there are new owners?

3) Should the dodgers be run at a payroll less than the Angels, the Phillies, the Rangers, or other smaller market teams? If the McCourts are financially stable, why can't they make the investment in payroll necessary to produce a perennial world series contender?

Given the POWER of Bud Selig as the Commissioner... it sounds like Mr. Soboroff just got the "carpet" pulled from under him... he is sounding like a desperate developer who just got slammed by the "powers that be" c'mom he is obviously on a different planet.. his comments reek of arrogance and he is tarnishing what is left of the Dodgers. Yet, will be rebuilt when a NEW OWNER takes over. Mr. Soboroff go home and let MLB do what it knows best.

"Whether he bought the team for cash, or whether he bought the team for 110% leverage, what he did was double the value of the asset. It's irrelevant to me whether or not he paid cash for the team or was smart enough to get the team for nothing. What happened is, he doubled the value of the team."
Me and you could've owned the Dodgers, sat back, and they would've double in value. McCourt has failed by this metric because the Dodgers should be worth waaaaaaaaaaaay more.

The Yankees are worth $1.7 billion. McCourt, instead of building a team around all this young talent, DID NOTHING. The Dodgers should be worth over $1 billion.

My hat's off to Labeldude and bob cuomo. Fine posts, gentlemen.

These are red letter days, people. Against all odds, Bud Selig's a stand-up guy. Who'd a thunk? It may take a while, but the wheels are in motion. Three cheers for Bud!

This should be a model for other baseball teams."
The only way anybody thinks this way is if he's (a) insane (b) has a vested interest in any other sport or (c) all of the above.

Do the Dodgers higher idiots by the barrel? It seems to me that Soboroff is out-of-touch when it comes to the Dodgers finances. This team is deep into debt yet Soboroff cleverly parried the question by dropping neat little lines like "the team doubled its value". That is wonderful, and all, Steve, but it does not answer how the team plans to escape financial purgatory.

I think what really is driving Selig's take over is the lack of trust in Frank McCourt. Frank's previous spending indiscretions are not being overlooked by the commissioner's office and the deal with Fox to circumvent MLB was the final straw. I am not sure how any of this translates to financial stability but apparently Soboroff is on-board. Perhaps he can man the lifeboat.

Hey SOBER OFF - stop drinking the potato wine and then mouthing off. The last thing Dodger fans want is Frank to take a 3 billion dollar loan from FOX that will fork over a percentage of television and advertising rights and revenue to keep us out of the elite class of baseball for the next 20 years. And to take that three billion and have to pay 500 million to Jamie 500-600 million to get the team out of debt and wait and see how much the IRS is gonna take from him plus hope there aren't more debts and pitfalls which have yet to be uncovered but eventually will.

He doubled the asset of the team by raping the fans and tripling and quadrupling prices and whoring out every section of our beloved Dodger Stadium. It's like a futuristic police state there with flashing lights, digital images around the whole stadium, big menacing cops, annoying blaring rap and rock, even Vin complained yesterday on the broadcast about the trashy music. Frank is a money-burning, self interested sociopath and has been murdering the Dodgers while smiling in our faces.

I'm still boycotting till franks gone. Eli Broad please make Frank an offer he can't refuse.

Frank McCourt is a changed man? Oh yeah, and I have some swampland at the South Pole he might be interested in. Comes with its own parking lot, too.

a lap dog usually obeys his master

Steve Soboroff is out of control. The era of “all press is good press” is long gone. Soboroff's ranting this week created dark clouds that will follow him forever.

Soboroff's rebranding includes:

"The world needs more people like Frank McCourt"

"Let the poor people have the box" (McCourt's seat at Dodger Stadium)

"hiccup" Soboroff's characterization of Frank McCourt's looting of the Dodgers Dream Foundation.

And his bad mouthing of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is certain to put another nail in Frank McCourt's coffin. Out of touch now, Soboroff is performing like the athlete who stuck around a little too long.

Dude, shut up, Soboroff.

Here's a little secret for you PR clowns in the Dodgers org - I'm specifically looking at Steve, Ned, and you, Ratwich. There is NOTHING you guys can say or do to save your jobs. The more you say in defense of your leader, the stupider you sound, and the angrier we get.

Dodgers fans want blood, and Nuremberg has come upon us.

The best thing that happened to the Dodgers is Bud Selig getting rid of Frank McCourt. He's had his opportunities and has ruined them. They should run him out of LA and let Steve Garvey own the Dodgers. He would be a great one.


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