Frank McCourt and the disaster that is Steve Soboroff
Frank McCourt needs to put a leash on Steve Soboroff, or a muzzle. Or give him a pink slip, something at which McCourt has proved very adept.
The more Soboroff talks, the happier you should be he was never elected mayor. He is out of control, mind-boggling, managing to make an incredibly horrid situation worse. Must be a genuine skill.
Soboroff, the Dodgers' new vice chairman of embarrassing comments, was on the job an entire two seconds when he was claiming to know more about baseball financing that Commissioner Bud Selig, who of course, also used to own a team.
He called Major League Baseball's move to take control of the Dodgers "irresponsible," like he would know. He has zero credibility on anything to do with the Dodgers. Understand? Zero.
Now McCourt has had to apologize for Soboroff's latest verbal volley, which he repeated to several media outlets.
He told Yahoo Sports, the New York Times and KPCC-FM (89.3) that he was unable to reach MLB's Dodgers monitor, Tom Schieffer, the night Osama bin Laden was killed to ask for additional stadium security. Soboroff said he did not know how to reach him, so he sent an email to MLB Vice President Rob Manfred, who did not respond.
"So I did it myself," Soboroff told the New York Times' Richard Sandomir. "If I'm fired, so be it."
Said Manfred to Sandomir: "I've never received an email or phone call from Steve Soboroff on security matters."
Turns out, club general counsel Sam Fernandez, who must have known the double-secret handshake and did know how to reach Schieffer, made the request -- and, as Schieffer showed in an email, had it approved within two minutes.
Which forced McCourt to apologize in both a public statement and a phone call to Manfred.
Apparently Soboroff was unimpressed by MLB's effort.
"I'm the head of security," Soboroff told Sandomir. "For them to respond to an attorney is nice, but it was like nothing. They knew I was the one working this."
Sorry, Frank, you just can't wish him away.
Now I suppose Soboroff, who's a developer by trade, actually is the head of security, which would make him the fourth since the Giants fan was brutally beaten on opening day, when the Dodgers had none.
Since then, but only after a media and political outcry, McCourt hired ex-LAPD Chief William J. Bratton as an outside security consultant. By then, of course, current Chief Charlie Beck had been pressured by downtown to take over. Then McCourt hired Soboroff as his grand poo-bah, and finally he got around to actually filling the club's vacant security-chief slot by hiring Rich Wemmer.
Soboroff also complained to KPCC's Larry Mantle that it was "entirely inappropriate" for Schieffer to speak to the players on his first day to assure them his presence would change nothing on the field and that Schieffer and his aides were "going to games [and] coming into the office at noon."
Remember, Soboroff has been a part of baseball an entire 2 1/2 weeks now!
Soboroff can be charming and earnest and has made some wonderful contributions to Los Angeles -- and if you don't believe me, try talking to him for two minutes.
But he's not doing himself, or the Dodgers, any favors. The hire was one more desperate move by McCourt in a vain attempt to rehabilitate his image, and it's blown up in his face. The guy is on a run.
McCourt needs to let the combative Soboroff go, but probably feels he can't. The front-office turnover under McCourt has been stunning and one of MLB's great concerns, and Soboroff is a high-profile hire.
Soboroff should have known better than to sign on. He's not only hooked his pony up to the wrong wagon, but one that's already halfway over the cliff.
McCourt is stuck with him, and if they're going down together, at least Soboroff has provided some comic relief.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Steve Soboroff. Credit: Katie Falkernberg / Los Angeles Times