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Bud Selig on selling Dodgers to Frank McCourt: 'There were no other bidders'

Photo: Bud Selig and Frank McCourt in 2006. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images And that's how you get stuck with an owner who doesn't have the financial wherewithal to run a team.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who has been largely silent about baseball's takeover of the Dodgers, opened up ever so slightly on a New York radio show.

Asked by WEPN-AM's Mike Lupica on Monday why Major League Baseball allowed Frank McCourt to purchase the Dodgers in the first place back in 2004, Selig said:

"There's a lot of history here, which a lot of people don't seem to understand. There were two other bidders. Fox was anxious to get rid of the team. They were all really anxious. I'll tell you what happened. There were a couple of groups, one group led by Dave Checketts and another group.

"And for whatever reason, [the Checketts group wasn't] around at the end, so Fox sold the club to the McCourts and presented them to us. So this idea that we ought to examine ourselves -- there was nobody else. We have a long relationship with Fox. There were no other bidders."

Also, Selig again refused to compare the Dodgers' economic plight to that of the Mets, who are looking for a partner who would buy a minority interest in the club. Mets owner Fred Wilpon is facing a lawsuit stemming from his involvement in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme that could cost the team an estimated $1 billion.

"There are enormous complexities in both deals," Selig said. "I've read all these stories that say 'Well, they're really essentially the same.' They're far from the same. Without going into details that haven't been announced, Fred Wilpon and I have been friends for a long time, and I have enormous respect and affection for him.

"But Fred Wilpon is doing what he should do. He's looking for an economic mechanism that will bring equity into the club: sheer raw cash to put it in the most candid way. That alone is a huge difference. There are a million of other differences.

"To compare one situation to the other is factually incorrect. I've talked to Fred a lot about it, and I feel very comfortable that we're gonna have a very reasoned economic solution to that problem as opposed to another."

During his infamous New York news conference, McCourt blasted Selig's decision to take control of his franchise, calling the decision "un-American."

"I guess I've been commissioner so long, so I'm used to most everything," Selig said. "I'm cautious. I like consensus. I like to be very deliberative.

"My job is to protect the best interest of this sport, so when I do something, it is with the firm knowledge and understanding that I'm doing what I think is in the best interest of baseball."

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Bud Selig and Frank McCourt in 2006. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (16)

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Ultimately, the blame for this absolute disaster rests with the incompetent Selig, no matter how he tries to spin it or spout damage control. He and MLB need to rectify this FAST, and it never, EVER should have happened.

If there were TWO other bidders, doesn't that make 3? And when one dropped out, doesn't that leave 2? So how could Frank be the only bidder?
What worries me - the double standard for Wilpon because he's Bud's friend. Somehow Frank's going to exploit that in court.

In buds defense there were no other bidders that were making it interesting. 2nd bidders were to low, so fox went with mccourt and presented them. So if bud can succeed in removing mccourt, I nominate him fo Man of the Year.

hey bud,

the question really is:

did McCrook have the solid financial foundation back in 2004 to warrant approval of Fox's sale to him? Did you not see any financial shortfalls with Frank who financed the deal with little to no of his own money?

Fox was anxious to get rid of the team. They were all really anxious.... Well too darn bad, you wait until you get an ownership group that meets the standards for MLB ownership. You dont let Fox pressure you to approve idiots like this. And dont let Fox or Disney ever own another team

Very Poor decision Bud

Does Fox run baseball and the commissioner's office?
You don't sell assets to those who can't afford them just to make a certain group happy in the short term at the detriment of everybody else in the long term.
We proved that.

The idea was that McCourt was going to pay off whatever debt he had. Yes, it's true, McCourt had no money when he purchased the team, but they (MLB) never thought McCourt was going to start spending money, not on the team, but on a lavish lifestyle. McCourt, instead of paying debt, went into further debt. If McCourt spends on players, instead of mansions, and puts money back into the team, then he isn't having MLB in his house going through his finances wondering why this guy is $500 million in debt. The fact he borrowed an additional $30 million dollars just to make payroll at the beginning of the year is gross negligence of finances. Hopefully, MLB can fix what they ultimately damaged by letting McCourt become owner of the Dodgers.

Mccourt! Why are you still here? You don't belong in L.A.

And this is why we don't want McCourt to solve his debt problems by running back to Fox. They helped launch this screwup. Do we really want him beholden to them again? Look at how they blackmailed Vero Beach, forcing the city to buy the entire Dodgers complex at taxpayers expense and lease it to Fox for a dollar, or Fox would pull the Dodgers out of Dodgertown!

Oh, right, Frank renegged on that contract.

Labeldude ---

It wouldn't matter to a court if Bud blew Wilpon every time they met, and wouldn't Frank. Each case rests on its own exclusive merits. If McCourt did not follow the abc's of keeping his team solvent, duh, then he didn't. If the rules McCourt signed onto state he can't miss payroll or MLB can seize the team like any overarching legal construct can seize and cause forfeiture of any franchise, then they can, period. If they do, the merits of McCourt's case is not impacted in any way by the merits of Wilpon's situation.

iow, if a murderer says you gotta let me go, judge, the cop watched another guy murder someone right next to where i killed a guy, and let him go. The judge would say, That's a different case. Maybe the family of the other dead guy will sue the cop. That will be decided then. You killed, this is your case, ergo you have lost the Dodgers.

The Brian Stow situation could play further into McCourt's loss of the franchise. If his family sues McCourt and MLB, the latter could strip the former of his team for gross negligence of fan safety on team property as party to that case all by itself.

Frank McBankrupt personifies everything wrong with the past decade or easy credit.

He got the Dodgers with a zero down loan, used it as an ATM to fund a lavish lifestyle, and when the debt comes due, he whines and complains for a bailout from Fox.

This guy is a loser on so many levels.

The Mets and Dodgers are made a bad investment....the other specifically took 140 million dollars out of a team to finance a lifestyle they could not afford...and after MLB gets done with them the IRS is gonna have a field day asking why no taxes were paid on that 140 million dollars of INCOME to the McCrooks.

The Dodgers are desperately sending out special ticket offers trying to get fans to come out. Please do not be tempted, hold out for a new owner. If you buy a ticket, you are helping this crook keep OUR team!

Don't stop, Bud. All Dodgers fan are supporting you. Save baseball in L.A.

Is it possible for this mess to get any messier?

Some high-ranking Dodger employee who has been part and parcel to everything with all this--should write a book about this whole fiasco...I'd LOVE to read it. Be a very long book though.

And maybe throw in a few pics of the missus and the limo driver for good measure...gotta be a bunch of those hanging around the steno pool, no?

I agree with ya Ebbets. It would be a fascinating read. Better than Moneyball, which was a fine read in and of itself. More deceit and treachery!


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