The brief and stormy career of Steve Soboroff, would-be Dodgers executive
As great disasters go, it doesn’t exactly rate with the Chicago fire or gulf oil spill or Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl. Heck, for Frank McCourt it won’t even crack his personal top 10.
Still, the brief tenure of Steve Soboroff as the Dodgers vice chairman of whatever, was an unmitigated fiasco for all concerned -- the Dodgers, McCourt and, mostly, Soboroff.
Soboroff tendered his resignation to McCourt Friday, and whether he was actually gently pushed or not I can’t tell you, but it's safe to say it was quickly accepted. Of course, they do have all that experience.
That Soboroff would take his position with the sinking ship that is the Dodgers on April 19 was yet another display of the McCourt’s unfocused desperation, and no doubt the size of Soboroff’s ego.
Soboroff’s timing was remarkable. The day after he was hired, Major League Baseball took control of the Dodgers.
And no doubt as he suggested in his letter, that impeded his ability to do the job he was hired to do, whatever that was (head of security, fan experience, expanding conservation efforts, fixing Juan Uribe’s swing).
Of course, then Soboroff started talking, which became the real problem. Suddenly he was an instant expert on the Dodgers, McCourt, baseball financing, TV rights deals, the commissioner, string theory and whether men really give a flying leap about what kind of shoes women wear.
He said: "Frank McCourt is financially fine."
He called MLB’s takeover of the Dodgers "irresponsible" and said: "We need more people like Frank McCourt."
Later he added: "I think Frank McCourt is a different person now."
He chided MLB monitor Tom Schieffer for going into the Dodgers clubhouse his first day on the job to tell the team his work would not affect them, criticized the hours Schieffer kept, and then in the clincher, ripped Schieffer and MLB when he asked for additional stadium security the day after Osama bin Laden was killed and couldn’t locate him.
Since another team official had reached Schieffer with the request and he approved it within minutes, McCourt had to apologize to MLB.
And remember, Soboroff managed to pull all this off his first 2 1/2 weeks on the job.
Since then, he had become pretty invisible, McCourt finally determining his latest misconceived act of desperation was going to look a lot like the others, if more public.
Soboroff was seldom around the stadium, did little apparent work and went from franchise blowhard to just another of McCourt’s multitude of former executives. Sorry, hardly an exclusive club.
Safe to say, the Dodgers have no plans to fill his position, whatever it was.
His Dodgers experience had to be a real shocker to Soboroff, who has served the Los Angeles community his entire life and was generally well-respected. You can almost manage a tinge of sympathy for him.
But that he attached himself to the current pariah of Los Angeles is nobody’s fault but his own. His self-esteem may have gotten the better of his ambitions.
And like others before, the McCourt debacle got the better of him.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Steve Soboroff. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times