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Like this image: Judge is fed up and wants to get on with it

September 30, 2011 |  4:38 pm

Frank3 I’m fighting the image: Bud Selig with an oversized boxing glove standing over a fallen Frank McCourt, glaring like Muhammad Ali over Sonny Liston, daring him to get up.

I’m not doing a very good job of it, but I am trying. Because it seems like we’ve been at these semi-decisive moments so many times before –- McCourt struggling to make payroll, Major League Baseball seizing team control, Frank and Jamie McCourt reaching a bogus settlement, Frank McCourt taking the Dodgers into bankruptcy -– that it’s hard to believe an actual end might be in sight.

It was only three days ago that I wrote: It’s never going to end!

At that point, Major League Baseball was asking the bankruptcy court to put the team up for sale, and McCourt was asking for two extra months of discovery because he wanted to look at the books of the other 29 clubs.

Now the one thing I think we can take out of Friday’s news that bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross has scheduled a four-day hearing beginning on Halloween and ruled McCourt will not be allowed to investigate the finances of the other teams and put Selig on trial, is this: Gross is as fed up with this judicial marathon as the rest of us.

He understands Selig and McCourt don’t like each other, is tired of the name-calling and the legal posing. Enough with all this bunkum; let’s get on with it.

Great, now I have another image to battle: Gross going all Howard Beale on us, screaming: "I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore."

A new baseball season is calling. As The Times’ Bill Shaikin wrote: The judge said he intended "a prompt disposition of the key issues" so that the Dodgers management could "utilize the approaching off season to prepare for the 2012 season."

That sounds so good. It remains hard to believe, but it sure sounds better than we’re going to open up the books of the other 29 teams and see what we find. If McCourt was hoping that would scare some other owners and they would pressure Selig to settle, there goes that card.

Gross also wrote in his Friday ruling that a "prompt hearing will enable the court to maintain control over the parties whose animus toward one another could result in unnecessary, spiraling and excessive litigiousness which would become increasingly challenging to disentangle."

Seems late to worry about "excessive litigiousness," but the judge understands it could always get worse. And he seems to recognize the need for resolution.

"There is no middle ground for a decision," Gross wrote. A knockout for one party.

Since every decision he’s made has sided with MLB, this doesn’t bode well for McCourt. None of it ever did, of course, and that’s never stopped him. Just like Liston, though, one day he won’t get up. And just maybe, that day comes in November.

That's my last image: McCourt is out of here.


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times