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What becomes of Frank McCourt after selling the Dodgers?

November 1, 2011 | 10:57 am

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I feel like that long-bearded cartoon character standing on a street corner with the sign that reads, "The End Is Near!"

Only in this case, you hope that Frank and Jamie McCourts’ troubled Dodgers saga truly is nearing its end after The Times’ Bill Shaikin reported that Frank is finally nearing a bankruptcy agreement with Major League Baseball to sell the team.

I’ll pause here for the requisite sigh.

Two bloody years after the McCourts announced their divorce, Frank is apparently close to facing the music that has been blaring so loudly for so long, it left you wonder if he hadn’t gone completely deaf.

Why he did not identify this inevitable end at least a year ago is not easy to fathom. I asked someone in his inner circle back in April why he couldn't recognize the outcome that surely awaited and just sell the Dodgers, and he said: "What else is he going to do?"

What does become of McCourt once he finally sells the team?

The team is his only true source of income. Nearly his only business. He’s only 58 years old. Doubt that he’s ready to fade away, particularly under this dark cloud.

He still owns the L.A. Marathon, but his only real expertise has been in developing parking lots. And as Shaikin reports, it’s possible he could come away from the sale with precious little capital.

Jamie is first in line after finally agreeing to a divorce settlement that calls for her to receive $130 million. Turns out, she may have been better off losing her battle to own half the team and reach a financial settlement since Frank could end up with less after the sale.

Jamie finally seemed worn down by the whole belabored process and wanted an end to it. Why Frank has apparently reached a decision to sell now is less clear, though it could be all about the numbers. The divorce agreement calls for him to sell the team by next spring if he has yet to pay Jamie her $130 mil.

And it could be that finally somebody said to him what others have been telling him along: He can’t win and is better off selling. And he actually listened. As Shaikin said, it’s like a new batting coach telling a hitter the same thing he’s heard before. Sometimes it just takes a new voice.

There’s a major lawsuit ahead against the firm that bungled his post-marital agreement.  And the suit against him from the Bryan Stow family. And knowing litigious McCourt, more lawsuits could await.

It’s not like he’s going to sell the team tomorrow and just disappear. Yet, with sympathy or not, you have to wonder what becomes of Frank McCourt after the sell-off. Because this time, really, the end is near?

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in 2006. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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