Not a great day for Frank McCourt to be feeling the love from the media.
Reaction to Commissioner Bud Selig's turning down McCourt’s TV deal was unanimous. As in unanimously bad.
-- The Times’ Bill Plaschke writes that it is over for McCourt, that Major League Baseball simply doesn’t trust him. And why would it?
-- The Times’ T.J. Simers writes McCourt has taken all the joy out of watching the Dodgers.
-- The Times’ Bill Shaikin and David Wharton cover the news angle and writes the next big news day could come when the next team payroll is due June 30.
-- USA Today’s David Leon Moore writes of the sadness in the Dodger Stadium stands as attendance shrinks over displeasure at the McCourt ownership.
-- ESPN/LA’s Tony Jackson writes that it’s time for McCourt to step aside.
-- Steve Garvey, who somehow remains employed by McCourt despite his efforts to buy the team, in a video tells Fox Sports Mark Kriegel that owning the Dodgers just may be his destiny.
Steve Dilbeck and The Times' Dodgers reporters
give you all the news on the boys in blue
Not a great day for Frank McCourt to be feeling the love from the media.
So the Wizard of Oz has been identified, and it turns out it’s a former President George W. Bush crony and past president of the Texas Rangers.
What does it mean?
I would so love to tell you exactly what to make of Commissioner Bud Selig’s appointment of Tom Schieffer as the Dodgers grand overseer -- or Wizard of Oz, as Frank McCourt’s new front man, Steve Soboroff called him.
Alas, I’ve never met him and claim no personal insight. I have pored over just about every word written about him on the Web since he took the position Monday, and can tell you he mostly earned very strong reviews.
The Times' Bill Shaikin and Scott Gold report that although Schieffer’s official title is actually the almost humorous "monitor" -- making you picture the high school administrator patrolling the halls in search of truant troublemakers -- he will act as the team’s de facto president.
What’s important to keep in mind is Schieffer is not taking up permanent residence in Chavez Ravine. He’s an executive temp. Here to examine the club financing, give direction and add stability. Remember, there has been no true club president since McCourt pushed Dennis Mannion out last October.
The Times’ Bill Plaschke said Schieffer’s charge is not about meddling with the team on the field: "He is not here to restrain Ned Colletti, he is here to handcuff Frank McCourt.’’
Seems there was some Dodgers news to discuss this morning:
-- The Times’ Bill Shaikin and David Wharton cover the news story that Major League Baseball has taken control of the Dodgers away from Frank McCourt.
-- The Times’ Shaikin also writes that the transfer to a new owner may take longer than you would like.
-- The Times’ Bill Plaschke says Commissioner Bud Selig should get kudos for his bold move.
--The Times' T.J. Simers writes that it's time to celebrate.
-- The Times’ Dylan Hernandez reports that Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp want to remain Dodgers, regardless of how ownership shakes down.
-- The Times’ Jim Peltz talks to fans at Dodger Stadium, who admit to being shocked but believe it was time for a change.
-- Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown says McCourt now has a choice to make but should be aware of the way his luck has been running.
Writes Brown: "Dig a pothole in the middle of your street, fill it with sewer water, and within hours Frank McCourt would walk along and step in it."
-- In a video, the Associated Press’ Ron Blum tries to break down what happened.
As you would expect, plenty of coverage of the Dodgers' 2-1 season-opening victory over the Giants:
-- The Times' Dylan Hernandez writes that Clayton Kershaw may have pulled off a coming-of-age performance in dominating the Giants. Plus pregame video of fans' expectations for the coming season.
-- The Times' Bill Plaschke says that, at least for a day, everything fell into place for the Dodgers.
-- The Times' T.J. Simers is all excited about the opening victory, sort of.
-- The Times' Bill Shaikin reports that the ballyhooed banner flown over Dodger Stadium by Giants fans failed to make a splash.
-- Sadly, The Times also reports that three Giants fans were attacked in the stadium parking lot after the game, one sustaining critical injuries. Scary how the brain-dead walk among us.
-- ESPN's Molly Knight asks fans for their advice for battered Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
-- ESPN's Jim Caple says that's what an opening day should feel like.
-- ESPN/L.A.'s Ramona Shelbourne says Matt Kemp's opener was a good first step but that he has a lot more to do to reestablish himself as one of the game's brightest young stars.
-- The Daily News' Tom Hoffarth takes in opening day by examining that new Doyer Dog, now available for only $8.
-- Hoffarth also returns to asking other broadcasters what they learned from listening to Vin Scully.
-- The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore says a return to form by Jonathan Broxton is most pivotal to a Dodgers comeback this season.
-- MLB.com's Barry Bloom says Don Mattingly’s debut as a manager was just about perfect.
-- Dodgers.com's Ken Gurnick says Vicente Padilla is recovering nicely from February arm surgery.
-- Paul Oberjuergue says he feels oddly liberated by not pulling for the Dodgers as long as McCourt owns the team.
-- Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi is feeling just fine about picking the Dodgers to win the National league West.
-- CBS Sports' Scott Miller says the shaky defense that proved the Giants' undoing might not be a one-game problem.
-- LA Dodger Talk's Mark Timmons says no one should still be reluctant to call Kershaw an ace.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who turned 23 on March 19, makes his first opening-day start for the Dodgers. Credit: Christina House / For The Times
What a difference a day makes -- or does it?
News that a Tuesday court ruling by Judge Scott Gordon invalidated the disputed agreement between Frank and Jamie McCourt that would have given Frank sole ownership of the Dodgers brought a flurry of media reaction.
Now, if you were hoping that would clear everything up, your familiarity with America’s legal system is on the weak side.
Opinions were everywhere, though the one thing they all seemed to agree on was that nothing definitive is going to be happening soon:
-- The Times’ Bill Plaschke is convinced that the judge’s decision ultimately means the McCourts will be forced to sell. Yeah, he thinks that’s a very good thing.
-- The Times’ T.J. Simers takes an amusing look at what it all means via his questions, including: "Where's the best place at Dodger Stadium to erect the statue of Judge Scott Gordon?"
-- The Times’ Dylan Hernandez has general manager Ned Colletti claiming the ruling will have no impact on how he goes about his job.
-- The Times’ Bill Shaikin offers a question-and-answer look at what the ruling means.
-- Sportsbybrooks.com doubts that Commissioner Bud Selig will use the "best interest of baseball" clause to step in and seize control of the Dodgers.
-- Yahoosports.com’s Tim Brown thinks the ruling means little but more future rulings.
-- ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelbourne is pained that Frank and Jamie simply can’t put their egos aside and come together to end this mess.
-- Newhanonbaseball.com’s Ross Newhan said there are groups patiently waiting to see if the McCourts will be forced to sell, one led by Dennis Gilbert, another by Steve Garvey. That would be the same Garvey who was in serious financial trouble a few years back.
-- Oberjuerge.com’s Paul Oberjuerge said he would be thrilled if any breathing person would buy the club from the McCourts, including Donald Sterling and Paris Hilton.
Meanwhile, there is other Dodgers news coming from the winter meetings:
-- Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Mariano Duncan, not brought back by the Dodgers as their first base coach, is regretfully moving on, and expected to become the hitting coach for the Cubs’ double-A club in Tennessee.
-- ESPN Los Angeles' Tony Jackson writes the Dodgers have signed outfielder Trent Oeltjen to a minor-league contract that includes an invite to spring training. He was one of the players the Dodgers non-tendered last week.
-- VinScullyismyhomeboy.com’s Robert Baly offers a photo spread of Clayton Kerhaw’s wedding last week.
-- TrueBlueLA.com’s Brandon Lennox takes a look at Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, and doesn’t expect any Dodger to be selected.
-- Steve Dilbeck
OK, it’s a continuing theme, albeit a two-day theme.
Yet it bears repeating, unfortunately. Two Los Angeles-area baseball teams, both suffering a disappointing season and now heading into the offseason from opposite directions.
The Angels have a mandate to return to their winning ways. Owner Arte Moreno told The Times’ Bill Plaschke he was angry over the team’s play and would spend what it takes to return his team to the postseason.
"If you want to continue to perform at the highest level, you have to keep building the business," Moreno said. "And that's what I intend to do."
What a concept. A team with commitment. A team with a plan.
This was in stark contrast to a story the previous day in The Times from T.J. Simers, chronicling how uncertain things are with the Dodgers’ offseason plans.
I almost felt sorry for Ned Colletti as Simers asked him about his ability to spend in the offseason, and the general manager was forced into a lot of I-don’t-know-yet responses about the Dodgers' financial resources.
One team is immediately letting it be known it will do whatever it takes to return to the top. The other is still foundering.
"We know where our weaknesses are, we know where we are thin, we know where we have to go to market," Moreno said. "It's going to cost money, but our fans need to know what we're committed to winning."
Also out there on the Web:
-- ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark's always entertaining season review has Dodger John Lindsey in the Debut of the Year. After waiting 16 years in the minors, Lindsey never actually played in his first official game.
-- The New York Times’ Dave Anderson talks to pitcher Carl Erskine on the 55th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers finally beating the Yankees for their first World Series title.
-- SportsIllustrated.com’s Jon Heyman has a list of the 38 potential new managers to be hired his offseason and at No.1 is Joe Torre. Checking in at No. 26 is Tim Wallach, who Heyman said reportedly turned down an opportunity to interview in Toronto.
-- Congratulations to Kirk Gibson signing for two years with the Diamondbacks. Should be fun. Gibson told the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro he wants the team to improve in a variety of areas, from picking off opposing base-runners to deking defenders, and somehow transitioned into wanting his pitchers to be able to show bunt before pulling back to slash.
"If Todd Helton wants to come charging in there, he better be ready to hit the deck," Gibson said. "That's what I'm talking about."
-- Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth has served Frank and Jamie McCourt with a class-action divorce from the fans, demanding full custody of the Dodgers. Good stuff.
-- ESPN/LA.com’s Jon Weisman has teamed up with his staff’s creative people to offer a series of online postseason Dodgers baseball cards.
-- According to MLBtraderumors.com, the Dodgers will have the 16th pick in the June draft, one spot ahead of the Angels. Got ’em there!
-- The Riverside Press-Enterprise’s David Lassen warns that retooling the Dodgers will be a serious challenge, with Colletti saying there won’t be major roster revisions.
-- SportsIllustrated.com’s Joe Posnanski offers a terrific look at Vin Scully. Really well done.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Love, love, love. … Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game. It's easy.
Then again, maybe not. Not even when everybody claims to have the same interest in mind -- making Matt Kemp the best player he can be.
Still, Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, went off on the Dodgers’ coaches in a column by The Times' Bill Plaschke, saying he was tired of them criticizing the outfielder and that it felt like "open season on Matt."
This was a curious reaction, and bit of odd timing on Stewart’s part. Understand, it's his job is to look out for his client, to support him, coddle him if necessary, and get him the biggest, fattest contract possible.
Stewart was upset with Dodgers coaches Bob Schaefer and Larry Bowa for ripping Kemp in the media this season. Which was interesting since Schaefer has never never publicly criticized Kemp. And Bowa has once, two weeks ago, to Times columnist T.J. Simers, saying that Kemp doesn’t always play hard. To which Kemp completely agreed.
For a couple so concerned about their image that they went through public relations types like most people go through socks, The Times’ T.J. Simers finds the McCourts' willingness to publicly trash each other astonishing.
Of course, this being Simers -- and Frank and Jamie McCourt -- he finds a lot of what they do astounding.
Simers takes a look at the coming trial and its potential impact on ownership, the team, management and the broadcasting booth.
-- In case you missed The Times’ Bill Shaikin’s latest piece on the McCourts’ divorce proceedings, here's his piece from Saturday on the couple at least attempting to settle before going to trial but remaining far apart on judging the team's value.
-- Shortstop Rafael Furcal is headed to the disabled list with his strained lower back, reports The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. Juan Castro is expected to replace him on the roster.
-- Zack Lee, the Dodgers’ No.1 draft pick in camp as a quarterback at LSU, told the TheNewsStar.com that he hasn’t talked to the Dodgers since the June draft and is proceeding with plans to be with the Tigers.
"I haven't really heard anything from them [the Dodgers]," Lee said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm here to stay until something else happens. And I don't really see it happening."
The deadline to sign this year’s draft picks is Aug. 17.
-- Dodgers.mlb.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that three specialists agree that surgery for catcher Russell Martin’s broken hip is not necessary, at least for the next three weeks.
Martin is now expected to be on crutches for four weeks, and then reevaluated.
-- Times columnist Bill Plaschke profiles Tommy Lasorda's undying commitment to the Dodgers.
-- ESPNla.com’s Jon Weisman writes that if Joe Torre retires at the end of the season, he will be remembered much more as a baseball manager than a Dodgers manager.
-- The Riverside Press-Enterprise’s Gregg Patton thinks the newfound strength of the Dodgers’ rotation still gives the club a chance at a playoff berth.
-- Dodgerdugout.com’s Robert Timm wonders if reports the Dodgers have some interest in signing Jose Guillen means they’re not figuring on the return of Manny Ramirez.
-- TrueBlueLa.com’s David Young examines the Dodgers’ success and failure on their recent East Coast trips.
-- Steve Dilbeck