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.
Yikes, Dodgers go young: Call up Dee Gordon, keep Jerry Sands as Jay Gibbons, Juan Castro designated for assignment
Even as the Dodgers activated two players older than 30 Monday, they managed to get younger with a series of stunning moves.
Suddenly, this is not the same Dodgers organization you’ve known the last two seasons. Kids were everywhere.
On Monday the Dodgers elected to keep rookie outfielder Jerry Sands and designate veteran Jay Gibbons for assignment, while calling up shortstop prospect Dee Gordon and also designating veteran infielder Juan Castro.
Busy on the roster front, as expected they also activated infielder Juan Uribe, outfielder Marcus Thames and reliever Blake Hawksworth.
Then they optioned infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr.and right-hander John Ely back to triple-A.
If you were screaming for the Dodgers to go with youth, Monday was your big day.
Gordon has been one of their top prospects for the last couple of years. The rail-thin infielder has zero power but is lightning fast. At triple-A Albuquerque, he was batting .315 with 22 steals in 25 attempts. His glove work, however has been suspect.
Still, the Dodgers did not bring Gordon up to sit him. With Rafael Furcal again on the disabled list, he figures to see his share of starting time at shortstop. Monday against the Phillies, however, they continued to start Jamey Carroll at short and Aaron Miles at second.
Uribe was back in the lineup at second, Thames in left (and batting third) and Sands in right for Andre Ethier against the left-handed Cliff Lee.
The Dodgers had agonized over whether to return Sands to Albuquerque. Sands has not been the sensation some hoped for but has shown promise (.210 average, two homers, 17 RBI, 10 doubles in 119 at-bats) and now figures to get a prolonged chance to stick.
After a comeback year at Albuquerque in 2010, Gibbons, 34, struggled with vision problems this year. He was hitting .255 with one homer and five RBI in 55 at-bats.
Castro, who turns 39 later this month, had two hits in 14 at-bats and was an emergency fill-in. He was reliable with the glove and a classy guy to have in the clubhouse, but this may end his career.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers rookie Jerry Sands in congratulated by third baseman Casey Blake after throwing out a Cubs baserunner earlier this season. Credit: Charles Cherney / Associated Press
Hershiser (pictured at left) said he believed his experience as an ESPN analyst and as a former player, coach and executive in the major leagues could help the investment group that Garvey is trying to assemble. Hershiser declined to talk specifically about the Dodgers and said he had not considered pursuing ownership of a professional sports team until Garvey contacted him.
"This is not something I've sat back and thought a lot about," Hershiser said. "It is something people dream about."
Hershiser's interest was first reported by the Los Angeles Daily News on Sunday.
It is uncertain whether Garvey has the financial backing to mount a serious bid. Garvey said in April that billionaire Ron Burkle had joined the investment group, but a person familiar with the discussions subsequently said the billionaire met with Garvey but made no firm commitment to him. It is not known whether the parties have renewed discussions since then, and Garvey has declined to identify other potential investors.
Hershiser referred inquiries about Burkle to Garvey, who did not return a message Sunday. However, Hershiser said he thinks there are more than enough legitimate investors behind the potential bid.
"I think we will be oversubscribed," he said. "They definitely have the financial wherewithal to do it."
[Updated, 3:32 p.m.: In a telephone interview later Sunday, Garvey conceded that he has no formal agreement with Burkle. Garvey said he believes his group could finance a bid even without Burkle but said he has talked with the billionaire and hopes to have him on board if and when the Dodgers go up for sale.
"We'd love to have him," Garvey said.]
In 1988, the last year the Dodgers won the World Series, Hershiser won the Cy Young Award and most-valuable-player honors in the National League Championship Series and the World Series. He won 23 games that season, a total exceeded in Los Angeles history only by Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has scrambled to make payroll this season. If he misses payroll -- the next one is due June 15 -- Major League Baseball could pay the salaries, seize the team and put it up for sale. Also, McCourt's ex-wife, Jamie, has asked the judge overseeing the couple's divorce to order an immediate sale of the team, and a hearing on her request is set for June 22.
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images
Ethier continued his hot hitting Sunday, albeit initially with an infield single off the glove of first baseman Carlos Pena in the first inning, but it drove in the first of five runs to open the game as the Dodgers dropped the Cubs, 7-3, behind a strong outing by Hiroki Kuroda.
The infield hit extended Ethier’s career-high hitting streak to 21 games, surpassing Garvey’s previous club record for April of 20. Next up is Torre’s major-league record of 22 for April set in 1972.
First a would-be Dodgers owner, then a former Dodgers manager. Ethier doesn’t fear going after the big fish. Ethier later added a second hit in the ninth.
The last Dodger with a 21-game hitting streak was Nomar Garciaparra in 2006.
Steve Garvey is currently in the employ of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, working as a member of his marketing and communications department. Mostly he makes appearances at community and corporate functions.
Garvey, however, has bigger things on his Dodgers mind than acting like some Las Vegas greeter. He has the biggest of things. He has the whole thing.
Garvey has said he has put together a group that wants to buy the Dodgers, which is curious on three levels: 1) His own sketchy financial past; 2) He currently works for McCourt; 3) The Dodgers are not for sale.
The last probably requires the addendum, "not yet anyway.''
Major League Baseball taking control of the Dodgers away from the financially strapped McCourt has everyone assuming -- hoping -- this will lead to their sale.
And Garvey wants in. Now at first blush it might be easy to dismiss this. Garvey has had serious financial problems in the past. And he’s been talking about having a group to buy some baseball team for more than 20 years.
He had a group that wanted to purchase the Padres in 1986 -- while he was still their first baseman. The next year he said that group, minus himself, was interested in buying the Seattle Mariners. It got to the point where Commissioner Bart Giamatti had to ask him to zip it.
Now, though, comes a bit of news that could alter the entire Garvey-wants-to-buy-a-team-again routine. The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports that Garvey has teamed up with billionaire Ron Burkle in an investment group that would like to purchase the Dodgers.
This, is they say, is a game-changer. Burkle is reportedly worth more than $3 billion, which would immediately put him at the head of the list of potential owners with serious moola. Not that he’d be alone. Shaikin said billionaires Alan Casden and Alec Gores are also preparing bids.
They don’t, of course, have one of the most popular Dodgers of all-time heading their group. Not that we know of, anyway.
Garvey told Shaikin he would be the managing general partner of his group, otherwise known as the guy who runs the team. Then he might get a little more choosey about where to make those public appearances.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photos: (Top) Billionaire Ron Burkle. Credit: Andrew McPherson. (Bottom) Former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey. Credit: Los Angeles Times.