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Dodgers trustee downplays role with embattled team, wants 'conversation' with McCourt

Tom Schieffer holds a press conference Wednesday at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel.

The man sent by Major League Baseball to oversee the Los Angeles Dodgers used a Thursday morning TV appearance to downplay his role even as the team’s embattled owner vowed to fight outside intervention into the troubled franchise.

“I’m here to try to help,” said trustee Tom Schieffer, the former Texas Rangers president appointed to his new post by baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

In an interview on KTLA Channel 5, Schieffer emphasized he would not make decisions on who would play and where, and that general manager Ned Colletti would perform his duties without interference. But Schieffer also acknowledged that if Colletti wanted to exceed the budget to pursue a player needed for a pennant drive, that move would require his approval.

Schieffer noted that the Texas Rangers also had a league-appointed trustee last year as they were dealing with a bankruptcy. And yet that team still was able to acquire pricey pitcher Cliff Lee in a push that ended with an American League championship.

“Nothing would make us happier than for the Dodgers to be in the World Series,” he said.

On Wednesday, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt defiantly rejected what he said was the league's effort to oust him, a possible prelude to a legal battle over the team.

"Nobody handed the Dodgers to me," McCourt said in a news conference. "Nobody is going to take them away."

Reacting to the McCourt’s tone, Schieffer told KTLA, “I’m sorry to hear him say that, and I hope to have a conversation with him,” adding, “the commissioner felt it was necessary to step in and offer to help … and get the ship right.”

“Mr. McCourt is the owner of the franchise,” Schieffer said. “The organization will do the work.”

Schieffer's main duties will be to monitor and investigate the financial situation “and try to figure out what the problem is.”

The folksy, former ambassador quickly showcased his diplomatic skills: “I walk into situations like this and try to remember that listening is an important thing to do … The Dodger way is professional and it is what made this franchise the premiere franchise that it is.”

“I hope that the fans realize that all of us who love baseball love this franchise,” he said. He credited the Dodgers for changing the face of baseball through such figures as Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. He said he hoped to help “reconnect fans to the franchise.”


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-- Howard Blume

Photo: Tom Schieffer speaks at a news conference Wednesday at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (12)

Nice to see that Tom Schieffer won't let Frank McCourt drag him into the gutter like he did with Steve Soboroff. Already Schieffer reflects a love of the game and a level of integrity completely foreign to the McCourts. He will stay the course.

Go away, Frank

I am boycotting Frankie the Freeloader until he sells the team and I suggest that everyone else do the same...no going to the games, no buying gear, no watching the games on Fox or KCAL...NOTHING!

Now, don't get me wrong..I love my Dodgers....but I don't care if they win a ring this year...I won't follow or watch! Short term pain for hopefully long term benefit..

Oh, and Bud...nice of you to bring in Face The Nation 2...but if you want to really impress me, bring in Mark Cuban to buy the Dodgers...baseball needs some new fresh blood

The Dodgers are back at home tomorrow and I want to see......a sea of empty seats at the Ravine. The BOYCOTT is still on as long as Frank McCourt is still the owner of our beloved franchise. Stay home and watch or listen to Vinny.

I don't trust this guy. I don't trust George Bush. Anyone who gets a medal and a partnership from Bush I don't trust. I don't trust Selig. I don't like McCourt but I'd rather dance with the Devil I know.

Someone tell Schieffer that the problem is McCourt!

No matter What happens with the top management, it will not stop me from rooting my beloved Dodgers. I like Don Mattingly's team at this moment and I believe they can win at least 85 games this year.
Hopefully the circus (McCourt, Selig, etc..) will go away and things go back to normal for Dodgers real soon.

I absolutely LOVE the Dodgers. But the relationship has been one way since Fox purchased the team. Frank has been a hard guy to believe in and since taking over as I have been skeptical of him. Now that he and Jamie are at odds(putting it mildly), they need to do the right thing (yeah right) and let it go.

I think those two will get their money and MLB will see to that, but I'm in full agreement with BUD and MLB that the Dodgers deserve better.

I heard someone on the radio yesterday say that the Dodgers should be the the Yankees of the West Coast. I happen to subscribe to that very idea. Here's my suggestion to MLB and Bud Selig. Get us an owner that has the money and the will to give us what we want. A franchise that is serious about asserting their rightful place amongst baseballs' elite.

Bud, you build it and we will come. Just do it right this time. Oh, and get Fox out of our baseball front office!

I saw on a recent blog how McCourt is standing firm against MLB. Suddenly, he feels he is the only one who can save the Dodgers. He has nearly destroyed this franchise. Now he wants to finish the job. What is wrong with this picture? It's a franchise. The damage he does impacts the rest of the owners as well. He has lost the support of LA, and it didn't occur in the last couple of weeks. He would be well-served to cut a deal for new ownership, and get what little equity he can out of the club. Otherwise, the downhill run just gets steeper.


You know, Frank's got one thing right: No one handed the Dodgers to him. They didn't because they couldn't. The Dodgers aren't anything that someone can just "hand" to someone else. Like any sports team, they were and should remain the fans'. The O'Malleys were custodians; Fox less so. But Frank acts like the team is his, some asset he can grab and milk without consequence. That's what he doesn't get. And his defiance just emphasizes his (and his family's) cluelessness. It's a good thing that he and his sons don't walk around at night in the Stadium Parking Lot. They'd be lucky to end up in a coma.

Frank has tried to steal the team from the fans, and it shouldn't be surprising that those fans are very, very upset with him for that.

Now if Schieffer can get Loney to start hitting and Brox to stop blowing saves, that would be a miracle.


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