Question of the Day: Does Bud Selig owe Frank McCourt a meeting?
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig should meet with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Bud Selig isn’t ducking Frank McCourt. He’s tried to help him more than any other owner since McCourt joined baseball’s ownership fraternity, speaking with him as recently as two weeks ago.
But by embarrassing Selig and his fellow owners, and failing to comply with MLB’s rules on a ratio of debts to equity, McCourt has put himself on the other side of the table.
He’s now in a position of negotiating with MLB, not working alongside MLB, and when you negotiate with MLB you do your legwork in meetings with Selig’s top staffers before sitting down with the commissioner. That’s just how it’s done.
He will get his meeting with Selig. But not before a lot more due diligence has been done on the situation, and the further MLB officials dig, the worse the situation stinks.
It’s time to go quietly, trying to save an ounce or two of dignity on the way out.
Is this a trick question?
Theoretically, Bud Selig is employed by the 30 owners to oversee the central management of Major League Baseball, so it seems obvious that one of those owners would be entitled to a face-to-face meeting after the commissioner ordered a takeover of his business operation.
The fact that Selig did not attend a meeting between McCourt and MLB officials appears to be an indication of just how much McCourt's reckless behavior has rankled his fellow owners.
Nevertheless, he is one of those owners and he paid a tremendous amount of money for the right to dismantle the once-proud Dodgers franchise. He claims to be in a position to solve all the team's financial problems with a new long-term TV deal with Fox, but it appears that Selig is stalling that deal in an attempt to force the sale of the team to more responsible owners.
Mike Berardino, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Almost a decade ago, Bud Selig pulled all the strings behind the scenes and helped orchestrate the wild franchise swap that delivered John Henry to Boston, Jeffrey Loria to South Florida and the Montreal Expos into the hands of Major League Baseball.
Now, a week after taking over day-to-day operations of the highly dysfunctional Dodgers, Selig won’t return Frank McCourt’s phone calls?
At least that’s McCourt’s contention, delivered in an extraordinary 45-minute news conference on Wednesday.
“I suspect the commissioner calls the other 29 owners back when they call,” McCourt told reporters.
Probably so, but how many of those owners have turned their franchise into a ridiculous clown show? How many are threatening legal action against MLB?
How much credibility does McCourt have left after mortgaging the future of one of the game’s flagship holdings to help him navigate a messy divorce?
Where have you gone, Peter O’Malley? Please return to Chavez Ravine ASAP.
Photo: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, left, talks with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt while attending the Baseball Urban Youth Academy opening ceremony in Compton on Feb. 28, 2006. Credit: Ric Francis / Associated Press