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Category: Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt: Fans speak out on plan to sell the Dodgers

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In case you went to bed early and missed the news or, for some reason, you don't read our Dodgers blog, you may not know that Frank McCourt has agreed to sell the Dodgers.

But a lot of your fellow Dodgers fans have chimed in already with their thoughts. A sampling is below. What do you think? Let us know.

slomo1 at 7:14 AM said: Can't you hear "Dandy Don" Meredith now singing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over"...! And all of Los Angeles said, "AMEN!"

eas211 at 7:13 AM said: What I would like to see, once this is done, or even maybe once bids have been received, is for Frank to hold a press conference and hear what he has to say. Hopefully now that it is over for him he will somehow be honest and let everyone know just exactly what he was thinking.  i guess maybe i'm looking for a mea culpa? 

DontEatTheYellowSnow at 6:30 AM said: Frank is not selling because it's the 'right' thing to do, Frank is selling because he's back so far into the proverbal corner, he honestly has no way out… Bring on Mark Cuban.

California Sun at 5:42 AM said: Mccourt should look back, and realize, he blew it.  He could have lived well and built a strong franchise.  Instead he trashed the brand, and he will be lucky to leave with anything.

tede511 at 11:59 PM: Yes, there is a Santa Claus.

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Frank McCourt agrees to sell Dodgers

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Mark Cuban offered to buy Dodgers, but price was too high

Matt Kemp leads trio of Dodgers awarded Gold Gloves

--Houston Mitchell

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig mum on McCourt case

Selig-mccourt

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig declined to say Thursday whether he believes Jamie McCourt’s decision to relinquish full control of the Dodgers to her former husband Frank would speed resolution of a dispute that saw Selig take control of the franchise last spring.

“I don’t have a comment on it,” he said. “You know we’re in litigation and I prefer to not comment.”

Selig is expected to testify when hearings over McCourt’s bankruptcy case begin later this month in Delaware.

Selig made his first public appearance at the World Series to help present Boston slugger David Ortiz with the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball's most presitigious public service prize.

Ortiz was recognized for his work with children in the U.S., Dominican Republic and Haiti, including the raising of funds to provide access to critical pediatric care.

Ortiz is the second Red Sox to win the award in as many years, following pitcher Tim Wakefield. Ortiz is also the sixth Latin American player to be honored in the 39 years since the award was named for Clemente, the first Latin American voted into the Hall of Fame.

RELATED:

Jamie McCourt's legacy: one of taking and not giving

Divorce settlement solves one problem for Frank McCourt

Frank and Jamie McCourt reach settlement involving Dodgers

 -- Kevin Baxter, reporting from St. Louis

Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt can now focus his attention on Commissioner Bud Selig and the bankruptcy case. Credit: Los Angeles Times and Associated Press

Magic Johnson on ownership of the Dodgers and an NFL team

Magic Johnson, the Lakers' Hall of Famer and an entrepreneur, sat down with Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke for a one-on-one conversation about things past and present.

Without further adieu, take a listen to what the legendary playmaker had to say about the Dodgers' current ownership situation (above) and about his interest in an NFL team playing in Los Angeles (below).

Magic's biggest prediction? An NFL team for L.A. within two years. And he'd be interested in owning a piece of the Dodgers.

-- Dan Loumena

Some sympathy for Dodgers fans -- from Boston?

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Should anyone outside of Los Angeles feel sorry for Dodgers fans who've had to go through the McCourt ownership-divorce-bankruptcy saga?

Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan thinks so.

Despite the bad blood that often exists between Los Angeles and Boston sports fans thanks to the heated Lakers-Celtics rivalry, Ryan says Bostonians should feel some sympathy for Dodgers fans. After all, the McCourts could have been Boston's problem if MLB Commissioner Bud Selig didn't prevent Frank from buying the Red Sox a decade ago.

It's worth a read if you're looking for some outside perspective on what's happening with the team. And it also makes you question (once again) why did Selig allow McCourt to buy the Dodgers in a leveraged deal financed mostly by debt?

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Dodgers bankruptcy lawyers to put Bud Selig under oath

Bankruptcy judge sets 10 hearings in Dodgers case

Bankruptcy filing changes the playing field for Frank McCourt's struggle with MLB

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: Dodgers fans watch batting practice at Target Field in Minneapolis prior to the start of Monday's interleague game between the Dodgers and Twins. Credit: Eric Miller / Reuters

Bud Selig rejects deal between Dodgers and Fox Sports

Fabforum 

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejected a proposed television contract between the Dodgers and Fox Sports, invalidating a divorce settlement between Frank and Jamie McCourt and all but challenging Frank McCourt to surrender the team or sue.

Selig rejected the contract on the first business day after the McCourts announced a settlement contingent upon approval of that contract.

Selig did not strip Frank McCourt of ownership of the Dodgers. But McCourt has said for months that approval of the Fox contract was critical for the Dodgers' financial health.

 You can read the entire story here.

RELATED:

MLB statement on Dodgers-Fox deal

Frank and Jamie McCourt talk Dodgers future, divorce settlement

PHOTOS: The Dodgers and the McCourts

Photo: Bud Selig. Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press.

Question of the Day: Does Bud Selig owe Frank McCourt a meeting?

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 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.

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Question of the Day: Who would make a good trustee to take over the running of the Dodgers? [Updated]

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Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on who should run the Dodgers now that Major League Baseball has taken control. Check back throughout the day and feel free to leave a response of your own.

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

If the goal is to restore the integrity and tradition of the Dodger brand, there’s no one better suited to do that then the man whose family instilled those things in the franchise in the first place: former owner Peter O’Malley.

The Dodgers personified class and dignity under the O’Malley family’s leadership, building a strong bond with the community and the team’s legions of fans -- things that must now be rebuilt. Plus, O’Malley has the experience and the knowledge to run a baseball team, since he’s already done that.

O’Malley’s one flaw may be the fact that he’s a really nice guy -– perhaps too nice for the trench warfare that Frank McCourt appears to be preparing for. So for Plan B, how about the Terminator, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fiscal conservative known for rooting out wasteful spending?

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Poll: Which McCourt, Jamie or Frank, would you have ruled in favor of in Dodgers case?

Now that a judge has ruled in Jamie McCourt's favor in throwing out a 2004 marital agreement with ex-husband Frank McCourt that would have left her without an ownership share in the Dodgers,  L.A. baseball fans are sure to have plenty to say about it.

So let's hear it. Do you agree with the judge's decision in favor of Jamie? Or should Frank have been granted sole possession of the team? Which decision would have been best for the Dodgers?

Vote in the poll and leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.

-- Chuck Schilken

Ponikarovsky helps Kings "recover," but will he help them move forward?

The Kings pursued Ilya Kovalchuk and were beaten out by the New Jersey Devils, though his contract was rejected by the NHL and is headed to an arbitration hearing that could put him back on the free-agent market.

The Kings made no offer to retain Alexander Frolov until they became desperate for goals and sniffed around him last week only to lose him to a one-year, $3-million contract with the New York Rangers. “Not an irrational response,” Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi acknowledged.

And so Plan C — as in “consolation” — came to pass Tuesday when the Kings signed left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky for one year at $3 million plus a $200,000 signing bonus.

This is a lateral step and not a leap forward, an emergence from limbo to grab the best second-tier player available and compensate for losing the frustrating but undeniably talented Frolov and his two 30-goal seasons.

Ponikarovsky, 30, has scored more than 20 goals in four of the last five seasons for some bad Toronto Maple Leafs teams. But given a reprieve when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trading deadline, he didn’t distinguish himself, scoring two goals in 16 regular-season games and one goal in 11 playoff games.

He’s not awful. You don’t score 20 goals in the NHL by being incompetent. Inconsistent? Yes. He scored six goals in 15 games in January and only two in his final 21 games.

Soft? So his reputation says despite his 6-foot-4, 220-pound build. But Lombardi likes his size enough to have pursued him at the trade deadline — and considered Ponikarovsky the best consolation prize 27 days into a free-agent market that was thin on forwards to begin with.

“So much time and energy went into this Kovalchuk thing that you’re exposed. Because it dragged on for so long and arguably has continued to drag on, we weren’t addressing other needs. It was impossible anyway,” Lombardi said. “And then you get into the problem that we are in a free-agency mode and everything is tied to this guy that you’re clearly telling the marketplace that everybody else is second fiddle.”

He said the Kings had “recovered” from losing Frolov by signing Ponikarovsky.

“Bringing back that M.O. was critical because the Kovalchuk thing was too much of an all-or-nothing scenario and I don’t think that was where we need to be,” Lombardi said.

“The loss of Frolov, that’s a hole. So you look at Fro and maybe he could have done more things but he’s still a good player. I wanted to bring back a player of that caliber and quite frankly it was only Fro and Ponikarovsky and that was it. There was a drop-off there in terms of getting size. . . .

“I think the deal works. It’s a one-year deal. If he performs we can extend him. And he should be motivated.”

Lombardi sees him as a support player who will help the core young players continue to progress.
“Those kids took a step and they need to take another step. But I don’t want to make the framework around them less,” he said. “We lost Frolov, [Randy] Jones, [Sean] O’Donnell. So the goal is to put around these kids a framework that still allows them to be successful but as I’ve always said, ‘It’s your team. Take control of this team,’ as they started to do last year.”

Lombardi said he’s not done yet. Adding a defenseman to replace O’Donnell and Jones is likely but the replacements could be determined by competition during training camp among the Kings’ defense prospects. If no one stands out, he might have to make a trade.

“It’s safe to say that I am looking at one other thing I’d like to try and do. However, our fall-back position is if we don’t find what I’m looking for I feel a lot better that we got at least the forward because I don’t see an option on the forward,” he said.

“Whether Ponikarovsky or Frolov, that was the first most important piece to me. I am looking at something but I don’t feel the urgency I felt because of looking at our reserve list where, you say, ‘Oh, that element isn’t there.’ ”

If the still-unscheduled arbitration hearing before the still-unchosen arbitrator puts Kovalchuk back on the market the Kings can pursue him and use some of the $13 million in salary cap space they have for next season. Their offer of $80 million over 15 years might have been approved because it didn’t taper off at the end as drastically as the Devils’ offer, which would have paid Kovalchuk $550,000 for each of the last five years.

In the meantime they have Ponikarovsky, a likable guy who said he feels comfortable here because he has family in Los Angeles. He said he’s happy to help on the power-play and penalty-killing units and is eager to use his size and creativity to boost the Kings’ production.

“I know they have a pretty young and fast and exciting team,” he said. “It’s a nice mix and I’m just going to try to bring my game and help the team win.”

And see if he can become more valuable than the usual consolation prize.
 

--Helene Elliott

World Cup: Red card referees will have charge of first U.S. and Mexico games

Red-card-photo_300 In keeping with FIFA's bizarre policy of assigning referees from obscure countries to officiate high-profile matches, Ravshan Irmatov of Uzbekistan has been chosen to referee Friday's World Cup opening match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

Irmatov, 32, was named the best referee in Asia in 2008 and 2009 and officiated at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada as well as at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2003, 2007 and 2009. An instructor at a soccer school in Tashkent, he has been a FIFA referee since 2003.

Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic will have good reason to remember Irmatov, who ejected him during Manchester United's victory over Liga de Quito of Ecuador in the final of the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. Irmatov was one of 16 referees assigned to first-round matches.

Saturday's game between the United States and England in Rustenburg will be refereed by Carlos Simon of Brazil. The 44-year-old officiated at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and controversially tossed Sweden's Teddy Lucic out of a 2006 second-round game against Germany and then grinned while showing Lucic the red card.

Lucic's foul on Germany striker Miroslav Klose was nothing more than a shirt-tug, but German players surrounded Simon, holding up imaginary cards, and the referee seemingly capitulated. The second yellow card meant expulsion for Lucic, and Germany ended up advancing to the quarterfinals and eventually finished third. In three games in 2006, Simon issued 17 cards, or almost six per game. It would be wise, in other words, if U.S. and English players did their homework on Simon before Saturday's match in Rustenburg.

-- Grahame L. Jones reporting from Johannesburg

Photo: Referee Carlos Simon sends off Sweden's Teddy Lucic during a 2006 World Cup game against Germany.

Ted Green: For the Dodgers, it's always a matter of money

Frank On Friday, a Superior Court judge with a more superior grasp of math than you and I possess ordered Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to pay his estranged wife, Jamie, $637,159 a month in temporary spousal support, plus lawyers' fees, pending their bitter divorce.

That's like $7.5 million a year. Just about what you'd pay a real good frontline pitcher, isn't it?

I know.  The Dodgers insist, swear like Tommy Lasorda, that the money being discussed in the Divorce From Hell is totally separate from the money used to run the baseball team.

"The Dodgers are not Frank McCourt's personal piggy bank," his lawyer says. So that's what they tell us and that's what we're supposed to believe.

Ahh, but if you're really True Blue, don't you suspect with more than average conviction that the Dodgers' failure to spend one red penny on pitching during the off-season is somehow connected to funds being tied up in the McCourts' big breakup?

I admit, I have no idea know how much Jamie McCourt needs to pay mortgages on seven houses plus an eighth piece of property in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I wouldn't know what to do with seven houses, especially when the one perfectly good house we already have luckily has a laundry room and swimming pool, not requiring me to go someplace else to swim or wash my gym shorts. But, hey, homes are expensive, especially when they're in Malibu and Holmby Hills.

However, I do know by cleverly looking it up on MLB.com that the Dodgers are currently 26th out of 30 major league teams in staff earned-run average, with an ERA over five runs a game. Only four teams are worse, one of them being the Angels, keeping bad pitching in Los Angeles-area family. 

I'm guessing the Dodgers didn't spend on upgrading their wobbly starting pitching because Frank McCourt correctly figured the fans would give him a freebie this season, more placidly accept an off year or even two because, after all, the team did win the N.L. West the last two seasons, reaching baseball's final four, buying Frank a year or two, you would think, to fail on the field.

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