Major League Baseball is taking the unusual step of wresting control of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team recently paralyzed by its owners' bitter divorce. Thank God! A new day for the Dodgers started yesterday. Watch them now go on a long winning strike, unburdened by an owner who was running his team like a bad Denny’s franchise.
I’ve said for many years that you can fire your front office people, managers/coaches, and cut or trade all your players, but what happens when the team’s owner has to go? Examples over the years include the late Georgia Frontiere, (LA Rams); the late Marge Schott (Cincinnati Reds), Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks) and the late George Steinbrenner (NY Yankees.) All of the aforementioned owners ran into their own troubles all on their own—Schott was run out of baseball, Steinbrenner was suspended and Cuban has been fined more than just a few times for his boorish behavior and courtside antics.
Once among baseball's renowned franchises, the Dodgers have been consumed by infighting since Jamie McCourt filed for divorce after 30 years of marriage in October 2009; one week after her husband fired her as the team's chief executive. Frank McCourt accused Jamie of having an affair with her bodyguard-driver and performing poorly at work. It’s a sordid tale of adultery, selfishness and a prime example of the fact that just because some people are rich, it doesn’t logically mean they’re all that smart.
Selig told Frank McCourt he will appoint a trustee to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the club. Frank McCourt, however, has retained Sullivan & Cromwell and was preparing to sue MLB, a baseball executive familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because McCourt had not made any statements.
"I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club," Selig said Wednesday in a statement.
A person familiar with Selig's thinking said the commissioner may choose to force a sale. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because Selig's statement did not mention that.
In December, Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon in Los Angeles invalidated a March 2004 postnuptial agreement giving Frank McCourt sole ownership of the team, allowing Jamie to seek one half of the franchise.
Selig's move came after The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Frank McCourt had arranged a $30 million loan from Fox, the team's television partner. Selig has not approved a $200 million loan from Fox to the club, which was first proposed by the Dodgers last summer, and the Times said the money was needed to make payroll.
"As the 50 percent owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I welcome and support the commissioner's actions to provide the necessary transparency, guidance and direction for the franchise and for Dodgers fans everywhere," Jamie McCourt said in a statement.
Baseball officials could not recall another instance in modern times in which the commissioner's office seized control of a team from its owner. Before Tom Hicks sold the Rangers last year, Selig appointed MLB executive John McHale Jr. to monitor the Rangers but left Hicks in charge of the franchise.
Portions of this article courtesy of LA Times.