Friday, April 22, 2011

MLB Takes Over Dodgers (and that's a good thing)

This week, baseball commissioner Bud Selig took the extraordinary step of wresting control of the Los Angeles Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt. In an April 20th press release Selig issued the following statement:

"Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. 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, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

"The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."

This is a huge deal.

McCourt is in the midst of a fierce divorce battle which has put a spotlight on his financial woes and threatens the stability of the Dodgers. He recently turned to Fox Sports for a $200m loan which Selig vetoed. Last week he managed to borrow $30m from Fox to cover payroll and other expenses. Personally, I think this prompted Selig to act against the Dodgers owner, who unlike the Wilpon family who own the New York Mets--and whose own financial mess led them to borrow $25m from MLB this past November in order to meet payroll--McCourt went outside baseball to obtain that money and Selig may have feared the Dodgers could end up in the hands personas non gratas to MLB. Imagine, if you will, McCourt missing a couple of payments on a loan obtained from shady characters and losing the team to them; Selig and the other owners would have a conniption to say the least.

I have my issues with Selig, but at first glance I agree with his decision regarding the Dodgers. (And I am not alone: in L.A. he's been hailed a hero for doing so, believe it or not.) Granted, there is more info to surface concerning this mess to be sure. I also think this is a wake up call for the Wilpons. As my Dad used to say, "When you see your neighbor being shaved, it's time to lather up." We'll see how this one pans out, but at least for now Selig has taken a solid step towards correcting a screwup he helped initiate by ushering McCourt into MLB ownership and turning a blind eye to his subsequent financial shenanigans.

No comments:

Post a Comment