November 11th, 2011
The long Dodgers ordeal is finally over! Dodgers fans rejoice as Frank McCourt finally agrees to sell the team. A Los Angeles Times columnist wrote, “This is a swell day for Los Angeles. I don’t know who will step up and buy this team, but whoever it is can’t do worse. You could grab anyone off the street and get better results.”
The names of potential suitors are now sprouting for this mottled franchise some of which include the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban who tried to buy the Texas Rangers last year; a former player agent Dennis Gilbert, who was an early bidder for the Rangers; and Alan Casden, a real estate investor who lost the bidding in 2003 to McCourt.
Frank McCourt, a land developer, bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $430 million with his wife, Jamie in late 2003, after failed attempts to buy his hometown Boston Red Sox and the Anaheim Angels.
McCourt turned out to be a troublesome owner who took the team on an odd odyssey and tested the loyalty of its fans. Commissioner Bud Selig, who was enraged by McCourt, invoked the “best interests of baseball” in an attempt to get McCourt to sell. The team was bought completely with debt and some help by Fox; still more debt was added to it by McCourt as the years passed.
At present with an angry battle with Major League Baseball and angry divorce in his list of follies, McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers during a meeting in his lawyer’s offices in Manhattan. The process will be supervised by a federal bankruptcy court judge.
There have been federal investigations against McCourt, suggesting that his troubles may have extended beyond baseball. The investigators have been interviewing Dodger employees and have subpoenaed financial records from both the team and Major League baseball as part of an inquiry into McCourt’s financial dealings. What exactly the authorities are seeking to determine is not certain, but during the McCourt’s’ divorce case it emerged that the couple had not paid taxes for a number of years, probably leading to their marital struggles and the impending bankruptcy of McCourt.
September 29th, 2011
Uncertainty is plaguing the Los Angeles Dodgers now. MLB is now looking for the team to be on sale. This is a cumulative effect of many problems that the team owner Frank McCourt has been having on the financial front. The Major League Baseball’s attorneys asked the Delaware bankruptcy judge to make way for the teams sale. The League has put the blame on McCourts destructive tactics.
Team vs League
As everyone and their uncle know, Frank McCourt has encountered some financial problems and has taken some decisions without a consultation with the League. This could have serious effects on the team’s future and existence in the League.
It is alleged that he has used the team’s Chapter 11 case to lighten the burden of his financial problems. He has stripped the team of its revenue sources. The last nail on the coffin was when he sought to auction off the team’s television rights without the league’s approval. If this has gone ahead the team’s finances would have reached a dead-end. It would be topped off by a sure expulsion from the League.
The league’s Attorneys however put an end to the sale of television rights and came up with the solution of selling the team as this could solve many issues without affecting the team’s existence. Frank McCourt could get a part of the sale and the team will have some benefits also.
However, the proposed sale could bring other problems in its wake. For instance, the contract between the Dodgers and Fox sports will be breached if the sale happens.
Now it has also become a clash between the Dodgers and the League regarding the television rights auction. The questions that need to be answered is whether is it possible to change the League’s constitution to deal with bankruptcy issues. Anyway, let us wait until Oct 12 for the hearing that is the crucial decider.
September 22nd, 2011
Could it get any worse for baseball? And it definitely isn’t getting any better for Frank McCourt. The number of those who are backing Frank McCourt is fast dwindling. The first partner to back McCourt was Fox and possibly the last too. Fox had sold him Dodgers and financed almost half of the purchase. It also advanced him $25 million to bail him out of trouble, not to forget a $30 million personal loan and to top it all up, a $3 billion TV rights offer to help him keep the team.
And McCourt does not seem to be welling up in gratitude.
Look at this. Fox has the TV rights deal now and it runs for another 2 years. The contract that Fox has drawn up with McCourt also specifies a 45 day window next year to exclusively renegotiate the next contract. But McCourt wants money NOW and he has approached the court to void the Dodgers’ existing contract with Fox and also approve him to resell TV rights this fall. He also wants the rights to be auctioned off if he is unable to reach an agreement with Fox.
It doesn’t look like McCourt is going to have any partners to rely on in the future, looking at how he is shafting Fox, which had supported him through all the bleak years. But then McCourt is known for his financial blunders, this should not be too surprising.
This is a completely desperate move, there is no doubt about that. Fox aren’t going to sit tight, are they? They will sue for damages if Dodgers exit the contract prematurely.
Also it is not easy to feel sympathetic towards Fox which has foisted McCourt on Dodgers from the very beginning. But the days of mutual support by McCourt and Fox are over.
September 1st, 2011
Andre Ethier, with his grand slam, sealed the San Diego Padres fate. Dodgers won 8-5. Ethier had been having some trouble with his right knee for a few days now, but one thing is clear, his knee still lets him drive the ball with the bases fully loaded. This win is the seventh one for Dodgers in eight games.
Ethier’s grand slam is even sweeter because since May last year, there has been a big controversy on whether he should continue playing on his injured knee. He was 3 for 4 consecutively for the second game on Tuesday night. The grand slam was on the first pitch from Anthony Bass, who was the reliever for Stauffer.
Overall, the Dodgers received 12 walks and it was the most since they had 14 walks in 1999 against the Atlanta Braves.
Kuroda gave a single to Jason Barlett, a double to Guzman, a three run home run to Blanks, and a home run to Orlando Hudson. Still, Kuroda has matched his major league season high that was set last year. Kuroda himself expressed some disappointment that he was not able to pitch as well as he ought to have, considering the kind of run support he had.
Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra pitched scoreless innings. Jansen has now thrown 3 scoreless innings since he got out of the disabled list in August. Matt Kemp also played brilliantly in the 4th inning.
This season, the Dodgers have scored 520 runs. They also allowed 518. This is the first time that they have had a positive run differential since the second game of the season.
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August 11th, 2011
Should the Dodgers go up for sale, Magic Johnson would like to be its new owner, as the legendary basketball player admitted to a Loyola Marymount University audience. Johnson was all praise about the Dodgers brand and said that the organization already has an owner. He said that the Dodgers brand is amazing.
Magic Johnson had sold his stake in the Los Angeles Lakers about a year ago and has been trying to get the NFL back to Los Angeles. As such, having Magic Johnson as the owner of Dodgers, if it ever happens, may not be such a bad thing for the team because Johnson is known for his business savvy.
He will be a lot better than Frank McCourt who has made Dodgers just an asset that must be fought over a divorce custody battle. Baseball fans are not sympathetic to Frank McCourt, not at all. Mismanagement of the team has put it in such a perilous position that it is difficult to meet players’ payroll this season. Even with Matt Kemp putting up some brilliant performances, attendance is down.
There is an expectation that McCourt will soon be out and the Dodgers will need a new owner. Someone who is passionate and committed to bringing Dodgers back to the days of glory. Could Magic Johnson be the man? Some magic will do the Dodgers no harm. Johnson could very well be the touch of magic that the Dodgers seem to so desperately need.
July 5th, 2011
The Los Angeles Dodgers have always been one of the most celebrated sports franchises of all times. They have won 21 national League pennants and six World Series, but of late, the Dodgers have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
After McCourt filed for bankruptcy last week, Dodgers have become just about whether McCourt will be able to retain his ownership over the team in his divorce settlement. Seriously! What has come of the game, and the fantastic team? Now they are in the midst of a divorce settlement battle, and for sports fans the world over, this is sacrilege.
The McCourts have been making headlines this past year ever since they have been laundering their dirty linen in public. Almost every detail of their 30 year old marriage is now public knowledge. Jamie McCourt, the ex-wife of Frank McCourt, wants their homes as well as Dodgers. But Frank is willing to let go of the homes and not the Dodgers.
The Dodgers do not deserve this turn of affairs. They have had an amazing history. Think back to the time when Kirk Gibson, the 1988 MVP entered the game against Dennis Eckersley, the future Hall of Famer. Gibson had injured both of his legs, but hit a home run that gave Dodgers an early advantage. The Dodgers did not have to look back after that.
And yet, this is the very same team that is looking for MLB’s assistance to help make payroll.
Matt Kemp is playing so well this season that he could be MVP if he keeps this up. Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier are also both having a solid season. But their achievements are not being highlighted due to the divorce battle trouble that Dodgers have found themselves in. Kemp, Kershaw and Ethier are going to be very expensive in the future.
Mismanagement by McCourt has cost the Dodgers dearly.
June 28th, 2011
So yes, the Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has filed for bankruptcy. What does this mean for the Dodgers and how will MLB react to this?
Franck McCourt will be asking the judge to allow for interim financing to pay immediate bills including the payroll. McCourt has managed to procure a $150 million loan at 10% interest and a hefty fee. Out of this, he will ask the court to approve $60 million. What the MLB can do is to provide alternative financing at terms that are favorable. If the judge feels that the terms proposed by MLB are favorable for the creditors, McCourt will lose control of the team.
Commissioner Bud Selig has the right to revoke the ownership if the owner files for bankruptcy. After the bankruptcy judge’s hearing, Selig may take that step which means that McCourt will lose ownership.
The court will try and ensure that the creditors are paid. The MLB says that it is up to them to decide who should own the teams and approve television contract approvals. The main point that McCourt is likely to raise during the hearing is that the reason why the Dodgers is in a spot now is because Selig had not approved a television contract with Fox.
If McCourt persuades the judge to auction the television rights for Dodgers, Fox will either end up opposing MLB because they had not approved the contract in the first place, or lose the contract to someone else.
Had McCourt not filed for bankruptcy now, Selig could have seized control of the team and also sold it. Let us also not forget Jamie McCourt’s contention that she owns half of Dodgers. Will the divorce court decide in her favor about an asset whose ownership is currently in question?
There are many questions for which the answers will be revealed in the coming days.