Reading McCourts profile from 2006 *

* Couple of updates after the jump

Author Pat Jordan's profile of Frank and Jamie McCourt ran in the LAT Magazine and talked about their rough reception in Los Angeles and their marriage, which began with her parents boycotting the wedding over religion — she's Jewish and he's Irish Catholic. Jordan observed that "Frank and Jamie are nice people, they love each other, they love their kids, they love baseball, they love L.A., but none of that much matters, because the McCourts have bungled just about every attempt they've made at communication and public relations. They know that--and, then again, they don't." Some tidbits:

"I'm sooooo happy here!" Jamie McCourt says. "It's sooooo L.A.!"

She's sitting in a booth at the leafy outdoor restaurant of the Hotel Bel-Air on a sunny, late morning. She is a tanned, noticeably thin woman with blond-streaked hair, wearing a fitted, lime-colored sleeveless shift with stiletto heels. Not hot pants, but not the matronly dresses she used to wear in Boston, either, where she lived with her husband, Frank McCourt, a construction and real estate tycoon, before they bought the Los Angeles Dodgers 2{dagger} years ago and moved to L.A., settling into a house in Bel-Air with their sons, ages 24, 23, 19 and 16. Jamie, a quick study, looked around at the L.A. women her age, then got a tan, streaked her brown hair blond and bought some short skirts. Too short at first--and people noticed--but now fashionably short. Jamie isn't the first person to reinvent herself in the Land of Dreams....

At 52, Jamie is girlish, but matronly, too. She says she's a cross between Gloria Steinem and Julia Child. "I'm a chicken soup mom," she explains.

[skip]

Frank and Jamie make a great production of their closeness. They were once caught on television at a Dodger game kissing in the stands.

He's also 52, a trim, handsome man, not unlike Paul Newman in "The Verdict." He has short gray hair, a determined jaw, an Irish tan and the map of County Cork on his face. He can be stubborn. When challenged, he clamps down like a pit bull and refuses to let go...

In Los Angeles, to their great amazement, one's fame is a commodity owned by everyone else. "Part of me still hasn't adjusted to it," Frank says. "Maybe I never will."

It didn't help that their way of dealing with it was to remain silent. Frank's way, in particular, was (and sometimes still is) to ignore problems and forge ahead. When Jamie informed him one day back in Boston that the L.A. press was crucifying them, Frank told her, "I couldn't care less. Stop reading that stuff. It's immaterial. It won't change anything. We'll buy the franchise, fix it, then they'll respect us when they get to know us. It's the substance of who we are that matters."

The simple truth was that "we were naive about maintaining our privacy in L.A.," Jamie says, and about how passionate locals are when it comes to the Dodgers. "People didn't know who these people were who were buying their beloved team. Now that we're integrated into the community they know we're going to stay here. But it was a learning experience."

Also this:

Whenever Jamie speaks publicly or is interviewed by the media, she is accompanied by a Dodger publicist who spends more time urging Jamie to be forthcoming about her life than she does urging Jamie to be reticent. When Jamie was interviewed recently on a radio program, she stayed a few minutes afterward to critique her performance with her publicist. The two women went over what Jamie had said. How much she loved L.A. because it's "the heart of America, the melting pot, a Land of Dreams, with people from every walk of life," and about how much she loved baseball, "the popcorn, the hot dogs, the green fields, the time with family," and, finally, how she couldn't wait for the Dodgers to draw 4 million fans in a year. (Last year, despite 91 losses, the Dodgers drew 3.6 million fans.) What they didn't discuss was one of the interviewer's questions that Jamie didn't like. "That's a loaded question," Jamie had snapped, and refused to answer it.

It's a long piece, and sort of a primer on the McCourts in L.A. I recommend going over to read it. Hat tip to Diamond Leung's blog.

Noted: Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts didn't like the Jordan piece then, and no sooner did I post than a reader remembered Jordan's most impactful Dodgers story: Inside Sports, 1980, "Trouble in Paradise," about the lives of Steve and Cyndy Garvey. The lede: "This is a story about Southern California and baseball, and sex, and fame, and wealth, and beauty, and the American Dream." Columnist Tom Hoffarth remembered last year in the Daily News:

It was about Steve and Cyndi Garvey, and how the Dodgers all-everything first baseman may not have been the all-everything husband to his wife as they lived in Calabasas and tried to put up this facade of everything's all good. Cyndi, the unsatisfied spouse who was co-hosting a local L.A. talk show with Regis Philbin at the time, was the one who really let it all out, which was all on tape, which helped when the Garveys sued Jordan, Inside Sports and parent company Newsweek for $11.2 million in a libel claim that never went to trial.

Garvey, Jordan notes in a Q-and-A at the end of [a later] book, spent $450,000 in legal fees, but all of that was for the public relations spin as they went on talk shows to give "their side" of the story.


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