Many kudos on baseball websites today for blogger Larry Behrendt's detailing of the case against Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, from the interlocking companies that mean the Dodgers now pay rent for their own stadium and parking lots, to the ticket revenue that gets drained elsewhere, to the huge debt and lavish personal spending. Behrendt posted before commissioner Bud Selig stepped in today to nix the deal with Fox. But that's exactly what Behrendt felt Selig must do
Over the next two weeks, Bud Selig will face the defining moment of his career as Commissioner of Major League Baseball....
There is no doubt: Commissioner Selig should reject the Dodgers-Fox contract, seize control of the Dodgers, and sell the team to a responsible owner who will (with the grateful help of millions of my fellow left coasters) restore the team to its former greatness. Selig must act to prevent Frank McCourt from continuing to plunder the team. Selig must act before the team is saddled with even greater debt, while the team’s reputation can still be salvaged and the team is still marketable to a worthy owner....
How much have the McCourts managed to extract from the Dodgers? Well, if we ignore the debt the Dodgers took on so that the McCourts could buy the Dodgers but include the McCourt salaries, the McCourts have withdrawn from the Dodgers anywhere from $109 million (Frank McCourt’s estimate) to $141 million (Jamie McCourt’s estimate). The truth is, the real amount the McCourts plundered from the Dodgers may be more than $141 million – at the moment, all we have to go on is what each McCourt has been willing to admit to.
(In case you were wondering, during their ownership of the Dodgers the McCourts have paid not one penny in income tax.)
It's seemingly over now. There's no rescuing McCourt. The squall of mismanagement will soon swallow his era into a dark and distant memory.
He's out of money. He's out of schemes. He's out of time.
Baseball note: The Society for American Baseball Research, the group that lent its acronym to the term sabermetrics, will hold its annual convention in Long Beach next month. Bob Timmermann sets it up at Native Intelligence.