*Did anyone see the Dodgers takeover coming?

Steve Soboroff sure didn't. Hired just yesterday as the team's vice chairman, the L.A. businessman had told reporters that McCourt's financial situation was not a threat to his ownership. "It's a nonissue," Soboroff said (via the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:) "I can read a bank statement, an income statement. Beyond that, I looked at assets and liabilities, and there's not a question in my mind. Yes, Frank McCourt is financially fine." City Controller Wendy Greuel said she spoke to Soboroff, earlier today and was given no hint that Major League Baseball was about to take action. No comment so far from Mayor Villaraigosa's office, which suggests that City Hall was caught off guard as well. Other officials are expressing shock and sadness at the MLB action. But L.A. Chamber President Gary Toebben said the takeover might be for the best, given the ongoing soap opera that has revolved around McCourt. His estranged wife Jamie, who claims to be co-owner of the team, said, "I welcome and support the commissioner's actions to provide the necessary transparency, guidance and direction for the franchise."

*Meanwhile, the WSJ reports that the league could be running the Dodgers indefinitely as Commissioner Bud Selig conducts an investigation to determine if McCourt is fit to own the team. That could take months. MLB officials would obviously love to resolve this mess well before then, preferably by McCourt selling the franchise.

*ESPN's David Schoenfield asks a bunch of reasonable questions:

1. If McCourt does sue MLB, as he's reportedly threatening to do, what does that mean?

2. Will MLB eventually force McCourt to sell the team?

3. Will the Dodgers be allowed to make any trades or take on salary?

4. If the Dodgers are fighting for a playoff spot (or dumping payroll) how does an MLB executive make a deal that won't potentially upset another franchise? Will the executive running the team be allowed to operate independently of the other 29 ownership groups? (This was the case when MLB ran the Nationals.)

5. How much more money will the Dodgers need to borrow to meet payroll? (McCourt borrowed $30 million from Fox last week to meet payroll obligations.)

6. How does all this affect the players? A lot of reports from last season indicated the divorce negatively affected the team.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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