Dodger Red

Major League Baseball took over the financial operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers today. In other words, they’ve been Expoed. Apparently, it was revealed during the McCourts’ divorce proceedings that Frank McCourt borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars against the team, and he can’t pay up — so the team is nearly bankrupt. Now, I hate the Dodgers as much as any team not based out of New York or Philadelphia, but even I’m willing to admit that this kind of thing is really bad for the sport, and the real problem is that it’s not even an isolated incident — the Mets ownership’s days are numbered as a result of their complicity in the Madoff scandal.

It seems like Seligula’s regime can’t stand to go more than a couple of years without a major PR scandal. This is the ideal time for MLB to make up some of the ground it’s lost in the public conscience in recent years — with steroids mostly scrubbed out of the game, more parity and exciting young talent than at any time in recent memory, and relative labor peace at a period where the NFL and NBA are looking at lockouts, this should have been a golden age for the sport — but having two of its biggest franchises admit to criminal malfeasance isn’t going to help that along. It’s one thing for a small-market, fringe-contender-at-best team to become a ward of the state, and quite another for historic franchises in baseball’s biggest markets. You have to figure that the Dodgers and Mets are just the biggest fish here, too — how many other owners are keeping shady dealings and massive debt out of the press? Seligula’s management style seems to be to let owners go their own way unless they start causing public problems for the league, but that’s not going to work any more. Ownership groups need to be steady and stable. There’s no way that a business as profitable as your average major league team should be teetering on the verge of bankruptcy — and it’s the commissioner’s job to make sure that things never get that far. But no, Seligula’s too busy trying to extort public financing for new stadiums and adding more playoff rounds to police his lackeys in ownership.

I’ll say this — there’s a lot to complain about having distant corporate ownership, but the Braves are one of the very few teams in the league right now with no debt. Having a $120 million payroll would be exciting, but if it means an owner who treats the team like his own personal vanity project, I’m not sure I’m willing to make the trade. Absentee ownership isn’t so bad.


1 Response to “Dodger Red”

  1. 1 Jimmy April 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I remember before the McCourts bought the Dodgers. TJ Simers (an LA Times columnist) complained that they (Frank McCourt)didn’t really have the money to run the team properly.

    I love Dodger Stadium (though not really the Dodgers) and it’s rough to see them pull in only 20 some thousand fans a game.

    Baseball needs to make up a bit in popularity; and you’re right, the Dodgers and Mets aren’t helping.

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