Frank McCourt and the Dodgers may need a divorce very soon. That would be ironic, since a divorce between McCourt and his wife started the Dodgers’ massive mess. Once the couple – and co-owners – split up, it helped put the team in a big financial hole. Over the last several months, the McCourts have run up a considerable debt that has damaged the team and caused Major League Baseball itself to step in.
Yesterday, the Dodgers officially fell under the protection of the league, as the MLB took over day-to-day operations from McCourt. Eventually, the owner will likely have to give up the team permanently, especially with his alleged $400+ million debt.
McCourt and his wife Jamie have owned the Dodgers since 2004, after buying them from Rupert Murdoch. Things looked to be going well for all involved in 2008, when Los Angeles traded for Manny Ramirez and went to the NLCS. But in October 2009, the beginning of the end came for the current era.
As the Dodgers were headed to their second straight NLCS defeat against the Phillies, the McCourts announced they would get a divorce – with Frank firing Jamie as club president afterward. The subsequent proceedings have come to overshadow all else in Los Angeles, as the team has sunk down in the NL West while the arch-rival Giants are now champions.
The last straw for commissioner Bud Selig may have been when Frank needed a $30 million loan from the Fox network just to meet the payroll. With the MLB now taking over the club, no moves can be made without the league’s permission – although this will likely end when the McCourts finally sell the Dodgers.
But it seems they will remain defiant for now, as vice chairman Steve Soboroff called Selig “irresponsible” and said “more people like Frank McCourt” are needed for baseball. Yet the league, and most of Los Angeles, would beg to differ on that point.
Although the Dodgers are only 9-10 so far this season, the results have been far worse in other areas. Attendance is down, thanks in part to outrage over the McCourts’ actions, while a few fans who did show up on Opening Day beat Giants fan Bryan Stow into a medically induced coma.
Things have been so mismanaged in Los Angeles it almost makes the Mets’ Wilpon brothers look like good owners – and they were associated with Bernie Madoff. But the Dodgers faithful now have more hope that a divorce -amicable or not – is coming soon for McCourt and their beloved team.
CBS Sports- “McCourt’s ouster can’t come soon enough”
Los Angeles Times- “Steve Soboroff defends Dodgers owner: ‘We need more people like Frank McCourt”
ESPN- “The irredeemable Frank McCourt”
San Jose Mercury News- “Attacked Giants fan remains in critical condition”