Frank McCourt may not know it yet, but he is no longer the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.His name may still be on the front office door, but as they proved yesterday, Major League Baseball is calling the shots.
Give it up, Frank.
Here is the BEST case scenario for McCourt:
He sues MLB and Selig. He holds the parking lots at Dodger Stadium hostage, infuriating the league and fans. He somehow doesn’t go broke fighting the years-long legal battle, at the end of which a judge rules that (despite the “best interests of baseball” clause in the MLB Constitution) the league improperly took over his team.
He is reinstated as owner. MLB grudgingly allows the TV deal from FOX to go through. Another divorce judge rules that the team he co-owned with his wife in a community property state belongs entirely to him. He pays his wife $100 million and business as usual resumes at Chavez Ravine.
Now even assuming that all those improbable outcomes happen, what has he got left? The Dodgers are still losing games and money. His debt is out of control. He can’t get a loan from MLB or a bank. His fans hate him. His players hate him (cause he can’t give any of them a raise.) The team continues to flounder under uncertain ownership. Attendance slips even further, driving down the value of everything he owns. Oh, and all other 29 MLB owners hate his guts for embarrassing them, wasting their money, and generally being a pain in the butt.
Congrats, you’re the king of an angry, disgruntled, and flat broke kingdom.
The more likely scenario is that MLB wins any legal challenge – their rules make it pretty clear that the Commish can do what he wants, when he wants – his clock gets cleaned in the divorce, and he ends up with nothing. If he’s VERY lucky, MLB will take those parking lots off his hands for a tidy profit and he ends up breaking even on this whole ridiculous ordeal.
McCourt must realise this soap opera can only end with him not owning the Dodgers, yet he seems determined to fight back out of spite. Or perhaps some misguided effort to wring every last penny out of this baseball team before he goes. There’s no positive outcome for him, so why shouldn’t he take everyone down with him?
There’s still a chance for this to end gracefully, Frank. Turn the team over to MLB, so they can arrange for a better owner to buy you out. You’ll lose most of the proceeds to your ex-wife, but at least you can save some measure of face and possibly have a future career in sports ownership somewhere along the way.
Or remain the most hated man in baseball (for the moment.) Unfortunately, we know what choice he’ll probably make.
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