Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.
But what he was really saying was:
I told you not to take loans with the team’s television rights acting as collateral and borrowing $30 million from FOX looks a little too fishy for me to sit idly by while you use the baseball team to make up for your own financial shortcomings.
Sports Illustrated’s John Heyman nicely sums up some of the more disastrous elements of McCourt’s time in charge:
Between the publicity surrounding a stormy seven-year reign as owner and a divorce trial that exposed many more embarrassing details, there isn’t much to recommend McCourt keeping the team. At this point, we know he was overleveraged from the start, used Dodger money to fund a lavish lifestyle, utilized extensive tax loopholes, employed overt nepotism (their son Drew was paid a several-hundred-thousand dollar salary although his presence around the Dodgers seemed minimal), fostered incredible instability in the front office by constantly hiring and firing public relations people and other top executives and paid their buddy Howard Suskin one-fourth the entire budget of a charitable organization. The most serious error, though, at present must be considered the ongoing security issue. When Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten to a pulp at Dodger Stadium (Stow remains in critical condition with brain damage) on March 31, McCourt employed no head of security.
While McCourt’s days as the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be close to an end, it may mean more hardships in the short term, but a brighter future.
So what does this mean? It’s too soon to say, but my initial feeling is it’s bad news short term, but great news long term. If anything, it’s a step towards getting the criminal’s name off the letterhead. And an excuse for me to re-use the “McCourt gets a message” photoshop I did a few months ago.
From Hardball Talk:
However this shakes out, it’s hard to see how this isn’t the beginning of the end of Frank McCourt’s disastrous reign as the owner of the Dodgers. And while it may be painful for the team and its fans to go through this in the interim, baseball stepping in and relieving McCourt of command is a good thing in the long term for the franchise.