Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig made an announcement today that his office will assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt. The news was expected, as McCourt needed a loan from Fox Sports last week to meet his team’s payroll for April and May.
The official statement from Selig is below:
“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. The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”
The “deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers” may be thanks to the divorce that took place between McCourt and his former wife Jamie after 30 years of marriage in October of 2009. The divorce was a messy one that led to a long struggle between the two individuals for ownership rights to the team. The news of the divorce spun throughout the media with fans clearly being upset over the matter, as McCourt has raised ticket and concession prices every year since purchasing the team from NewsCorp in 2004 for $430 million.
Another incident that could have contributed to MLB’s decision was the Dodgers’ Dream Foundation scandal that took place in 2010, which revealed the $400,000 per year salary of the charity’s CEO Howard Sunkin was almost a quarter of the foundation’s entire budget. The investigation into the matter is still ongoing.
Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman via Twitter hears that McCourt intends to fight MLB over the decision, but I would assume with his current financial issues, as well as mismanagement of the franchise, the fight would be a useless one.
The Selig statement notes that “I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.” The decision to appoint this representative may have to wait in case McCourt does take legal action against MLB for making this decision.
One positive that Dodgers fans can take from a messy ownership situation such as this is that if MLB does assume control of the team they will presumably take the time and use the finances necessary to fix the situation. The Dodgers franchise is legendary and far too important to the sport of baseball to see someone such as McCourt continue to increase prices and possibly watch as fans turn their heads on the team.
Published by Suite 101