Friday, June 17, 2011

Selig needs to put the McCourts out of their misery

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times is reporting Frank and Jamie McCourt have come to a settlement in their divorce proceedings.

Good news, right? Well, maybe.

The settlement is based on Frank winning two additional court decisions.
"The settlement is contingent upon Major League Baseball's approval of a long-term television contract that has been reached between the Dodgers and Fox. If Commissioner Bud Selig were to reject the agreement, the settlement would be voided and the parties would resume proceedings in divorce court."
The TV deal with Fox calls for Frank to take out yet another loan -- like the loan he took out when he purchased the team in 2004. He'd borrow $385 million from Fox ($235 million for the Dodgers, $80 million for debt) and would regain control of the team.

Many who cover this call the approval a longshot and, as Molly Knight of ESPN said, this doesn't change the fact that Frank might not make the June 30 payroll.

Which leads me to one Allan Huber "Bud" Selig.

Mr. Selig, this is a plea from myself and every other sane, rational Dodger fan out there: Do the right thing and do not approve this deal. You screwed the Dodgers over by letting a man who couldn't afford the team buy it on credit seven years ago.

While there have been four playoff appearances and two trips to the National League Championship Series, the McCourts have been the butt of every cheapskate joke imaginable. This man is not fit to own the iconic franchise that is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ever since Day One, he didn't exude the confidence, the demeanor or the attitude of an owner. He's run this proud franchise into the ground and is living on borrowed time (baseball-wise). It's time for you to step up and do what needs to be done -- for the Dodgers' sake and Major League Baseball's sake.

At this point, it's hard to see Selig approving the deal. Stranger things have happened, though. I honestly don't care who ends up owning the Dodgers (after the McCourts, of course), I just know he/she could not be any worse than these deadbeats.

I think Knight put it best when she tweeted the following:
"Still feel like McCourt is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and Selig will neg that Fox deal. No $ from that and it's over."
To which I replied, "We can only hope." And it's true. It's a last-ditch effort to keep control of the team.

The bottom line, from Shaikin:
"McCourt settlement is 'null and void' without MLB approval of Fox deal. That is considered highly unlikely."
While the future ex-Mrs. McCourt would be out of the picture, the scars from the last two years will not be healed. Frank is not in a position to be a George Steinbrenner-like owner (or even close to it), and he never will be. I'm not saying I want an owner who's going to spend $200 million on payroll per season, but it'd be nice for the Dodgers to be in contention for prime free agents (such as Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia) and for them to spend money on international scouting (just to name a couple).

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts raises some legitimate questions about today's news.

No matter what happens, this is not going to end soon. If Selig approves, the Frank keeps the team and we fans have an owner who none of us want. If Selig denies, the McCourts could go to trial with MLB -- a trial Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce calls, "risky."

Despite the bad with today's news, I still ask (hope) Selig denies the deal. The sooner Frank and Jamie are no longer affiliated with MLB, the better. But it isn't worth it to keep Frank around just to end the saga quickly. If it takes an additional year so MLB can wash its hands clean of the debacle that is the McCourts, then that's what needs to happen.

The first step to restoring this once-proud franchise is trimming the fat. Unfortunately, the fat begins at the very top.

June 30 can't get here soon enough. If McCourt doesn't make payroll, then all this drama could be over sooner than we think.

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