Jamie McCourt accuses Frank of "blatant balance sheet manipulations"

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More fun from DodgerLand, as Jamie McCourt has filed new papers seeking adjustments in her monthly allowance. The highlight — at least from my perspective — is Jamie’s claim that Frank has way more money than he claims, and that he has grand, grand plans:

“Frank McCourt hopes to transform the Dodgers from a baseball team into
the anchor of a sports business empire that could include cable
television channels broadcast in English and Spanish; homes, shops and
a football stadium within the Dodger Stadium parking lots; and the
purchase of a soccer club in China and another in the English Premier
League.”

These smell less like concrete plans and more like every half-assed idea a husband mentions to his wife over a handful of years. If my wife was Jamie and I was Frank the list would include plans for the basement to become a rec-room, a home gym, a home theater and maybe, just maybe, to get cleaned up for once.  The article notes that a lot of those things have been discussed publicly, but in a world where Jamey Carroll is your big offseason pickup and Randy Wolf isn’t offered arbitration, some of those choices have to exclude the others, don’t they?

But man, if that football thing has even a kernal of truth to it, Frank McCourt should have the car keys taken away from him. I mean, if you think it’s hard to get to and park at Dodger Stadium now just plant a football stadium in the parking lot and see what happens.

Other highlights:

  • Jamie McCourt asked that her allowance be raised from her initial $488,000 request to $988,845 per
    month because of (a) property tax bills; and (b) records which show that the couple actually used to burn through $2.3 million. I couldn’t imagine how I’d spend $2.3 million a month even if money were edible;
  • In advance of the divorce filing Frank used “blatant balance sheet manipulations” in order to portray himself as less wealthy than he really is.  It’s a serious charge to be sure, but hey, he is a baseball owner and they have the market cornered on that kind of thing.
  • Frank McCourt currently resides in a “luxury hotel in Beverly Hills” and has spent $52,000 on clothes since November.  Given that the divorce papers revealed that the McCourts own approximately 326 pieces of real estate, I can only assume that he’s staying at the hotel while one of his houses gets renovated into a Quagmire-style bachelor pad. It would explain the clothing bill too, because a swingin’ bachelor needs nice threads.
  • Frank keeps two of his sons on the Dodgers’ payroll — at a combined annual
    salary of $600,000 — “despite the fact that one is a graduate student
    at Stanford and the other works full-time for Goldman Sachs.”  Eh, a grad student and an investment banker are more useful than Juan Pierre, and Frank kept him on the roster for way more money than that.

The trial to decide who owns the Dodgers is set for May 24th. The Dodgers are off that day before going on the road to play the Cubs, so it shouldn’t inconvenience anyone.

Mike Scioscia and the Angels played yesterday’s game under protest

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 27: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws to first as he tries to get the out on Raul Mondesi's #27 of the Kansas City Royals bunt in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 27, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. Shoemaker's throwing error lead to Mondesi advancing to third and Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando scoring.  (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals beat the Angels last night, but Mike Scioscia is hoping Joe Torre and the Commissioner’s Office gives him a do-over.

The Angels played the game in protest following what they believe to be a rules misinterpretation following a base running incident in the seventh inning. That’s when Raul Mondesi reached on a bunt single which scored two runs following a throwing error from Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker, whose attempt to put out Modesi sailed into right field. Watch the play:

Mike Scioscia came out claiming interference, arguing that Mondesi was not running within the baseline. The play was reviewed for over six minutes but the call — everyone’s safe and two runs scored — was upheld. After that Scioscia indicated tht he was playing under protest.

The thing about protests, though, is that they cannot be based on judgment calls. Rather, they have to be based on misapplication of rules by the umpires. Running outside of the baseline is a judgment call, though, right? So how can Scioscia protest it? Here’s his explanation:

“It’s not a judgement call. I would not have protested if I was not 100 percent correct on this. This is a misinterpretation of a rule. It was very clear. Phil Cuzzi, the home plate umpire, had Mondesi running inside the line in jeopardy the whole way, and stated that it’s okay because he was stepping back toward the bag, which is wrong.”

For his part, Royals manager Ned Yost believed it was a judgment call. For everyone’s part, protests are almost never upheld in baseball and, despite Scioscia’s comments, baseline calls are generally considered judgement calls.

If Scioscia is right, the game will be replayed, resuming with one out in the seventh inning and the runners where they started. But don’t hold your breath.

Politician behind the Braves new ballpark deal voted out of office

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Associated Press
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Tim Lee was the Cobb County commissioner who led the charge to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves in the northern suburbs. The operation, despite being taxpayer-funded, was not passed on by the voters beforehand and was cloaked in secrecy at every turn. Best of all, once Lee and his fellow commissioners started taking heat for it, he held his critics in contempt and shut down any effort to examine the deal in public meetings or to allow dissent to it by the people he claimed to represent.

That’s not a great look for a public official. Which is why Lee is now a former public official:

Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee lost his reelection bid Tuesday to challenger Mike Boyce, a retired marine colonel, in a runoff seen by many as a litmus test for support of the deal to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb.

Boyce beat Lee, winning 64 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting.

If you read that linked article, you’ll be amused to see that Lee’s supporters blame his defeat on Donald Trump and general anti-incumbent sentiment. To the folks watching that race, however, it was obvious that this was a referendum on bringing the Braves to Cobb County in the manner that Lee did. His opponent, also a Republican, ran a grassroots campaign that was explicitly about Lee’s lack of transparency and, in many respects, total secrecy in spending hundreds of millions of public dollars on the sort of project which study after study has shown does not provide economic benefits to the public in any way approaching the degree to which it simply enriches the owners of professional sports teams. Lee’s opponent, Mike Boyce, said this after his victory:

“Cobb County is a very conservative county and people simply want the respect shown to them that if you’re going to use their money, you have to ask them,” Boyce said.

Doesn’t seem all that controversial, Trumpian or anti-incumbent to me. That just seems like good sense.

Not that Lee is going away quietly. After his defeat, he said this:

I wanted to make a positive difference for my community. Thirteen years later, I can safely say that I’ve done that. In my last term, Cobb County landed the biggest economic development deal in its modern history. That investment – however unfairly maligned and misrepresented – is already paying off and will enrich this community long after many of us are gone . . . The election is over; our friendship is not. How about we catch a ballgame together? I know a great place about to open up. It’s in the neighborhood.

I’m assuming Lee will have free Braves tickets for life after what he did for them so, yes, he’ll always be at the ballgame. And yes, I’m sure he’ll always consider the stadium to have been economically beneficial because he’ll just point to a ballpark full of fans and, eventually, a winning Braves ballclub and claim that makes everyone’s life better. If he chooses to measure the ballpark’s economic impact the way actual economists do, however, as opposed to the way professional sports teams and their crony politicians do, I’m guessing he’ll have to reassess that stuff about how great all of this has been.

Not that I ever expect him to measure it that way. No one in power ever does. They’re too busy hobnobbing with retired ballplayers and team executives in the luxury suites and explaining away their failure to fund true public works and services as either something wholly unavoidable or the fault of someone else.