Happy Frank and Jamie McCourt trial day!

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Roger Clemens’ arraignment isn’t the only baseball related court thingee going on today. The McCourt trial starts too. At stake: the very future of the Dodgers.

Frank says the team is his. Jamie says it’s theirs. If he wins, the status quo will reign, and the Dodgers can keep on skimping on the free agent market like they have been, Frank can keep taking all kinds of money out of the team for whatever reason and the Dodgers can generally fail to put their revenue to its highest and best use from a baseball perspective. If she wins, someone’s going to have to buy someone out, so things will get worse. It’s truly inspiring!

Less-flippantly, the key question at issue will be the
validity of a post-nuptial agreement signed by the couple in
March 2004.  On its face it appears to bear out Frank’s position: Jamie got all the real estate and insulation from creditors who might go after the Dodgers one day, Frank got the team. The wrinkle: Jamie’s lawyers said recently that “newly discovered documents” change all of this, and she does too own the team.

The nuances behind all of that are complicated, but People Who Know Things tell me that Jamie’s lawyers are out to lunch on this and that Frank is in a strong position. In my experience, late-discovered documents like that are almost always either (a) irrelevant; or (b) outright bogus.  Ask yourself: if there really was a document that truly changed the equation in this regard, why would we have only heard about it a couple of weeks ago?  Sounds like posturing to me.

In any event, this case has a far bigger potential to impact baseball than the Clemens thing does, as the future of one of the game’s marquee franchises is at stake. If you can stand it, keep your eyes on it.  If not, by all means, click back here because I’ll be updating as events warrant.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.