Frank McCourt

Comparing and contrasting the Wilpon fooforaw and the McCourt arglebargle


That’s what Bill Shaikin is up to over at the L.A. Times today.  At least comparing the possible solutions to it.

Shaikin notes that one possible outcome that is being discussed with the Mets is that the Wilpons would sell part of the team and maybe a stake in their television network SNY and use the money to pay off the bankruptcy trustee. Shaikin writes:

What that means is that Wilpon could sell a share in the Mets and/or SNY, the team-owned cable channel, to help finance a settlement, at $1 billion or something less. And what that means for baseball is that Wilpon would be diverting the money generated from any such sales to resolve litigation rather than to improve the team.

McCourt and his attorneys would find that extremely interesting.

Commissioner Bud Selig has so far resisted any deal in which Fox would pay McCourt a hefty sum in exchange for the Dodgers’ long-term broadcast rights. The logic: The money Fox would pay should go to improve the team, not to pay off an ex-wife in a divorce settlement.

Except I don’t see how these situations are similar. At all.  In the Wilpons case it would be selling an interest in the actual network that they own, not auctioning off the team’s broadcast rights for the purposes of settling litigation.  In the former case it’s the owners’ property being sold. In another it’s revenue that should, by all rights, inure to the benefit of the team itself, being diverted away from the team.  Frank McCourt doesn’t own FOX Sports.  His team sells the right to broadcast baseball games it plays.

A better analogy here would be if McCourt wanted to sell off his stamp collection or some other big parking lot he owns or something to pay off his wife.  I’m sure that Commissioner Selig would have no trouble with that.  I can totally see, however, why he’d differentiate between Wilpon using SNY sale proceeds to pay off the bankruptcy trustee and McCourt using the Dodgers’ broadcast rights to finance his divorce settlement.

So sorry Frank.  Your problem may not be as big as Fred Wilpon’s problem. But your universe of possible solutions is indeed smaller.

UPDATE: There’s a lengthy and quite critical update to this post here.

Theo Epstein on sportswriters: “The life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself…”

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 07:  Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein stands on the field during batting practice before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on October 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.

As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”

Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”

He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.

Jason Kipnis injured his ankle celebrating the pennant with Francisco Lindor

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 17:  Jose Ramirez #11, Francisco Lindor #12, Jason Kipnis #22 and Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays with a score of 4 to 2 in game three of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”

Per’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.

Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.