Major League Baseball has announced that it is going to take over the financial and day-to-day operations of the Dodgers. The move, first reported by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, was detailed in the following statement that was just released by Major League Baseball on behalf of Bud Selig:
“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.”
This statement suggests that this will be more than a mere receivership. McCourt is being pushed out. And not only that, he’s being “investigated.” This is a far more harsh oversight regime than Tom Hicks got in Texas. This is, I believe, unprecedented.
As has been recently reported, Frank McCourt took a $30 million loan from FOX in order to make team payroll. Clearly this doesn’t sit will with Selig, who has already gone on record against Frank McCourt using the Dodgers’ TV rights as a means of resolving his personal financial problems. Problems, as everyone who follows the Dodgers knows, stem from McCourt’s over-leveraging of the team combined with his costly divorce from his wife who, as it currently stands, is legally part owner of the Dodgers.
However this shakes out, it’s hard to see how this isn’t the beginning of the end of Frank McCourt’s disastrous reign as the owner of the Dodgers. And while it may be painful for the team and its fans to go through this in the interim, baseball stepping in and relieving McCourt of command is a good thing in the long term for the franchise.