Frank and Jamie McCourt respond to the MLB takeover in expected fashion

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Ever since the Dodgers’ financial turmoil was made public, Frank McCourt has seemed to be in denial. When criticized over the team’s sordid  affairs, his response has been to assert that there is no problem whatsoever.

Jamie McCourt, in contrast has exhibited more in the way of — what shall we call it? — magical thinking.  Indeed, the same impulses that possessed her to think that a man could control the Dodgers’ fortunes via “V-Energy” and the power of positive thinking  from the other side of the country have had her believing that Major League Baseball would actually accept her as the principal owner of the team, which isn’t happening. Ever.

Both of these behaviors appear to be on display in the public statements issued by the McCourts following yesterday’s takeover of the Dodgers by Major League Baseball.  First Frank:

“Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the commissioner’s decision today.”

I don’t know the specifics of the guidelines Frank is referring to. And I don’t doubt that under some twisted, convoluted  interpretation of them, Frank has at least a basic argument that he’s in compliance, because such is the nature of financial guidelines that they are malleable.  But let us be clear: when you’re making player payroll via month-to-month personal loans secured by noting but wishes, one can rest assured that the basic argument that you’re out of compliance is much stronger. And given that Bud Selig, assuming he has the backing of the other owners, has pretty unlimited power in such matters, McCourt’s squawking and implied threat of litigation seem pretty empty.

Jamie McCourt’s statement is in character as well:

“As the 50% owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I welcome and support the Commissioner’s actions to provide the necessary transparency, guidance and direction for the franchise and for Dodgers fans everywhere.”

Jamie may or may not be serious when she claims that she wants to take over as the active owner of the team, but whether she truly wants that or merely wants cashed out of her stake, the MLB takeover can’t really help her, can it?  If takes Frank’s efforts to raise quick cash for a payoff via a TV rights sale to FOX off the table. One has to think it likewise delays the sale of the team and, via Bud Selig’s announced “investigation” of team finances, increases the likelihood that information will be found that could end up costing Jamie McCourt money. Her best interests were served when Frank was scrambling to find a way to buy her out. MLB is not going to care a rat’s patootie about her for the time being.

So, the responses from the McCourts are denial and delusion. Did you expect anything else?

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

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Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.