McCourt Divorce Trial Continues With Ownership Of Dodgers In Contention

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?

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.