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?