McCourt Divorce Trial Continues With Ownership Of Dodgers In Contention

Frank McCourt has paid back hundreds of thousands in questionable Dodgers charity salary expenditures


If Frank McCourt only misses the June 30th payroll by only $122,000, we know why! Jim Peltz and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times report:

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt repaid more than $100,000 to a team charity after the state attorney general found the funds had been used primarily for the benefit of the club’s former chief executive, Jamie McCourt.

McCourt paid that back in March.  This payback is not to be confused with the money McCourt paid back in connection with the $400,000 the charity — the Dodger Dream Foundation — paid the Dodgers’ lobbyist Howard Sunkin in 2007. $400,000 from a charity whose total charitable assets were something less than $2 million at the time state authorities became aware of Sunkin’s payment. The Dodgers have another charity — a cancer charity — which has also seen excessive payments to executives, though it’s unclear what kind of scrutiny that has come under from state or federal officials.

And no, I would not be surprised if federal officials were paying attention to this on some level. When you’re dealing with charities, you’re dealing with tax deductible money.  And the IRS cares if tax deductible money is going to executives for decidedly non-charitable purposes.

But by all means, Frank, introduce some “acrimonious and extreme litigation” into all of this so that this stuff can be discovered and scrutinized more.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.