Yesterday was the much-anticipated hearing in the Dodgers bankruptcy case, the purpose of which was to determine who gets to fund the Dodgers until they emerge from Chapter 11.
I followed the blow-by-blow via the Twitter feeds of reporters in the courtroom. Even then — with the ability to watch baseball games, write about other subjects, play with my kids and do any number of other things — I was bored to tears. I can’t imagine what the Bill Shaikins of the world must have felt trapped in that place for the entire ten hour hearing.
For as long as the thing lasted, there was only one witness: Dodgers assistant treasurer Jeffery Ingram. Following vicariously, it seemed like he didn’t do the best job in the world for Frank McCourt. He voiced the McCourt position well enough: the Dodgers don’t want MLB financing because Bud Selig is out to get Frank McCourt and you don’t want to take loans from your enemies. But on cross examination he basically admitted that, yeah, MLB’s financing was better on their basic terms.
And that may be good enough for the judge who, at the close of the day, said that he was going to decide the matter based on the financial terms: “”This is about dollars and cents. This is not a control issue,” he said. Based on that alone, observers got the feeling that, when he rules today, as is expected, he’ll side with MLB’s financing, not McCourt’s.
The implications: well, the judge’s words about this not being about control notwithstanding — and notwithstanding the arguments of MLB’s lawyers, who said that Selig does not intend to use financing as a means of squeezing out McCourt — it’s hard to see how such an outcome wouldn’t put MLB in a very strong position vis-a-vis our favorite spendthrift owner, marginalizing him practically, even if he’s not technically moved aside.