The only thing that can save current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a high-dollar and stable new television contract — one that will bring financial security to a club buried in bankruptcy court.
Well aware of that fact and still craving an ownership change, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has made his most aggressive move yet, threatening to terminate the Dodgers from the league if McCourt does not sell the team. This according to Maury Brown, founder of The Biz of Baseball.
Selig would never actually go through with it. He’s not going to give the boot to a franchise with a cherished 128-year history and further alienate an already frustrated fanbase. But the threat of termination alone is sure to scare away any potential investors who might have helped McCourt climb his way back to respectability. And that includes television networks.
McCourt is planning a response, the language of which could turn ugly now that the 58-year-old divorcee has been backed into a corner. But what’s been apparent all along is now even more indubitable: McCourt is cooked. Fried. Roasted. Because the club he’s owned since 2004 is nothing without the league it’s part of, and landing a television deal is going to be near impossible for a team labeled — even falsely — as doomed.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.