Friday is the McCourts’ last chance to avoid Dodgerpocalypse

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the mediator in the McCourt divorce case is going to propose “a fair settlement” to each side on Friday. The idea: this is a last chance for the McCourts to avoid the judge telling them how the Dodgers will be divided up. If they don’t settle as a result of this process the court will rule. And in my view, both sides should take a long hard look at settling because based on what went down at the trial, they both stand a chance of losing everything.

Personally, I had a hard time believing Jamie’s McCourt’s testimony.  Contrary to what she said, I think she knew full well what she was doing when she signed the post-nuptial agreement that gave the Dodgers to Frank in exchange for her getting all of the real estate in the event of divorce. Everything about the document makes sense if seen in those terms and there’s no reason for the document at all if what she says is true and she was to retain an interest in both the team and the houses. That was the default. If she wanted things that way, the document has no real purpose.  And that’s before we get to the part where she — the experienced family lawyer — tried to convince the judge that she had no idea what the document was supposed to do and was oh-so-confused about it all. Please.

But Frank has his own problems.  Specifically, that business in which his lawyer admitted to changing  the exhibits to the document after it was executed. I actually believed him when he said that it was all a simple mistake and that he was merely trying to fix it without anyone knowing, but courts, as a rule, don’t give lawyers that kind of benefit of the doubt.  Nor should they, because if you start letting lawyers off the hook for this kind of stuff you’ll see all manner of “mistakes” that work injustices to people not as well-off and sophisticated as the McCourts.  Regardless of Jamie’s dubious claim of ignorance, I think there’s a good chance that — on general principle — the judge rules that the post nup agreement is invalid.  If that happens, community property rules apply, Jamie gets half the team and Frank spends the next several years (a) appealing; and (b) suing his old lawyer for malpractice.

But that’s just my gut. I’ve been wrong about this stuff before, as has been anyone else who tries to predict what a court will do in a tough case.  But that also means that Frank and Jamie McCourt have no idea what the court will do either. And as a result, they’d be well-advised to take the mediator’s proposal seriously. Because this is the last chance hey have for this thing to end without a world of pain. Both for them and the Dodgers.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.