Frank McCourt, who bought the Dodgers with mountains of debt, mismanaged the team into bankruptcy and engaged in financial conduct which led to a federal grand jury investigation, has amnesia. Or suffers from delusions. Something along those lines anyway. I mean, how else can you explain the characterization of his tenure as Dodgers owner he made today:
“You know what happened with the Dodgers,” said McCourt, who in 2012 sold the Major League Baseball team for a record $2.15 billion to a group that includes executives from Guggenheim Partners. “We took a franchise losing almost $60 million per year and ended up selling it for the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. We created value there and we plan to do the same thing here.”
Those comments came today when it was announced that he has purchased a 50% stake in the Global Champions Tour, an international show jumping series that draws top riders and horses.
“We created value,” he says. Bollocks. He lucked his way into “value” due to fortunate timing that he neither predicted nor did anything himself to help bring about. He wanted to keep the Dodgers, but was forced to sell due to his divorce and his crushing debt load and because he had totally worn out his welcome in Major League Baseball, which is really, really hard for an owner to do. It just so happened that all of that came to a head when the Dodgers’ TV rights deal opened up and the local rights bubble reached what is likely its apex. Yes, a famous Dodgers executive once said that luck is the residue of design, but in McCourt’s case he was only able to take advantage of his great financial luck due to his enormous incompetence.
So good luck, Global Champions Tour. Here’s hoping that, among the many other things Frank McCourt has been wrong about, he is wrong about his desire “to do the same thing here.” Because while the Dodgers withstood it just fine, I wouldn’t count on it happening twice.
(Thanks to Sarah D. for the heads up)
Last month, Mariners former director of high performance, Dr. Lorena Martin, was dismissed from the club after the first year of her three-year contract. She made serious allegations of racism and sexism against the Mariners in the days that followed, all of which have been the subject of multiple investigations by the team itself as well as Major League Baseball. On Friday evening, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic published an email that had purportedly been sent to Mariners staff members by CEO John Stanton.
The email itself was printed here in full (subscription required) and basically rehashes everything the Mariners said in an official statement on Monday: That the team continues to deny allegations of racist and sexist behavior by general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais, and farm director Andy McKay because they are “completely inconsistent with who they are and what the Seattle Mariners stand for.”
Stanton added that no one had stepped forward to corroborate Martin’s accusations so far, and also went out of his way to mention that he had never personally observed members of the Mariners personnel “making disparaging, racist or sexist comments” during two trips to the Dominican Republic. The email concluded with an invitation for other staff members to speak up if they had any differing experiences or concerns about the team.
According to multiple reports from the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune, among other outlets, Martin has yet to reveal a number of incriminating emails she claimed to have in her possession, nor has any staff member publicly supported her previous statements on her wrongful termination or the toxic culture within the club. That doesn’t mean, however, that the allegations she made against the Mariners are false, just as Stanton’s claim that he never personally witnessed instances of racism and sexism within the organization doesn’t mean that racist and sexist statements and actions were never made. As Bill pointed out, Martin has likely burned all bridges within the organization and, more significantly, throughout the league as well. It stands to reason that others would feel hesitant to come forward in light of the harsh ramifications that typically await whistleblowers in this kind of situation.
We’ll update this story as it continues to develop.