Frank McCourt Gets One More Push Out That Door

The day you never thought would come? Yeah, it’s just about here. One of them, anyway. Bill Shaikin (as usual) with the fantastic news:

Frank McCourt agreed Tuesday to sell the Dodgers, abruptly surrendering the team after fighting to retain it over two years and in two courts.

McCourt and Major League Baseball have agreed to seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an auction of the Dodgers. The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much now.

The league hopes a new Dodgers owner can be in place by opening day.

First and foremost: YEAH! I wasn’t sure I’d ever live to see this happen, yet here we are. Remember, this has been going for over two years. Hell, this is what I was writing in October of 2009, well before bankruptcies, Russian faith healers, attempted MLB takeovers and over 50 other sins:

So when the news of your divorce came out on the day of Game 1 of the NLCS, that was troubling enough. In the days since, rather than celebrate the end of the Dodger season and plans for the offseason, we’ve had to listen to quotes like “they’re trashing each other terribly. It’s going to be World War III” and now see the news that Jamie’s been fired from her position as CEO, while promising a lawsuit.

I’ve yet to read an account that doesn’t characterize this as being an extremely ugly situation. And yet again, I don’t really care about the “winner” of this situation insomuch as who gets the two (at least!) mansions you own. Remember, we only really care about how this is going to impact the Dodgers. We’re workaday slobs, you know, so watching our favorite team succeed is the only respite from our otherwise crushing lives. Or something like that.

Don’t let your personal issues get in the way of the enjoyment of millions of Dodger fans around the world, because if – as seems likely – this devolves into a path of scorched earth and courtroom rhetoric that leads to the selling off of assets on the field and a string of losing seasons like in San Diego, you might still own the team, and you might have won in the eyes of the law, but you’ll still be a pariah in the eyes of Dodger fans everywhere.

Fix this quickly and privately, or sell the team. Now. You may be striving for the spotlight, but you’re not bigger than the Dodgers, and it’s your association with them that’s brought you fame – not vice versa.

…and I think we can see how well that worked out, while also reminding us that we couldn’t stand the McCourts well before any news of the divorce leaked. In addition, don’t forget the happy ancillary benefits that could come along with this… namely, the hope that a new owner might want to bring along his own general manager – one who wouldn’t give Juan Rivera $4m, Juan Pierre $44m, Jason Schmidt $47m, amongst a litany of other errors.

This is still a long way from over, of course. As I noted yesterday, there’s still a long way to go from “settlement” to “sale”, and if the reported $1b or more purchase price is scaring off Mark Cuban (who is never getting approved by MLB anyway), we’re definitely going to have to worry about if any prospective buyer still even has money left over after putting that kind of cash down – but that’s a worry for another day. For now, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. (A different tunnel, I would imagine, than the one we hope McCourt gets thrown down.) That’s progress. And that’s worth celebrating.



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