This Is Going To Ruin Your Day

Rob @ 6-4-2 with a find that’s guaranteed to make you lose your lunch:

Jamie Enterprises. “A heart for sports. A mind for business. A voice for the community.” Gah.

I’m not even going to put a screenshot because her giant stupid face makes me ill, but just read this part of the bio and tell me that it doesn’t make your skin crawl.

A conscience-driven business leader with graduate degrees in business and law, Jamie has used her business expertise and passion for relationships to drive the Dodgers team and fan experience to new levels of excellence. She believes in the power of the game she’s loved since childhood to unify families, connect generations, and bring people together from all walks of life. Under her leadership, the Dodgers drew their four highest attendance totals, reached the postseason four times, and played in the National League Championship Series in both 2008 and 2009.

GO AWAY, PLEASE. FOREVER.

Update: I guess I don’t have to worry about Josh Towers anymore, do I?

Triple-A Albuquerque pitcher Josh Towers was granted his release by the Dodgers and replaced in the rotation by Seth Etherton, a first-round pick of the Angels in 1998 out of USC. (via dodgers.com)

Bullet dodged, I suppose. That said, the article references that Towers had an opt-out clause, but doesn’t specifically say that’s why he was cut loose. He couldn’t possibly think that he was going to find a major league job elsewhere right now, right?

Also: yes, I saw that Roy Oswalt has asked to be traded from Houston. Yes, he’d be a great fit in LA, and no, the Dodgers can’t afford him thanks in large part to “Jamie Enterprises”, so I’m not going to dig into it now.

All I Want For Christmas…

…is a little honesty from the front office and ownership. And for once, I don’t mean Ned Colletti, since we all assume that his hands are completely tied by his overlords.

Come on, guys. We’re not stupid. We know that you’re cash-poor. So don’t tell us, as Dennis Mannion did to Bill Shaikin in today’s LA Times, that “baseball and business decisions have not been impacted by the proceedings”. Really? Then how is there enough content for an entire site to be populated entirely by the bullshit that’s coming out of this? Don’t tell me that you’re not in on the market because you’re so fantastically confident in Colletti’s ability to scout the bottom of the market. Don’t tell me that when you’re completely sitting out while Cliff Lee, Roy Hallday, and John Lackey land elsewhere. Not when you have to defer salary on the puny $3.85m contract Jamey Carroll just signed. Especially, don’t tell me that the decisions to not offer arbitration to Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson were “baseball choices” when we all know that you’re paying more than half a million dollars a month in legal fees. And for chrissakes, never talk about how much you want concession stands. Remember the shitstorm Jamie brewed up last year when she mentioned building fields for kids being more important than getting winning players? We like kids, and we still killed her on it.

Even before the divorce was official, you were already making ridiculous baseball decisions just to save a few bucks. Do we really have to go through the whole “trading Carlos Santana to save $2m in the Casey Blake deal” again? Giving up Josh Bell for George Sherrill just so Baltimore would eat salary (okay fine, not this one, I guess I got overzealous)? Or the same thing with Arizona on Tony Abreu for Jon Garland?

By all accounts, this is only going to get worse, as Jon astutely notes at Dodger Thoughts:

People are caught up in “all we got for 2010 is Jamey Carroll” talk. Folks, 2010 is not the problem.  The Dodgers will add a fourth starter that is the same mediocre fourth starter most teams have, play around in the No. 5 spot like most teams do, return nearly all of the top offense in the NL, and compete.  I’m telling you, 2010 is just a speed bump compared to what’s going to happen in future years if the Dodgers try to skate buy without investing in the farm system.

Look, everybody already hates you. Your poor management and personal disputes are driving this team into the ground, and some, like Rob at 6-4-2, even had the foresight to doubt your viability since as soon as you arrived.

So we get it. You’re screwed, and we’re the ones suffering for it. This isn’t news. If you were to be honest and admit that the divorce is having a huge impact here, it wouldn’t change what happens on the field. It wouldn’t change that every Dodger fan desperately wants you out. But it might, just might, buy you a tiny bit of respect back for at least being honest instead of blowing smoke up our asses.

Now the Real Season Starts

With the 2009 season finally in the books (seriously, any longer and the Phillies could have avoided going back home from the Bronx and just gone straight to Florida for spring training), the real fun starts. Well, first, a thought from Ken Tremendous on the future of the Yankees:

Congrats to the Yankees, the best team in baseball. Let’s see how strong you are next year when Damon is replaced by…Matt Holliday. Shit.

Yep. That sounds about right.  Anyway, now that the offseason is starting – we’ve already seen two trades around MLB – we can focus on the always fun task of building the Dodgers for 2010. You might think that the very first step is finding out in the next few days whether Manny will choose his 2010 player option or go with free agency (spoiler alert: he’ll be back). You’d think that, and you’d be wrong, because as you should all know by now, this offseason is only going to be tangentially about baseball, with much of it being played out in the courtroom drama of the McCourt divorce mess.

The first shot in that war is going to be fired just under two hours from now, as Jamie intends to argue that she should be reinstated as Dodger CEO. The quickly-becoming-indispensible Dodger Divorce lets us know how we should be cheering:

A final thought.
The McCourts might have more at stake tomorrow than they’ve considered. As Craig Calcaterra notes, the McCourts’ best chance to keep the Dodgers is probably to arrive at “some kind of truce as soon as possible that would keep joint ownership to some degree.” If things get as bitter in court tomorrow as they’ve been in the filings and newspapers thus far, that would seem nearly impossible. If you’re a member of the majority (anti-McCourt) party, root for fireworks.

Fireworks, you say? Oh, I think we can do fireworks. Remember the accusations that Jamie had been unfaithful with a former Dodger employee, Pillsbury heir Jeff Fuller (who was either “the Director of Protocol” or “her driver”, which is kind of like saying “I’m the lead singer of Green Day” or “I’m the assistant to the  roadie”)?  There’s more fun stories coming out about him by the second:

This past weekend we posted a story that Jeff Fuller — who was fired by the Dodgers last month as either the Director of Protocol or a driver — was accused in 1995 by his then-wife of brutalizing her when she was 7 months pregnant …. pushing her into a wall and knocking her down. The wife — who now goes by Michele DesMarteau — got a restraining order against Jeff.

So he’s a domestic abuser! Or…

Jeff’s rep tells TMZ Jeff insists Michele did indeed recant her story.

So he was just taken advantage of by his jealous ex-wife! Or…

Michele also says Jeff lies about other things. She says he’s not a Pillsbury heir and in fact is always near broke. She says after hooking up with Jamie, he called and said he was now moving to Malibu. She says she was shocked he could live in Malibu because he didn’t pay child support. His response, she says: “I have a really good deal.”

Or he’s a total deadbeat liar. Then again, if he was really flat broke, what would Jamie want to do with him? This is a woman who couldn’t possibly live on less than $500,000 a month. Strap in, friends. This is going to suck your will to live.

Anyone Want to Front Me $700 Million?

Because even though we all knew this divorce case was going to be messy, it’s already so far out of control that it might spin the planet right off its orbit. So what better solution than for me to drum up some investors and take over the club myself?

So… anyone know any billionaires looking to make a PR splash?

Where do I start here? Diamond Leung has a shot of Jamie’s monthly living requests. 6-4-2 has links to a possible 911 call by Jamie against Frank, Jamie’s possible new man – a former Dodger employee – and a great dig at her ridiculous claim to be “face of the Dodgers”. Plus, TMZ – and yes, I just linked to TMZ as though it were an actual news organization, so kill me now – has the details of Jamie’s demands. At least Jon @ Dodger Thoughts sees a possible silver lining to this nightmare:

Some fear the divorce proceeding will hamper the Dodgers’ offseason plans, and for good reason. On the other hand, isn’t this the time when you buy the kids a nice pony to take their mind off the ugliness?

This whole mess is so bad, that T.J. Simers’ latest column is nothing if not the voice of reason. T.J. Simers! As painful as it might be, let’s look at what Jamie actually wants here, from TMZ:

Here are the benefits Jamie is requesting:
- travel by private jet
- 5 star hotel accommodations
- travel expenses – Unlimited
- business dinners 5 nights per week
- business lunches 5 days per week
- parking spots at Dodger Stadium
- flowers in the office
- making Dodger Legends available for events without charge
- provision of Dodger autographed items as requested for use in business and charitable activities
- hair and makeup for Dodger events
- access to team doctors for McCourt family members
- access to the owner’s suite for Dodger home games and non-baseball events at the stadium
- Tickets to All-Star games and playoff games — even if the Dodgers aren’t playing
- a pass to all National League games

Then there’s this: Jamie lists her monthly living expenses at $488,928 — THAT’S PER MONTH!!!!!!!!
Of those expenses, $333,000 goes towards her residence and vacation homes.

I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. You rich asshole. You’re spending nearly $500k per month, and you were mocking Dodger fans for wanting to get Manny instead of building parks for kids? And then there’s this - which just kills me – from Bill Shaikin’s story, in regards to Jamie’s claim that she didn’t understand the community property document she signed:

Marshall Grossman, an attorney for Frank McCourt, noted that Jamie McCourt has practiced law, including family law.

“Jamie McCourt saying she didn’t understand what she signed is like John Hancock saying he didn’t understand the Declaration of Independence when he signed it,” Grossman said.

*snicker*. I despise having to write about this, but it’s pretty clearly going to be a big story all offseason. As Jon says, they have “torched themselves in the Los Angeles community”, and this all brings me back to what I said in our open letter to them last week:

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.

I think I speak for a lot of Dodger fans right now when I say, we hate you both. (To be fair, Jamie a lot more.) Please sell. Please. Sell.

An Open Letter to the McCourts

Frank & Jamie;

Hi. How’re things? Oh, right. That. Yes, we were all very sorry to hear about the impending end of your marriage. I think we all know more than a few people at this point who’ve been through that (it took me until 28 to date a girl whose parents weren’t divorced), and there’s no question it can be a terrible and traumatic experience. So, our utmost condolences to the both of you and your family, and we hope that if reconciliation is no longer an option, then at least this trying issue can be worked out as painlessly as possible.

Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that. See, what should be happening here is that your personal issues are no different from the 8 billion other divorces that happen every year. And of course, if you weren’t who you are, that’s exactly what would be happening. Your marital issues would be none of our business, just like every other person’s.

The difference here, of course, is that you (both of you? one of you? who even knows at this point?) are the owners of the Dodgers, and it is only in that capacity that you really matter to us. Don’t get me wrong, because I know how callous that sounds, and I’m sure you’re lovely people. It’s just that we’re in this because we’re baseball fans, and if you didn’t run the Dodgers your lives would be no more or less important to me than any other person’s who I have not and will not ever meet.

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.

We all saw what happened in San Diego, when John Moores got divorced and was forced to drastically slash the payroll and sell the club, right? Well, as crushing as this NLCS loss was, the fact remains that the Dodgers have won a playoff series in each of the last two years and still have a nice young core of talent. The future should be bright. So if this team goes downhill because of your petty bitching, well, that’s just unforgivable.

Even worse, this is hardly your first misstep. First, we had to watch as you bought a team, financed by debt, that you really couldn’t afford. That led to such atrocities as having to include catcher Carlos Santana (who’s only won the MVP of his league in each of the last two seasons) in the Casey Blake deal just to save $2m, rather than use a lesser prospect. He’s probably going to be the Indians’ starting catcher next year, and with how badly Russell Martin’s fallen off the cliff, don’t you think he would have been a nice player to have right now?

Or how about firing Dan Evans – sort of, by not relieving him of his duties but by telling him that they were looking for his replacement, and that he could interview for his own job - just three weeks before camp started in 2004? Or the sloppy way in which Paul DePodesta was canned? Say what you will about DePodesta (not to start that war again), but what’s more egregious – giving a GM just one offseason to remake the team, or not firing him until a month after the season ended, with him interviewing managerial candidates while you – unbeknownst to him – conducted your own search?

Then there was the absolute horror of the comments that Jamie made about Dodger fans having to choose between signing Manny or building parks for kids, which – in addition to coming right before buying that second mansion - infuriated us all so much that I have to reprint part of how we felt about it last winter:

Do you ever read something and you want to say three sentences at once in reply, but you have to force your brain to relax and just do one at a time so it’ll make sense? Because right now I’m not sure which thought is trying to push it’s way out of my head first: the idea that paying for 50 baseball fields is somehow costing enough that a top free agent is no longer affordable (seriously, how much did these fields cost? Is the grass made out of emeralds? Do the kids get Hall of Famers to coach every position) or the idea that Jamie McCourt basically just said “if you want the Dodgers to get good, though expensive, players, then you’re a monster who hates children.” Because, you know, when the Dodgers went out and got Manny and sold about ten billion $300 replica jerseys and fake dreadlocks and playoff tickets, all of you were bad people for supporting that expensive player and giving all that money to the McCourts.

All of which is a long way of saying that, despite the recent success on the field, you’ve done plenty to enrage Dodger fans – and remember, if we’re not “Dodger fans”, then you are two completely nameless, faceless people to us.

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.

Yours,
MSTI

(We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Plaschke-bashing and ace-wrangling.)