What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Dubsism: Your Home For The Frank McCourt Death Watch

Frank McCourt Death Watch: Day One

It is time to start the countdown until Frank McCourt no longer owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Everything seems to be closing in on him; there’s the divorce settlement which hinged on the TV deal, which Commissioner Bud Selig just rejected, which means we are headed for a one-day trial in August which will likely result in an immediate sale when the Dodgers are declared to be community property.

McCourt pondering if this is the suit he wants to be buried in.

Here is MLB’s “official story” on the matter.

“This decision was reached after a full and careful consideration of the terms of the proposed transaction and the club’s current circumstances,” commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “It is my conclusion that this proposed transaction with FOX would not be in the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, the game of Baseball and the millions of loyal fans of this historic club.”

The translation:

“We know killing this TV deal should drive the last nail in this asshole’s coffin, and the sooner we get rid of this guy, the better because once McCourt is gone, no one will ask questions as to why Selig approved this turd-loaf as an owner in the first place.”

Then, there is the matter of McCourt’s repsonse.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Commissioner’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction which would inject $235 million into the Los Angeles Dodgers,” the statement read. “As Commissioner Selig well knows, this transaction would make the Dodgers financially secure for the long term and one of the best capitalized teams in Major League Baseball.

“Commissioner Selig’s letter of rejection is not only a disappointment, but worse, is potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball. Accordingly, we plan to explore vigorously our options and remedies with respect to Commissioner Selig’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction and our commitment to protect the long-term best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

Of course, it has a translation all of its own.

“Oh man, I’m soooo fucked. If it isn’t that bitch wife, it’s that cocksucker Selig. Why does everybody have to make being a lying, cheating scumbag so hard?”

Frank McCourt has already struggled to make payroll, and now that his last means of revenue has been strangled, there is a very real possibility that once he fails to meet his obligations on June 30, MLB could seize the team and force a sale.

Even if McCourt somehow manages to survive into August, the terms of the McCourt’s divorce settlement had set a one-day trial for Aug. 4 to decide if the Dodgers are solely the property of Frank McCourt or if the team is a marital asset to be split.

No matter how long McCourt survives, the minute the plug gets pulled, it seems McCourt is girding his loins for a protracted legal battle over MLB’s right to take over the team and/or to force Selig to approve the FOX deal.

As he runs out of options to stave off a complete MLB seizure, McCourt also digs in his heels for a protracted confrontation on baseball’s authority to exercise control on anything beyond the team itself.

Sources familiar with McCourt’s strategy indicated Monday that significant sources of Dodgers revenue would not be available to Major League Baseball or another owner without McCourt’s consent. These are said to include a $21 million annual lease obligation owed from the team to a McCourt entity for the club’s use of the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium and any ticket revenue in excess of the $6-7 million per year of service on certain McCourt debt, according to the sources. This year’s figures were not available, but the surplus cash after debt service exceeded $60 million in 2005. Both of these revenue streams are slated to stay with McCourt for at least 20 more years.

The lease payments and ticket sales revenue could act together as a poison pill discouraging what would be called in the corporate world a hostile takeover. Baseball’s recourse would most likely be legal action seeking a determination that such revenue cannot be diverted from team operations. McCourt’s counter could be that baseball has always had knowledge of these practices and, indeed, approved the separate sale of the team and surrounding land when McCourt purchased the Dodgers before the 2004 season.

The takeaway for fans is that McCourt likely will make a complete MLB takeover as painful as possible. After all, any money baseball spends running the Dodgers until a new owner is identified ultimately comes from the league’s other 29 team owners. Furthermore, the team is likely much less marketable to potential ownership groups if such significant revenue streams do not flow back to the team, but to McCourt entities.

While McCourt struggles to retain control of the foundering franchise, the contractual disposition of Dodgers revenue may indeed be a negotiating position aimed at extracting as much blood from baseball as he can while he still has some leverage. His camp is concerned that baseball will not get sufficient value in a sale of the club, and it is by far the most significant asset he has left.

Rejection of the deal signals both baseball’s desire to force Frank out of the game and its willingness to take high risks in doing so. Running the Dodgers without tens of millions of dollars of revenue and subjecting the sport to a potentially damaging lawsuit on the eve of a renegotiation of its labor deal are great costs, but ones Selig is evidently willing to bear.

The next step in this developing saga may be the commencement of that very litigation. McCourt may seek an emergency order barring Major League Baseball from denying the Fox deal and ultimately seizing the Dodgers. Such a lawsuit has likely been on the desks of McCourt’s attorneys for weeks, ready for just this sort of occasion.

At the end of the day, ultimately McCourt will soon not own this team for one simple, honest reason that no lawyers can change. The guy simply is out of money.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

10 comments on “Dubsism: Your Home For The Frank McCourt Death Watch

  1. Dick Marple
    June 21, 2011

    Please, no mention of Bud Selig unless you are:
    – Reporting his drawn out, painful death. OR
    – Announcing you have hired a hit man to do the deed.**

    **Get at least a couple of true BB fans on the jury and you’re guaranteed to walk.


  2. chappy81
    June 21, 2011

    So awesome! You know who the biggest loser in all of this is besides the Dodger fans? Fox! They probably had a ridiculously lopsided deal that whoever the next owner is, gets to make more than $3B on their TV contract.


    • JW
      June 21, 2011

      What an excellent point. You know from all the advances McCourt had already received from Fox that they had their claws into him good and deep. Fox loses their sucker, and McCourt’s lifeboat is taking on water like a thirsty camel.


      • chappy81
        June 22, 2011

        Yeah, there’s noway McCourt got the best deal possible when he was taking money from Fox way before the deal even happened! I read McCourt is also something like $600M in debt, so the Fox deal probably would’ve just paid that off and left nothing to use on the team. Dodgers fans got a huge win on the Fox/Selig ruling!


  3. sportsattitudes
    June 22, 2011

    Lawyers are going to make a boatload on all of this mess. I agree no matter what the dollars were for the TV deal MLB wants this guy gone. I admittedly don’t know the whole backstory as to why he is Public Enemy #1 west of the Mississippi. I do know Dick’s comment above is understandable regarding Mr. Selig. His time to go…came long ago.


    • chappy81
      June 22, 2011

      We’ll just say the guy is shameless. He has no conscience, and just when you don’t think you could hate him more, he does something else stupid to make you think he must like all the negative publicity or something… Every move he makes seems calculated, but completely wrong!


  4. tophatal
    June 22, 2011


    Butthole Selig and the antics of the Dodgers . Now I know that the guys of Enron were definitely not the smartest guys in the room ! Any word as of yet , as to when we might also see the implosion of the Mets ?


    Selig in his last four years as commissioner has pulled down in excess pf $68 million cumulative salary and other ancillary benefits but more than half the teams in the league can barely eke out a profit without an assist by way of the league’s asinine tax sharing revenue scheme .


  5. ChrisHumpherys
    June 27, 2011

    No truth to the rumor that McCourt’s been spotted at a local In ‘n’ Out Burger scrambling together seventy-nine cents for a grilled ham-and-cheese.


    • JW
      June 27, 2011

      I heard McCourt is going to run for governor of Illinois.


  6. Pingback: Frank McCourt: The Final Days of the Regime Are Finally Here « Dubsism

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2011 by in Baseball and tagged , , .

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