Blog Entry

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:34 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 11:19 am
It's not quite the "Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead" moment yet.

But Frank McCourt has never been closer to becoming the ex-Dodgers owner than he is right now.

But McCourt and Major League Baseball jointly announced overnight Tuesday -- at 1:03 a.m. EDT, to be exact -- that they have "agreed to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designated to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner Frank McCourt."

Translation: McCourt, cornered from all sides and quickly running out of money, has lost his appetite to fight following two years of lawyers, litigation, obstinance and sheer delusion.

In what amounts to a final surrender, McCourt essentially has agreed to auction off the team and disappear. In return, MLB gets what it wants: The Dodgers wrested from McCourt's cold clutch without a messy court fight in which secret financial details could be publicly revealed. The league will help facilitate the sale through the Blackstone Group LP.

The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots. McCourt purchased the club and the properties for $421 million in 2004.

Best-case scenario for MLB, Los Angeles and Dodgers fans: A new owner is in place by opening day.

The Dodgers have been in free-fall since Frank and Jamie McCourt's marriage began crumbling in 2009, and the all-out war that developed between the two turned into one the ugliest and messiest battles in baseball history. Their excessively materialistic lifestyle first provided fodder for Los Angeles gossip columns, and then grist for MLB to seize the team from McCourt after it accused him of "looting" millions of dollars from the Dodgers to finance his over-leveraged personal life.

The aptly named McCourt battled in both divorce court and bankruptcy court trying to keep the Dodgers while remaining financially solvent. It's been clear to everyone but him for more than a year that he was fighting a losing battle.

His last-ditch bid to reverse his fall came when he attempted to arrange a future television contract that would front him millions even while the Dodgers were still operating under a present television contract with Fox. Selig would not allow it, and that was the basis for McCourt's latest battle with MLB.

Frankly, that McCourt stubbornly hung on for this long is an upset, given that there were rampant rumors last summer that he would not be able to meet payroll, which would have given MLB carte blanche to remove him as owner.

Or, as I wrote on June 22: "Welcome to the final days of the Dodgers' banana republic. You can hear the choppers whirring just over the hills. Soon, they'll have the place fully surrounded. It won't be long until Frank McCourt will be forced down from his coconut tree, frisked and exiled."

That time has come. According to financial figures McCourt himself submitted to the Bankruptcy Court, even if he settled his divorce and sold the club's television rights, he would still be far short of what he needs to restore the luster to the Dodgers and to renovate Dodger Stadium. As it is, McCourt has agreed to pay his ex-wife, Jamie, a divorce settlement of $130 million.

On the field, the Dodgers in 2011 drew fewer than three million fans in a non-strike-shortened season for the first time in 19 years and for only the second time since 1989.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has expressed interest in the club. Closer to home, Dennis Gilbert, the one-time agent who headed a group that nearly landed the Texas Rangers in 2010, would be a perfect choice. Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has been rumored as potentially being interested, and one industry source theorizes that Oakland owner Lew Wolff, frustrated with the Athletics' inability to gain a new stadium, is another possibility.

Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 4:10 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Sure, Dodger's fans are notorious for this, however you have to cut them a little slack. I work in LA and love going to Dodgers games, but here's the thing. I work less than 15 miles from the stadium, but for me to get to the stadium and in my seat by 7:10pm, I'd have to leave work at 4pm. If I leave at 5pm, I'm simply cutting it too close. Not only is the traffic getting to the stadium HORRENDOUS, but the parking lot is not exactly efficient at getting people in and out. 

Is it a coincidence that Atlanta also has one of the worst public transportation systems?

And hey, I can't blame Dodgers fans who leave in the 8th, or 7th inning. If I say lived 20-30 miles away from the stadium, and I brought my kids to the game, I have a responsibility to get my family home and my kids in bed by a decent hour. That's just not feasible if you stay til the bottom of the ninth.

So, some of the fans may not be as supportive, but I think a lot of the fans have an issue with transportation, and this limits things.

Not everything is as it seems, you've got to dig a little deeper.


Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:32 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Best News this month! Now I don't have to feel guilty every time I pay good money to see the Dodgers play, along with overpriced snacks and drinks!

And, to top it off, Vin Scully is coming back for another year! Not sure how many more years he is going to keep coming back, but it would be so nice for Scully and alll Dodger's fans for the black cloud that is Frank McCourt to be lifted by opening day.


Since: Jun 17, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:31 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Good riddance Frank and Jamie (aka Mc-court jesters). One of the best days in Dodger lore will be the day the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered and these tow pack and leave town.

Now we can get back into winning again.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:12 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

I know it is not all Dodger fans, but when I have gone to their games half the people show up around the 3rd inning and are gone by the 7th inning. They don't really support the team. It is just to say you went to the game. I have been to 21 of the stadiums throughout  baseball and almost all of them numerous times and have to say that Dodger fans would be neck and neck with Brave fans when it comes to supporting or lack there of the value of the product that they are being presented.
Supporting a team means showing up and cheering a team on and creating a home field advantage. Not just showing up to say you were there. 

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 2:40 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Balrog - you aren't taking into consideration the the Dodgers are a MLB franchise.  McCourt doesn't own the Dodgers as if the Dodgers are their own entity.  The Dodgers are part of MLB.  MLB is the boss.  It is the same as if you were to own a McDonalds or any other franchise.  There are many rules that you must agree to in order to be a franchisee.  If you don't play by them then you are gone.

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:55 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

As a life long Dodger fan I say THANK YOU GOD!  The time is far overdue.  The dodgers have been an embarassment the last few years.  I have boycotted going to games until he is gone which really sucks when you are a Dodger fan and you only go to Angel games.  And maybe just maybe they can redo the stadium.  As a father of 3 young ones I must say that Dodger Stadium is the least kid friendly park I have been to.  6 & 8 year olds need more to do at a stadium then only sitting to watch a game.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:19 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

This is great news!  We hope it's true.  After the sale, Frank should be required to spend some post-game time next season in the Dodger parking lot.  It would be interesting to see how the fans treat him.  And it is the only way the poor SF Giant fan and his family will get any compensation for his injuries.

Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:08 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers


Since: Oct 6, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:53 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out in the auction. I can see Mark Cuban getting heavily involved in purchase but Dennis Gilbert's group will have the cash backing and the knowledge that past failings bring.  However it goes I'm sure the fan base for the Dodgers are ecstatic, as is MLB, in the prospects of having new ownership that will put the best interest of the team before there own.

Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:50 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Good for the Dodgers.  It will be nice to get such a historic franchise out from under the freaking mess that has cast a large shadow over the orginization.  Good luck Dodger fans!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or