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What could be worse than Frank McCourt? Well, a lot of things

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist

The Dodgers' iconic stadium could have a new owner, but will it be any better than Frank McCourt? (AP)  
The Dodgers' iconic stadium could have a new owner, but will it be any better than Frank McCourt? (AP)  

So, if Frank McCourt is actually selling the Los Angeles Dodgers, this is a good thing, right? Well, maybe.

Maybe in so many ways, in fact. Major League Baseball may have rushed the announcement of his agreement to put the team on Craigslist to make sure it was on the record in the public domain as soon as possible (1:07 a.m. ET), but there is still so much to determine before balloons are helium-ed and halls are rented and caterers engaged.

For one, McCourt could decide not to sell if he thinks he isn't getting his price. He could at least try to anyway, just to push his finger knuckle-deep in Bud Selig's eye one last time. And don't put it past him.

For two, McCourt's successor could actually be worse than McCourt. I know that's hard to fathom given the fact that McCourt is two of the worst things a sports owner can be -- charmless and poor -- but remember how much Dodgers fans loathed the Murdoch operation before they got McCourt.

In short, consider this your devil-you-know warning.

For three, the same people who gave you Frank McCourt will be giving you his replacement, and if that doesn't make your soul brown and curl at the edges, nothing will.

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You see, Frank McCourt is ultimately Bud Selig's fault, because vetting owners for membership is one of Selig's most important jobs, and in being McCourt's steward through the pitfalls and pratfalls of the approval process, Selig essentially invited a bank robber to set up a two-room apartment in the vault.

Selig at the time needed the Murdoch operation to move along, and he took McCourt after McCourt had been turned down to buy the Red Sox (and wouldn't that have been a riot), largely because McCourt wanted it, had a nice smile and a checkbook.

True, his wife's money was propping it up, and when that marriage was nuked, the checkbook became a sketchbook, and McCourt moved club money in so many ways that an entire team of forensic accountants burst into flames untangling the mess.

But that was Bud's job, too -- seeing that the league and team would need to be indemnified by putting it in her name, because she was the one who made the checks good. Or find another buyer -- Mark Cuban would have crawled over hot tar with his fly open for the club even then, and if he isn't necessarily Selig's cup of tea, he does pay his bills and keeps his fun money separate.

In other words, the real reason the release was released when most normal people were sleeping was not just to make sure McCourt was on record, but to ease Selig's migraine, and help get his fingerprints off the victim.

The team.

The next bit of fun we can expect will be when the highest bid for the team is from someone baseball doesn't want -- and in fairness, since they wanted McCourt, it's hard to imagine who this side of Kim Jong-Il baseball would be in a position to reject. McCourt won't care who buys it because he'll be gone, and Selig needs a win here to even out the loss he took on McCourt.

Thus, if Bud's guy isn't the high bidder, watch the hilarity ensue. If you thought McCourt could be hilariously litigious with no money, watch what he does with someone else's.

And you can trust us on this, the next guy could make Frank McCourt seem as charming as Bill Veeck and as gentlemanly as Art Rooney. If you don't think that's so, you don't read the business pages enough.

So that's why 1:07 a.m., in case you were wondering. This can't happen fast enough for McCourt, or for the business.

Then again, you know the old adage about haste making Frank McCourt. The Dodgers aren't out of the mine field yet -- all they know is that there's some open field out there and they can't go back into their trenches.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.com.


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