Ever since Frank and Jamie McCourt first announced they were getting divorced in the middle of the 2009 playoffs, Dodgers players, coaches and baseball operations people have insisted it hasn't affected the team's performance.
On Wednesday, the day that Major League Baseball announced it would appoint a representative to take over all aspects of the business and day-to-day operations of the Dodgers, nothing changed in their comments to the media.
"There's going to a Dodgers team no matter what," right fielder Andre Ethier said. "It's our job. The fans deserve a good product. There's been distractions the last few years. I wouldn't say this is another one. This has been going for two years. We'll find a way to keep it separate and make the Dodgers fans proud of this team."
Dodgers fans were proud of the offense's early outburst Wednesday. Juan Uribe hit two-run singles in the first and second innings, and Ethier had three hits, including his 100th career home run, in Los Angeles' 6-1 win over Atlanta. The Dodgers have won three of their last four games.
General manager Ned Colletti held a brief team meeting, about 10 minutes, before batting practice to pass along the news.
Colletti hadn't heard from the commissioner's office, and therefore didn't know much about how it would affect his ability to spend money on players.
"Well, it's certainly a historic day," Colletti said. "You never like to see things like this happen. I don't claim to know everything. I assume the people who know these things know far more than I do."
Players weren't worried about their paychecks or anything else for that matter.
"It's not going to be a distraction for us," center fielder Matt Kemp said. "It's the same day for us. We're going to continue to play baseball."
If anything, recent history gave Dodgers players a sense of comfort. Just last year, MLB took control of the Rangers, and that didn't stop Texas from spending money to improve a team that went to the World Series.
"They're adding Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina and all these players, and we're wondering how it's possible a team that doesn't have any money can add these players," Rod Barajas said. "Obviously, there's a way. If we need to make a transaction or there's a trade we can make, the team's hands are not tied."
In the eighth inning, Frank McCourt issued the following statement: "Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner's action today."
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