MLB Takes Over Operation Of Dodgers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Major League Baseball is taking the extraordinary step of assuming control of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team increasingly paralyzed by its owners’ bitter divorce.

Once among baseball’s glamour franchises, the Dodgers have been consumed by infighting since Jamie McCourt filed for divorce after 30 years of marriage in October 2009, one week after her husband fired her as the team’s chief executive. Frank McCourt accused Jamie of having an affair with her bodyguard-driver and performing poorly at work.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told Frank McCourt on Wednesday he will appoint a trustee to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the club. At the same time, Frank McCourt was preparing to sue MLB, a baseball executive familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because McCourt had not made any statements.

Reaction From Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly and General Manager Ned Coletti:

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club,” Selig said in a statement.

A person familiar with Selig’s thinking said the commissioner may choose to force a sale. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because Selig’s statement did not mention that.

Baseball officials could not recall another instance in modern times when the commissioner seized control of a team from its owner. Before Tom Hicks sold the Texas Rangers last year, Selig appointed McHale to monitor the Rangers but technically left Hicks in charge of the franchise while McHale worked behind the scenes.

Even when suspending George Steinbrenner from the Yankees in 1990 and forcing Marge Schott to sell her controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, the commissioner’s office allowed the owners to choose their successors as the controlling executive.

“This is one of the great franchises. It’s hard to imagine a mess like this ever having happened,” former Commissioner Fay Vincent said. “It’s a very sad situation. I feel very bad for baseball and for Bud.”

Selig said he will appoint his representative within a few days. Former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals chief executive Stan Kasten is a possible candidate, the person familiar with Selig’s thinking said. Reached by telephone, Kasten declined comment.

MLB Executive Vice President John McHale Jr. is another possibility as is Corey Busch, the baseball team executive said. Busch, a former San Francisco Giants executive vice president under Bob Lurie, helped negotiate the McCourts’ acquisition of the Dodgers.

In December, Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon in Los Angeles invalidated a March 2004 postnuptial agreement giving Frank McCourt sole ownership of the team, allowing Jamie to seek one half of the franchise.

Selig’s move came after The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Frank McCourt had arranged a $30 million loan from Fox, the team’s television partner. Selig has not approved a $200 million loan from Fox to the club, which was first proposed by the Dodgers last summer, and the Times said the money was needed to make payroll.

“As the 50 percent owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I welcome and support the commissioner’s actions to provide the necessary transparency, guidance and direction for the franchise and for Dodgers fans everywhere,” Jamie McCourt said in a statement.

The Dodgers have not won the World Series since 1988, the longest barren stretch for the franchise since winning its first title as the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955.

“I commend baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s (wresting) control of the Dodgers and bringing integrity back to the game,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich said. “It is my hope that the commissioner appoints a representative from the O’Malley family to oversee the team’s business affairs during the investigation – a return of the O’Malley family to the Dodgers would be a home run for fans and the Dodgers.”

The McCourts purchased the Dodgers from Fox, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., for $430 million in 2004. Payroll dropped in both 2010 and 2011; even though it stands at nearly $104 million, the Dodgers were 12th among the 30 teams on opening day.

“My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership,” Selig said. “The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

Selig’s move might be seen by some as a precedent should the New York Mets have additional financial problems. With owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz under pressure from a lawsuit tied to the Bernard Madoff swindle, the Mets borrowed $25 million last year from Major League Baseball. Unlike the McCourts, Wilpon is a longtime friend of Selig.

  • Karen

    Excellent. It’s about time. I hope they beef up security too.

    • Craig Steven Bowen


    • William Diaz

      Great! Now sell the Damn team and give the rightful owners( the money that was promised to the Mexican Americans), who were promised high rise low income housing. instead were driven from their homes, in the late 50’s! The truth will prevail! The story will be coming out real soon, about the Dodger organization!

      • John Q.

        Jesus!!!! That was 60 years ago get over it and move on….

  • Ramalamma

    Thank goodness! The inevitability of this happening was obvious, but I am just glad it came sooner than later. The McCourts have single handedly destroyed the franchise and have been such selfish owners all the way around. I heard about the $30 mill loan this morning and got real nervous as it came on the heels of a story about attendance being down so early in the season…..

    Hope the McCourts get the boot and some owners are brought in that have a genuine love for the game, not a genuine love for the dollar…

    • Ramalamma

      Update: Looks like the IRS is involved now and is investigating the McCourts and the finances of the Dodgers….man, talk about reaping what you sow, kids!

  • Onebigmic

    We as Dodger Fans need the O’Malley’s back into the game.

  • Crazy Irish

    Mccourt sucks. Should have sold team to real owner last winter

  • True blue

    WONDERFUL NEWS!! MLB has spoken loud and clear! What have witnessed as fans is a storied franchise brought the ground by an owner whose “dirty laundry” was brought forth to all of Los Angeles.

  • dodger fan

    Finally MLB has taken charge..
    it took them long enough now they should sell to mark cuban and let him run the dodgers

  • potatoe

    mccourt Sucks………..

  • Bob

    Next up Mr O’Malley

    • jaided

      next up should be mark cuban. he will put a winning team together and not worry about the money.

  • It's About Time

    Sounds like a very prudent move by the commissioner. The McCourts don’t care about the Dodgers; the Dodgers could have been a used car business, a timeshare operation peddling condos, or some other sleazy operation like selling counterfeit merchandise near skid row. The Dodgers were just a means of obtaining money.

    • Donna

      Dodger fans rejoice! Our prayers have been heard! Now we can get owners in there who actually care about Baseball, The Dodgers and The Fans and not just using the club as a way to finance a lifestyle they can’t afford! The details coming out of the IRS just speaks of the GREED! They are “out of here!”II

  • George

    Couldn’t happier to hear that now i can make plans to attend a home game this year.

  • Scott

    I would guess Kim Ng is the logical candidate to run the team as she works for MLB now.

  • Deb in the SFV

    It’s about time ! Mc Court has ruined the Dodgers and clearly had/ has ZERO interest in the team…. let alone the safety of the loyal fans.

  • Deb in the SFV

    Great idea!

  • Isabel Ibarra

    Bud Selig Sucks too he approved & all other owner too & I’m happy he gone.This is the best day of my life.

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  • M Whitney

    Maybe they are ready to leave Lala-land and head home.

  • Mrviking

    Also heard that IRS is after them, they owe about 145 Million dollars in back taxes…Get’s uglier and uglier for the Mcourts…Great Day for the Dodgers and Doders fans…

  • Rudy Sanchez

    I agree with Scott, Ng makes sense interim. Now they can move forward.

  • Mrviking

    Frank Macourt = Madoff Ponzi schemes!!! Frank was broke and borrowed money to buy the Dodgers…They ( Mcourts)also had their two sons on salary from the Dodgers,without even having an actual Job ?

  • Rick Hirsch

    What a relief. I think things are worse~~it has to be really bad for Bud to take over the team. The Dodgers need someone who knows baeball, loves baseball and knows the Dodgers. Souunds like Vin Scully who everyone likes. From a business and image point of view and to repair the damage done by the McCourt’s we need to get Peter back

  • WH Jones

    YES! Something we can all agree on!

  • Santiago Ivan Villalobos


  • Santiago Ivan Villalobos

    it about time

  • Agent86

    MLB and Bud Selig are as much to blame. Why did they sell the team to the Mcourts in the first place. The Mcourts and MLB created this mess!

    Let’s hope MLB manages this tranistion properly this time around.

    Let’s go Dodgers!

  • Lzbth

    About time! The McCourt’s ruined the good name of the Dodgers and ruined the stadium’s beauty. Let all Dodger fans hope for the best.

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