SBD/Issue 64/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: McCourt Unhappy With Fuller's Taiwan Trip

In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt is "threatening legal action" after Jeff Fuller, the driver with whom Frank alleges his estranged wife Jamie had an affair, last week met "with a Taiwanese legislator interested in strengthening ties with the Dodgers." Fuller presented Justin Chou with a Dodgers jacket and baseball signed by manager Joe Torre, and Chou in turn invited Jamie McCourt to visit Taiwan. Chou said that he was "unaware that neither Fuller nor Jamie McCourt currently work" for the team. Dodgers VP/PR & Broadcasting Josh Rawitch said that Fuller's visit "was not on behalf of the club," which is in discussions to play exhibition games in Taiwan in March. Frank McCourt's attorney Marshall Grossman said that he is "reserving the right to take 'whatever legal steps are necessary' to prevent Fuller and Jamie McCourt from presenting themselves as representatives of the Dodgers" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).

Rays' Overextended Budget Heading Into
This Year Could Mean Reductions In '11
THE FUTURE IS NOW: Rays officials Friday indicated that "pushing the payroll to, and possibly beyond," a franchise-record $70M to "make a run at the playoffs this season could lead to potentially significant reductions in 2011 and beyond." Rays President Matt Silverman said the high payroll is "well above our comfort level." Silverman: "We extended last year, we're overextending heading into this year. We'll see the effect on this in the future." He added, "This season we will be gunning again for that league-average attendance. There is that connection between the revenues that we generate and the investment we can make" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/12).

SAME OLD STORY? In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik noted the Pirates yesterday "shockingly non-tendered Matt Capps, who was scheduled to fill the important role of closer," which offers more evidence that "profit trumps everything in the Pirates organization and any kind of financial risk must be assiduously avoided." Not only is the team now "left without a closer, it received nothing in return." The decision "was a shocker, but when it comes to finances, really, no one should be surprised by anything the Pirates do" (, 12/13). Also in Pittsburgh, Ron Cook writes, "It is incomprehensible how the Pirates can give away one of their few commodities without getting anything in return" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/14).

MOTOWN BLUES: In Detroit, Jerry Green wrote baseball has become the "saddest of all our sports," because the game "no longer is a sport of competition." The Tigers are "victims of the ruling realism of the era." It is "just too expensive in today's baseball to be able to win." The club last week traded CF Curtis Granderson and P Edwin Jackson, and "despite their denials and copouts, the Tigers can no longer afford to compete with the elite clubs" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/12).

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