SBD/February 16, 2011/Franchises

McCourt Downplays Financial Troubles, Vows To Keep The Dodgers

McCourt wants Dodgers fans to judge him by team's performance, not off-field issues
Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt yesterday said that "fans should not be concerned about his financial troubles and renewed his vow to own the team whenever his costly and lengthy divorce proceedings conclude," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. McCourt: "I'm very, very confident at the end of the process that I'm going to own the baseball team and, someday, my four kids are. My confidence in that has not changed." The Dodgers posted a losing record last season, which "could affect season-ticket sales even without a struggling economy and the damaging revelations from McCourt's divorce trial." McCourt said season-ticket sales were "fine" and "right on projections," but would not say whether sales were up or down from '10. He also claimed that the "fans he meets do not want to discuss his divorce, his debt or whether he would sell the team" (L.A. TIMES, 2/16). McCourt yesterday said that "nothing about the day-to-day operations of the team has changed" since L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon rejected McCourt's request to throw out a marital property agreement that would have given him sole ownership of the Dodgers. McCourt: "If anything I've redoubled my efforts to bring a winner to L.A. That's how I spend my days." McCourt went on to say that he "wouldn't change a thing about his seven years as owner" of the Dodgers, and maintained that fans "should judge him and the team by its performance" (ESPNLA.com, 2/15).

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT: In L.A., Dylan Hernandez writes another losing season for the Dodgers "could be devastating for McCourt as he fights to remain in control" of the franchise. With "pressure mounting and attendance declining, there are fears within the organization that if the Dodgers start slowly this year, sweeping changes could cost some employees their jobs." The Dodgers head into "what could be a make-or-break season for McCourt with a player payroll that is higher than last year's," but also with a rookie manager in Don Mattingly and a "lineup that doesn't feature an established middle-of-the-order hitter" (L.A. TIMES, 2/16).
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