SBD/May 2, 2011/Franchises

McCourt Talks About Meeting With Schieffer, MLB's Takeover Of Dodgers

Following his first meeting with Dodgers monitor Tom Schieffer on Friday, team Owner Frank McCourt "sat for an interview" to discuss that meeting and MLB assuming oversight of the team's business operations, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. A portion of that Q&A is below:

Q: You had the chance to meet him for the first time today. What do you take his role to be, and what do you take your role to be?
McCourt: I had a very cordial meeting with Tom. We were both very respectful of one another. We both understand this isn't personal. I asked him that very question, in terms of his role and his responsibility. It will be something I will react to accordingly. That said, I told him that he would receive cooperation from everybody here.

Q: You said MLB is welcome to investigate the Dodgers. ... You also said you want to be transparent. Are you willing to authorize MLB to publicly release the results of its investigation?
McCourt: I don't think that would be appropriate at all. That said, I have said to baseball that I am comfortable with them coming in, and providing them complete transparency.

Q: How do you explain that a team that turns tens of millions of dollars in gross profits every year gets to the point where you needed a personal loan to make payroll?
McCourt: We all have obligations in our personal life and our business life. The idea is to plan in advance to take care of them. We had a plan. We executed the plan. The problem here is that baseball has been unwilling to allow us to close the transaction.

Q: What happens, given that you cannot access this money, when the payroll comes due in May?
McCourt: We're going to continue to make sure that we have answered all of MLB's questions and move forward and close this transaction. ... When I was in New York earlier this week, I told baseball that if there were any other modifications they wanted made, so long as they were consistent with other transactions they have approved, then I would make the modifications. I went further to say that none of the proceeds from this transaction would be used in any way, shape or form for my personal life.

Q: You have said you believe the commissioner's investigation has what you called a "predetermined" outcome, that he wants to push this franchise in the direction of new ownership. ... There are a lot of people who would say, "This isn't going to work out." You're fighting very hard. Why?
McCourt:  I have just begun to fight. I just started. I haven't said a word for the last 18 months. ... Recently, my boys came to me and said it was OK for me to speak out and to defend myself. I'm going to do that. I'm going to continue to do that. I love this team. I love this game. I love this community (L.A. TIMES, 4/30).

GOING DOWN WITH A FIGHT: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck wrote McCourt "is a desperate man." Dilbeck: "He is flailing in all directions, though I remain convinced he believes every word he utters. He’s like the teenager who’s come up with some wild excuse for a boneheaded move, repeating it until he actually begins to believe his own ramblings. ... Somebody clearly told him he needed to sound contrite, but he can’t quite pull it off" (LATIMES.com, 4/30). In California, Howard Cole wrote, "Memo to Frank McCourt. Here’s the thing, the single most basic thing that you need to understand. No one, and I mean no one wants to hear a single syllable of what you have to say at this point in time. You’ve just got to stick a sock in it. ... The fundamental concept you’ve failed to grasp from Day One is that the Dodgers are not about you, and have never been about you" (OCREGISTER.com, 4/30).
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