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SBD/May 9, 2011/Franchises
McCourt Could Lay Claim To Dodger Stadium Even If He Sells The Team
Published May 9, 2011
EVERYONE AGAINST FRANK: Two sources indicated that the Dodgers' situation "is not on the agenda" for this week's MLB owners meeting in N.Y., and "no action is expected with regard to the team." The L.A. TIMES' Shaikin noted if the Dodgers fail to meet payroll at the end of this month, reported to be a possibility, MLB "would pay the salaries, with McCourt almost certainly asked to sell the team." If he "were to refuse, the league constitution specifically provides for 'involuntary termination' of the franchise if the owner fails to repay any debts to the league within 30 days." Any "involuntary termination requires a three-fourths vote of the owners." None of the "other 29 owners has spoken out publicly in support of McCourt, and one said Selig has all the votes should he recommend the Dodgers' franchise be terminated." The owner said, "The vote would be 29-0" (L.A. TIMES, 5/7). In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote, "Still wondering whether Larry Lucchino emerges as a front-runner to buy the Dodgers" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/8). In N.Y., Bob Raissman named McCourt the "Dweeb Of The Week" for "continually spinning his self-imposed Dodgers debt to the consternation of MLB and Dodgers fans." McCourt's media appearances are "getting very tired very fast." Raissman: "McCourt's best course of action would be to turn this into a comedy tour, then, maybe, more people would pay attention to him. Until that happens, he might be better served by laying low and shutting up" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/8).
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: ESPN L.A.'s Ross Newhan wrote under the header, "Bud Selig Due Some Blame For Mess." The MLB commissioner "shares a responsibility in the demise of the Dodgers under the McCourts." Selig's support of the McCourts' "highly leveraged purchase of the Dodgers for $430 million from Rupert Murdoch's media giant News Corp. came as a shock." But given Murdoch's "financial tentacles into baseball at a time when other networks were dropping out of baseball coverage, Selig ignored some red flags and approved the deal." Still, Selig has "taken the right step after taking the wrong one in 2004" (ESPNLA.com, 5/6). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro noted the Mets and Dodgers played a three-game series at Citi Field this weekend, five years removed from being the "class of the National League." Vaccaro: "It is good that Bud Selig has started to try to fix the Dodgers (even if he deserves to take a hit for allowing the McCourts in the henhouse in the first place), and it’s admirable that he’s sticking by old friend Fred Wilpon, but the fact that these two flagship franchises have been allowed to wither to where they are is disgraceful" (N.Y. POST, 5/8). In N.Y., William Rhoden wrote there is "no question that Selig has shown Wilpon, a longtime ally, as much consideration as possible while appearing to aggressively go after McCourt." But Rhoden added, "Their overall situations sure look pretty similar to me. ... Everyone’s legacy is in jeopardy here." What MLB "needs from Selig is wisdom and evenhandedness." In the end, the commissioner "should probably let them both stay or kick them both out" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/7).
RED FLAGS ALREADY? In N.Y., Richard Sandomir profiled SAC Capital Advisors Founder Steve Cohen, a prospective Mets bidder whose profits from his hedge fund "have been consistently lucrative and whose trading records are now being examined as part of a discovery request by federal prosecutors in an insider-trading investigation." Cohen has been "accused of nothing improper, and has asserted publicly and vigorously that he has no cause to worry about ever being charged with wrongdoing." But he "would make for an intriguing and perhaps challenging addition to the ranks of Major League Baseball owners." Bidding for a minority stake in the Mets "appears to be down to three, at most," and two sources indicated that Cohen "could be the front-runner" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/7).