SBD/May 11, 2011/Franchises

McCourt May Try To Rally Support This Week At MLB Owners' Meetings

McCourt said to be in danger of missing Dodgers payroll this month
The Dodgers are "not on the agenda" at MLB owners' meetings in N.Y. starting today, but team Owner Frank McCourt "needs support, and fast," from other owners, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. If the Dodgers cannot meet payroll later this month, reported to be a strong possibility, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "could strip McCourt of his team with the approval of three-fourths of the owners." The owners this week are not expected to take a formal vote on McCourt's ownership of the Dodgers, but if he were to get support "from any owner besides himself, call it an upset." Still, Selig "could face hard questions on the Dodgers during this meeting." As the commissioner, Selig "works for the owners, after all," and sources indicated that he "has not sent them a memo explaining why he took over the Dodgers." A source said that McCourt is "convinced that Selig's investigation of the Dodgers will extend 'two weeks beyond him running out of money.'" Shaikin notes McCourt "will work the halls" at this week's meetings. Seven years since buying the Dodgers, he "has not developed the strong personal and collegial relationships within the game that can be so critical to surviving an ownership crisis" (L.A. TIMES, 5/11).

CAUGHT IN A RUNDOWN: Robert Sacks, an attorney for McCourt, sent a letter to MLB attorney Brad Ruskin yesterday claiming that MLB rescinded the appointment of former Pirates and Padres exec Dick Freeman to the Dodgers oversight team because Freeman "advised Jamie McCourt last year, during her divorce" from Frank. In the letter, Sacks said that Freeman "met with Dodgers personnel on Monday," and those staff members "had been told Freeman already had reviewed confidential Dodgers financial information." But MLB "denied that Freeman had access to any of the Dodgers' confidential financial information" (L.A. TIMES, 5/11). Sacks in his letter argued Freeman's appointment was more evidence that MLB's takeover of the Dodgers was "without appropriate diligence, independence or care." MLB officials yesterday said that they "were unaware of the conflict until Freeman broached the subject during a private meeting Monday" with Dodgers monitor Tom Schieffer (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/10).

NAME BRAND, DISCOUNT PRICES: The Dodgers are "offering field-level seats for $30 for their game" next Monday against the Brewers, a "markdown of as much as 75% for some tickets." Because the promotion is celebrating Dodgers RF Andre Ethier's recent 30-game hitting streak, Ethier merchandise "will be discounted 30% in the stadium on the day of the game." Through 18 home games, the Dodgers are averaging 36,672 fans per game at Dodger Stadium, down 16.5% from the same point last season (L.A. TIMES, 5/11).
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