SBD/June 16, 2011/Franchises

MLB Expands Look Into Dodgers By Interviewing Former Team Execs

MLB reportedly asking former Dodgers employees about stadium security
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's office "has extended its investigation into the Dodgers beyond the scrutiny of financial documents by soliciting interviews with former team executives," according to sources cited by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. The league's investigation "is now nearing its conclusion, bringing a possible end to the ... questions about whether Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will make payroll." The sources indicated that "at least some of the interviews with former McCourt employees have included questions about Dodger Stadium security." It is unclear "how many former McCourt employees were asked to speak with investigators and how many agreed to do so." Shaikin notes McCourt "generally requires employees to sign a confidentiality agreement that prevents them from discussing the Dodgers' business even after they no longer work for the team." Meanwhile, McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, are set to return to court today "for the final scheduled session of divorce settlement negotiations" (L.A. TIMES, 6/16).

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN NEED: YAHOO SPORTS' Tim Brown noted in the "midst of unsightly malfunctions of franchise and marriage, leading to Selig’s seizure of the Dodgers’ financial operations almost two months ago, McCourt has engendered the public sympathy of some principals in the African-American and Hispanic communities." Twenty L.A.-area ministers, "many African-American, sent a letter recently to the commissioner’s office in support of McCourt." Political advocate Antonio Gonzalez and a "handful of Latino leaders have done the same." Gonzalez, President of the William C. Velasquez Institute, said that McCourt "forged a relationship with the Hispanic community, partly by refurbishing 13 mostly inner-city sandlot fields while also supporting programs run by his and other agencies." Gonzalez said that the Dodgers "understand his neighborhood for the first time in generations" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/15).

WAITING IN THE BULLPEN: ESPN MLB analyst Orel Hershiser earlier this month revealed he had joined a prospective ownership group, led by fellow former Dodgers star Steve Garvey, that said it is "researching opportunities that could arise or already exist." ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne noted Hershiser essentially was "letting everyone know that he's willing to play the role Nolan Ryan so ably played for the group that bought the Texas Rangers last year." Since revealing his role in Garvey's group, Hershiser's phone "has been ringing off the hook." He did not "expect the kind of heavy-hitters with the capital to fund a realistic ownership bid, to track him down so quickly." Hershiser: "There are tremendous people that have a tremendous amount of money that have a heart for the Los Angeles Dodgers." Shelburne wrote the Dodgers "clearly haven't worked under McCourt's ownership," and Selig "has already come out to the mound." Shelburne: "But so far, no call has been placed to the bullpen to get the team out of this wretched jam" (ESPNLA.com, 6/15).
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MLB, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers

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