SBD/September 7, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Bid For Dodgers Will Face Obstacles Before Reaching MLB

Sports business execs said that the $1.2B bid for the Dodgers, financed in part by state-run financial institutions in China, "would face substantial obstacles before being considered" by MLB. The execs "wondered if the offer was legitimate because the buyers had not been named, except for the front man William Burke, the founder of the Los Angeles Marathon." Additionally, the execs "questioned if financial institutions run by the Chinese government would be transparent enough to provide baseball with the necessary documentation to be properly vetted." The execs also "suggested that a non-negotiable bid for the team, its media rights and real estate might not be serious" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/2). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Richard Sandomir noted Dodgers' lead bankruptcy lawyer Bruce Bennett, a partner at N.Y.-based Dewey & LeBoeuf, "makes $975 an hour." The firm in a court filing last week revealed that for 34 days of legal representation ending July 31, it "incurred fees of $1.7 million" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/2).

WORTH A SHOT: The Mets last week broke off talks with hedge fund manager David Einhorn about buying a minority interest in the team, and in N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote Einhorn "saw a chance to parlay that original investment into becoming the controlling partner of the team, and reached for that chance with both hands." Lupica: "It was a smart, aggressive play by a hedge-fund guy, and if the financial circumstances with [Mets Owners] the Wilpons and Saul Katz hadn't improved, Einhorn might have pulled it off, in the short run." But this "was never about love of the Mets or love of baseball with David Einhorn, it was about the art of a deal he tried to make." It was "absolutely a short that could have turned into a nice, long-range plan, and didn't, because in the end the Mets decided they didn't need Einhorn as much as they thought they did" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/4).

OUT OF THE SHADOWS: In St. Louis, Joe Strauss reports the Cardinals, "moved by player complaints that reached a crescendo after Monday's shadow-shrouded loss" to the Brewers, announced that they "will not schedule games for midafternoon starts next season." Shadows crept over the plate during the bottom of the fourth inning of Monday's game, creating what Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols called a "ridiculous" situation. LF Matt Holliday compared it to hitting "in a dark room." Cardinals GM John Mozeliak yesterday confirmed that the team's preliminary schedule for the '12 season "has moved all holiday games either to evening or early afternoon start times while increasing the number of early afternoon game times for midweek getaway days" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/7).

THE SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS: A BOSTON GLOBE editorial stated the Yankees are taking their "reputation for evil a step too far by threatening to sue a mom-and-pop operation hawking anti-Yankees merchandise that parodies the team as 'Baseballs [sic] Evil Empire.'" Although Tracy Carey "has sold fewer than 1,000 T-shirts, the Yankees filed a copyright infringement claim, arguing that her logo deceives the public into thinking the merchandise is official team gear." The editorial: "But Carey's products are clearly not reproductions of the original. They are parodies, which are protected under fair use statutes" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/6).
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