|................. 0 1 / 1 6 / 2 0 0 4
This page will grow as our long national -- er, Angeleno -- nightmare proceeds.
McCourt's businesses and holdings are reported to be in the hundreds of millions. "A person with a net worth in the low hundreds of millions would need a partner for acquisition in the $400 million range," Ganis said. "The Dodgers are losing money. There is not the cash flow to support debt."That should have been a wakeup call for Dodger fans. It wasn't.
The Boston Globe runs a story indicating McCourt is actively rebidding the concessions. Since one of the entities helping him buy the team is concessionaire Aramark, this amounts to a knife in the back.
Late Saturday, the New York Daily News reports free agent Vladimir Guererro, a widely-discussed target of the Dodgers in the offseason, has signed with a team thought out of the running -- the Angels. The Angels confirm the signing a scant two days later. For many Dodger fans, this is the last straw. The Halos have acquired four quality players in the offseason; the Dodgers, none, and with top free agents virtually all signed, the Dodgers begin to look in serious trouble for 2004.
With major league owners scheduled to vote this month on whether to approve the bid of would-be Dodger buyer Frank McCourt, a source said Sunday that McCourt asked Commissioner Bud Selig whether some owners might vote against him if he spent freely to acquire Guerrero yet presented a financing package heavily dependent on loans. Selig offered no assurances, the source said, and McCourt sent word to General Manager Dan Evans to cease talks with Guerrero.In other words --
This is especially terrible considering that the McCourt-era Dodgers would start life immediately in violation of the terms of the debt service rule. Under that circumstance, Bud Selig can force any move to cut costs imaginable -- including vetoing any new signings.
When are you going to turn around and sell the Dodgers to somebody like Arte Moreno?
Selig took issue, however, with the perception that he may be forcing owners to accept McCourt simply because of his desire to placate News Corp., which subsidizes baseball through its national and regional TV contracts.
"Rules are rules," he said, "and there are no exceptions.
"We have very stringent ownership rules that are for everyone's protection and they will be fastidiously and aggressively applied.
"We need the Dodgers to be the Dodgers; they're one of our flagship franchises, but we have to be positive they'll be operated in a manner that their fans deserve."
This is the first indication we have that Selig realizes the scope of the tragedy if the Dodgers -- the principle team in baseball's second largest market -- were shanghaied by second-rate ownership just to satisfy News Corp. Cast in that light, his move to quash a Vlad-Dodgers signing may be the wakeup call some people needed.
Few in this town have talked the talk more and walked the walk less. McCourt is strong on vision. Doing is his problem. Cooperative is not a word often associated with the man. For years he has presented countless slide shows with his vision of the New Boston on the other side of the Fort Point Channel. No other plan was ever grand enough for McCourt. He was going to buy the Red Sox. He was going to build a new Fenway on the waterfront. Instead, 25 years after McCourt bought his South Boston land from a bankrupt Penn Central, what we have down there is acres of parking lots.
Broad's bid requires "credits of $50 million", and "Fox must agree to loan him $80 million, interest-free, for four years, or provide a credit of $16 million.
This, by the way, is not the first bid Broad made for the Dodgers -- back in March 2003 he joined a ownership consortium with David Checketts offering to pay News Corp $600M for the team and the Fox Sports West networks. "Sources close to Broad, however, said Fox had treated him with 'disrespect' by never taking his overtures seriously." News Corp dawdled, preferring to find a buyer willing to pick up just the team... some sucker like McCheap, er McCourt.
Ross Newhan of the Times says "It Still Looks Like a Pretty Hard Sell", noting that McCourt has one thing still going for him: his window of exclusivity that doesn't expire until 1/31. McCourt is "expected to meet with baseball officials and lawyers in Los Angeles this week in another attempt to resolve the debt-servicing issues. (But as I've asked before, if they haven't gotten these issues solved by now, when will they get solved?)
In the flurry of reports, the Daily News publishes two articles after being silent for nearly a week. Rich Hammond quotes an anonymous source within baseball that
"I'd give him three years before he has to sell the team," another source said. "He will either realize he can't do it, or he just won't be able to make payroll."Also, Steve Dilbeck weighs in with an opinion piece unequivocally favoring the Broad bid.
Thanks to Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts for pointing out these Daily News stories.
The city council gets in the act, finally, as "Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss introduced a motion that was seconded by six colleagues on Tuesday urging the team and baseball to pursue local ownership." Also, the Times runs an op-ed piece in favor of the Broad bid, and therefore, against McCourt. The Daily News runs a similar story, including additional confirmation that the McCourt bid has handcuffed Dan Evans ability to improve the team.
Late Thursday an Associated Press story says the sale package paperwork will be sent to owners as soon as Friday, 1/23, with a vote to be scheduled for the following week.
It's all about formalities now.
Steve Dilbeck of the Daily News wants to blame Peter Chernin for this mess.
"With an owner who has less money than the guys who bought the Kings from Bruce McNall, they don't stand a chance," Gregory said, referring to Joe Cohen and Jeffrey Sudikoff, who drove the hockey team into bankruptcy proceedings in 1995, one year after they purchased controlling interest.If it takes bankruptcy, so be it.
A more telling sign, though, came from McCourt's wife, Jamie, who was introduced as the team's vice chairman, instantly making her perhaps the most powerful woman in all of sports.
When asked about the Dodgers' ability to acquire a hitter, Jamie McCourt answered, "Well, when we get a GM ..." then quickly corrected herself and instead made reference to the "situation" being settled.
Last modified: Sat Nov 26 12:02:09 PST 2005