Thursday, April 21st, 2011...11:39 am

Anyone want to buy the Dodgers with me?

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We included a link about two weeks ago to an LA Times article talking about the financial troubles of LA Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and whether he had any legal remedies. Well, over the last 24 hours, that story has become a lot more interesting. Major League Baseball has stepped in and took over the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers, strongly indicating that McCourt will be forced out shortly. The rumored impetus was McCourt seeking a $20 million loan from Fox, the Dodgers television partner, without MLB approval to make payroll this month. MLB had previously refused to approve a prior loan from Fox.

It has been said that McCourt could file a lawsuit against Bud Selig and Major League Baseball to get control of his franchise back. However, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, baseball insiders don’t think McCourt has any chance of winning a court battle. In fact, some think he will actually benefit in the end, because Selig will ensure the team sells for a good figure, something in the ballpark of $750 million. Though McCourt will surely have to share any profit with his soon to be ex-wife and former co-owner (at least according to CA divorce court) Jamie McCourt, most people say the McCourts never really had that much money in the beginning and will end up better off due to a sale.

Either way, the Dodgers brand is suffering right now. Over the past few years they have went from a prime contender, losing in two straight NLCS to my beloved Phillies, to an also-ran in the competitive NL West, suffered through a very messy and public divorce among their two owners, to a savage beating of a Giants fan in the parking lot post-game and now finally to a takeover by Major League Baseball.

Now, I’m not sure where the law would sit on this. My best laid opinion would be that MLB has the right to do it; after all, they experienced with quasi-takeovers of the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers in the past. From what I can gather, the major professional leagues have a lot of control over their ownership groups. Just ask Mark Cuban; he has reportedly tried to buy in with both the Cubs and Pirates recently, to no avail. That, however, is a different debate. So the best bet is that the law will not protect Frank McCourt and he will soon no longer be the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, though he is likely to be well compensated for his loss. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lawsuit eventually.

If you would like to be the next Dodgers owner, contact me at sgmann@email.wm.edu and we can pool our resources and make a run at it.

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