Dodger Fans Celebrate - But Be Careful What You Wish For
Late Tuesday night came words that most Dodger fans had hoped to read or hear for quite some time:
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process.
While those exact words might not have been what they exactly expected, what they meant was what was hoped for: Frank McCourt is selling the Dodgers.
That’s right. He’s selling it all: the Stadium, the parking lots, the tickets, the Dodger Dogs, the Bermuda grass field, the press box, the scoreboard, the media rights.
After it was announced that pitcher Clayton Kershaw, centerfielder Matt Kemp and rightfielder Andre Ethier won the Rawling Gold Gloves for defense in their respective positions earlier in the evening, it truly was a night for Dodger fans to celebrate. The nadir of the McCourt era is over!
Of course now is the appropriate time to piss on everyone’s parade.
This is a similar feeling to what fans felt when News Corp, aka Fox, sold the team in 2004. The assholes who traded away Mike Piazza just so they could gain a foothold in the Miami market were going away. It couldn’t get any worse than them.
As every Dodger fan has lived through these past years, things certainly got a lot worse.
And so too now, things could get worse from here. The new owner could be only out to make profits and cut payroll to achieve that goal. The new owner could be completely incompetent. The Dodgers could turn into a giant version of the Kansas City Royals or the Jeffrey Loria-era Florida Marlins. Or even worse, the Dodgers could become the Los Angeles Clippers.
It is also worth noting that the Blackstone Group that will be overseeing the sale is the same group that bought Sam Zell’s Equity Office Properties Trust for $39 billion in 2007, the same year Zell bought the Tribune Company which includes the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Oh, that company is in bankruptcy right now. The Blackstone Group also bought the Hilton Hotels, Michaels Stores and Orangina in leveraged buyouts in the last decade. It is unknown if The Blackstone Group will retain any part of the team in managing the sale of the Dodgers.
And to further piss on the parade, it’s unlikely that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will buy the team. If MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was dead set against Cuban winning the Texas Rangers in auction in bankruptcy court last year, what makes anyone think Selig will allow that now?
Yes, it is all right to celebrate. But we must keep things in perspective. Just because McCourt is gone does not ensure that things will get better. But because McCourt is gone, there is a chance things will get better, and that is worth celebrating.