Trouble in Los Angeles

April 22, 2011

Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) is not a well liked man among baseball fans, even fans of the Brewers, the team he once owned.  Now, Selig may have made even more enemies in the city of Los Angeles after he announced that the MLB would be taking over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In a story which seems more like one for the daytime Soap Opera’s filmed not too far away, the Dodgers found themselves in a financial stranglehold as Jamie and Frank McCourt (the owners of the team) have been embattled in a bitter divorce, with rumors of affairs with bodyguards and poor financial decisions.  Reports note that not only have the two caused the team to be in a bad financial position, with Jamie being quite poor at doing the duties as CEO of the Dodgers.

Things got so bad, that the team is reported by the Los Angeles Times to have gone to Fox television to get a $30 million loan in order for them to be able to make payroll for the next month.  After hearing this, Bud Selig decided that he needed to step in, and that MLB would take over the team for the time being.  Frank McCourt isn’t taken this sitting down, and has retained legal council and is said to be planning a lawsuit against Major League Baseball.  In the LA Times article it is noted that this is not the first time that the Dodgers had to go out and take a loan from Fox to cover their monthly expenses.  Selig himself has previously rejected a loan the Dodgers tried to take out for $200 million from Fox, using their television rights money as collateral for the loan.  Clearly Selig is unhappy with the financial situation of the team, it’ll be interesting to see what happens while the Dodgers are under MLB control.

Being under control of the league is not a death sentence by any means, as the Texas Rangers were under MLB control for part of 2009 and 2010 as they went through bankruptcy proceedings.  The Rangers still managed to do quite well during this time period in terms of on-field performance.

After taking over the Dodgers, many were already turning their eyes to the New York Mets who have been in trouble because of financial trouble related to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.  The Mets are currently being sued $1 billion (about how much they are worth) for money they gained from others in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.  Despite the fact that the Mets had to take a $25 million loan out, Bud Selig has said that for the time being the Mets are safe and in a better position than the Dodgers.

Makes me wonder how much trouble the Dodgers really are in financially.