Dodgers debacle show why people despise big businessmen

(McCourt, credit: LA Times)
Though I’m a Giants fan after living in San Francisco for decades, I grew up listening to and rooting for the Dodgers. (Yes, a “purple” baseball fan).

I’d listen to Vin Scully announce the games, on the radio no less, as I drifted off to sleep as a child and go to some of the games. (Box seats were just $3.50 back then). The Dodgers’ longtime owners were the O’Malley’s — first Walter, then his son Peter.

Peter described his Dad’s management style: “As president, the way he ran the business, he believed in stability and very little turnover. It was the strength of the organization. The management team worked as well as the team on the field.”

This was evidenced in many ways, including the long tenure of both Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda as Dodgers managers and Scully, the broadcast voice.

But times changed. Rubert Murdoch owned the Dodgers and sold the team to its current owner, Frank McCourt. Here’s the latest sickening twist, a reminder why people hold rich businesspeople in such low self esteem:

“The Dodgers are closer than ever to a change in ownership after Major League Baseball rejected a proposed broadcast deal between the team and Fox Sports, denying the financially troubled ballclub a much needed infusion of cash.

“The decision handed down by Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday also invalidated last week’s divorce settlement between owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife Jamie, which had been predicated on both parties — and their lawyers — receiving an immediate piece of the television deal.

“This ‘further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt’ concerned Selig, according to a statement released by his office.

“The commissioner said it ‘would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.'”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

13 thoughts on “Dodgers debacle show why people despise big businessmen”

  1. What the McCourts have done to this MLB icon is a travesty. Yes, baseball franchises are a gross monopoly and should probably be further regulated, but that does not address the ugly behavior exhibited by Frank and Jamie.

    Good for Selig for nixing the Fox deal. Now let’s see if the McCourts can make payroll on June 30th; I hope not. If they can’t, Selig will seize the team and it put it up for sale, which will permanently remove the Dodgers ownership, and legacy, from any further sordid divorce negotiations.

    Why did this happen? This quote from the article sums it up pretty well: “[The] Dodgers’ new owner [is introduced] on Jan. 29, 2004. Major League Baseball unanimously approved the sale of the team to McCourt for $430 million from News Corp. It was a leveraged deal financed mostly by debt.” Feh.

    Jeff, as for your being raised as a child with the sounds of Dodgers baseball to lull you to sleep, I will pray for you. LOL!

    1. Why is it whenever I hear the name RUPERT MURDOCH I smell sulphur and burning flesh? Oh well, just me I guess…Kate

  2. Michael,
    LOL. You mean the buttery voice of Dodger announcer Vin Scully compared with loud, rowdy noises coming out of the Irish bars on Geary, packed with Giants fans? Yes, I’ve experienced both.

    1. LOL on steroids! C’mon Jeff, that’s comparing apples and drain cleaner.

      I was lulled to sleep by the syrupy “bye bye baby” of Russ Hodges in the 1960s, if you must know.

      However, I will admit that a visit to Dodger stadium back then we a whole lot safer than hangin’ w/ the rowdy alcoholics who liked to brawl in the bleachers at the ‘Stick.

  3. As much as I despise the Dodgers this scene stinks. Since the 94′ strike I stopped supporting professional sports for the most part at any level due to the corporate nature that has taken it over. For our son’s sake I have taken him to a couple Rockies games as a reward for good grades when we lived in CO, it was a boys weekend in the big city of Denver. We have gone to some River Cats games and I even took him to a Raider game a few years back with some relatives. For the most part we as a sport family support high school and college athletics.

    It has always been big money but something has drastically changed in sports, they are no longer athletes they are businessmen entertainers. I grew up going to Candlestick and taking pride in my Croix buttons. We hounded Pedro Guerrero every time the dodgers came to town and wanted to face Sutton and then Fernando. And had to swallow some pride when Dusty Baker came to the Giants first as a player and then later as a great manager. Despite being the bottom of the barrel SS Johnny Lemaster was the Giants shortstop for like a decade, he was our shortstop. Its a bad example but J. Disaster will always be our shortstop in my memories.

    That doesn’t exist any longer, nobody can claim that a player is their team player because that player will leave at the drop of a hat if they can make more money elsewhere.

    Team owners will pit one city against another trying to get more concessions out of the home city, its disgusting. To make some money will call Candlestick 3com or Monster Park. I guess sports are a microcosm of the corporatization of our society, the people/ fans aren’t a factor in the decision making process any longer.

    Sorry for the rant but I was a absolute die hard pro sports guy growing up and feel like something has been stolen from me along with millions of others, especially future generations.

  4. Ben:

    And don’t forget LeMaster’s gutsy backup at shortstop from 1978-80: Roger Metzer.

    Following the ’79 season, Metzer had a home accident with a power saw and cut off the tips of four fingers on his throwing hand. He nevertheless returned to the team and played 70 innings on defense in ’80, committing only one error.

    That was his final year as a player, and he hit only .074, but what a gutsy guy. My kind of Giant.

  5. Jeff, I am going to pretend that you ever admitted to being a Dodger fan. That is something that should be kept on a need to know basis. and THAT is something we DID NOT need to know:)

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