Skip to comments.Frank McCourt agrees to sell Dodgers
Posted on 11/01/2011 10:21:07 PM PDT by Nachum
Frank McCourt agreed Tuesday to sell the Dodgers, abruptly surrendering the team after fighting to retain it over two years and in two courts.
McCourt and Major League Baseball have agreed to seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an auction of the Dodgers. The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much now.
The league hopes a new Dodgers owner can be in place by opening day.
The new owner would be the third since Peter O'Malley sold the team to News Corp. in 1998. The Dodgers had remained in the O'Malley family since its patriarch, Walter, moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.
Photos: The Dodgers and the McCourts
The sale agreement caps what might be the most tumultuous season in club history, which started with a fan nearly beaten to death in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and ended with the league charging McCourt with "looting" $189 million in team revenue for personal use. The Dodgers called that allegation "inflammatory" and unsupportable.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimesblogs.latimes.com ...
(Grew up on Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax).
But not Mark Cuban.
The Dodgers should never have left Brooklyn.
What’s this talk about leaving Chavez Ravine for a new ballpark in downtown LA?
I didn’t even know there was a downtown LA, and I lived there for a few years.
Sell to his lawn boy for $5.00
That’d be cool.
It’s not like “owners” actually own anything, maybe the MLB should just buy all the teams since they make all the decisions anyway.
It’s a great stadium. I used to attend at least a few games per year in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, back when the Dodgers were still the best entertainment deal in town ($10 - $15 for great seats), and the crowds were far better behaved.
It’s now the 3rd oldest stadium in baseball after Fenway and Wrigley. Amazing how time has flown.
FINALLY he has decided to do the right thing for once and sell the team. Maybe now the Dodgers can bring in some much needed talent.
I wanna buy the Dodgers!
Maybe Fred Wilpon will sell the Mets and buy the Dodgers. He bleeds Dodger blue.
He recently got sole possession of the Dodgers after the divorce settlement. He wisely didn’t want to split the profit from the sale with his ex-wife.
The real value is the land. There has long been talk of putting a football stadium in Chavez Ravine. You buy the Dodger’s, you buy yourself front-runner status at bringing a new NFL team to Los Angeles.
I know the city wants this next to Staples Center, but Chavez Ravine would be almost as good, and better because it would be 100% private.
There won’t be much profit. He will still owe his wife. But the sale is rumored to fetch $1.3 billion.
It amazes me. The O’Malley’s were more or less forced to sell it because they were afraid of the tax liability if they gave it to the kids. If they only knew how much it would appreciate in 15 years! They sold it for $300 million to Rupert Murdoch/Fox. Now if anyone could have afforded to keep the team it would be Murdoch. But he didn’t care about the team at all, he wanted the broadcast money and the local affiliate control. Ultimately it was a failed franchise and he sold it for about 50% profit to McCourt because Murdoch needed cash for his $6 billion satellite deal.
Now McCourt ran it to the ground, owes $500M on it, owes his wife another $500M (or whatever he owes), can’t pay the day to day operations of the team, and will probably end up paying $10 million or more to the kid who was nearly beaten to death by gang bangers (for whom the LA Dodgers means more than just baseball, not quite sure why) for wearing San Fran Giants memorabilia in the parking lot yet he will end up getting more than anyone ever got for a losing, out of focus team.
MLB is doing all it can to force McCourt out, but if they took the team (which they really want to do) it would be bad precedent and scare the other owners. So they facilitate the buy out with so much money nobody can complain.
It IS a great stadium. I walked around it once when the Dodgers were out of town. Got down to the lower level and the clubhouse door was wide open. Wish I’d gone in and had a peek.
Red Sox fans “dodged” a bullet: He was one of the suitors for the Red Sox before the Henry/Werner/Lucchino/NYTimes, etc.
group wound up getting them. I understand LA refers to him as “The Boston Parking Lot Guy”
(supp. he had owned some land on Boston waterfront and was
going to put up a new stadium there if he got team. He may have since sold off that land.)
“(Grew up on Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax).”
1959-1965 Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Junior Gilliam, Roy Campanella, Johnny Podres, Wally Moon, Carl Furillo, Peewee Reese, Larry Sherry, Charlie Neal, Johnny Roseboro, Norm Larker, Frank Howard, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills,Ron Fairly, Claude Osteen, Willie Davis, Lou Johnson, Wes Parker, Ron Perranoski, Vin Scully, Walter Alston, Buzzy Bavasi.
Saw games at the Coliseum; homers over the LF net “Moon shots”.
Few pitchers in the game dominated like Koufax at his best.
My brother was a boy with three sisters and a baby brother who couldn't quite play then, but everyday he got us out there in the yard, the street the schoolyard and we played ball. We were the Dodgers and some of us were the enemy... the Giants.
I have vivid memories of the knots in my arm and the goose-eggs on my noggin from the errant pitches and hits. But I love my brother Tom for pushing us girls to play with him. Only one of us took up sports, but for the rest of us it was a truly amazing experience to remember and it bound us together as siblings.
Must say I had a crush on Frank Howard when I was 8 years old... ; ~ )
Gone but not forgotten...
Hopefully the new owner(s) have plans to move them back to where they belong ... BROOKLYN!
So did I.
To help his flagging construction bidness McCort took the Dodgers away from Vero Beach where they’d held spring training for decades and moved them to Arizona thus screwing Vero.
Sooo McCort has folk al across the country miffied at his sorry ass.
The Giants were in an even more difficult situation, since the Polo Grounds was an old, faded ballpark and the team really couldn't make any costly improvements because they were tied to a ground lease that made it impossible to justify major capital improvements to the building itself.
Not kidding, I thought he died earlier this year.
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My theory all along in this dispute was that the sports MSM's obsessive and excessive trashing of Frank McCourt was driven by ex-wife Jamie and her Democrat pals in Washington, both in Congress and the Obama Administration. As long as Jamie's goal was to obtain part of the team in divorce court, she applied the screws to Frank through her DC political pals, who in turn gave Commissar Selig and his Park Avenue lawyers (unknown to many, "MLB" has a lobbying operation in Washington) the motivation to come down with an iron fist on Frank. Selig and company, in an unprecedented move, vetoed the Dodgers' lucrative TV contract extension with Fox, which forced the bankruptcy filing. All along, the leftist MSM, at Selig's request, couldn't contain itself in framing Frank McCourt into the devil and Selig (whose history is far from spotless) as the White Knight coming to the rescue of Dodger fans.
It was hardly a coincidence that once Jamie had agreed that $130 million and a slew of luxury properties was sufficient for a comfortable life and that the team belonged to her ex-husband, Selig and crew agreed to moderate their hard-line approach and negotiated this compromise.
But Selig's legal crew did refer to "Chavez Ravine" in its legal briefs against the Dodgers, undoubtedly to offend McCourt and court favor with Mexican nationalists.
Chavez Ravine is where Dodger Stadium is located. I read at least one article saying that after a sale, they might leave the ravine and build a new ballpark downtown.
Maybe the O’Malleys could buy it back.
The Dodgers did NOT do poorly before leaving Brooklyn. They were drawing over a million a year. (In those days, that was a big number.) By contrast, the Giants drew a bit over 200,000 their last year at the Polo Grounds.
The real issue was that O’Malley wanted to build a ballpark near Atlantic and Flatbush in the heart of Brooklyn, but the city’s chief planner, Robert Moses, wouldn’t allow it. (He offered land in the Flushing Meadow in Queens (about where Citi Field is now.)
Ironically, the site in Brooklyn that O’Malley wanted is now the site of the Barclays Center, the soon-to-be home of the Nets.
Geographic names change over the years, as properties are developed and change character. Map makers keep up with those changes. "Chavez Ravine" was the former name of the property, not its widely accepted (except for some Mexican nationalists and some anti-Dodgers baseball fans) current name.
That's not exactly an inspiring figure, since they were in about the middle of the pack among major leage teams, despite the fact that they fielded superb teams with multiple future Hall of Famers and near-HOFers, winning NL pennants or coming close just about every year over the previous decade.
Clearly, there were lots of legitimate problems with small and aging Ebetts Field, not the least of which was lack of parking and deterioration of the surrounding neighborhood.
Which is why O’Malley wanted a new park. But there was no problem with Brooklyn. As I said, they drew over a million to a dilapidated old ballpark that didn’t have the easiest access.
By any standard, they certainly didn't fare poorly on the field. Their teams were consistent contenders in the NL pennant race from 1946 to 1957. Plus, they kept the same nucleus of popular stars (including a bunch of future Hall of Famers and near Hall of Famers) on the roster over much of that time frame.
The key to the decision to leave Ebetts Field was that the general attendance trend was down over that decade or so. A lot of that was that due to demographic change, with many loyal Dodger fans moving out of Brooklyn to Queens, Long Island, and beyond. These old fans would prefer to watch their team on TV rather than take a lengthy trip and fight the traffic and parking problems or use public transit to see them in person.
The Giants were in an even more difficult situation, since the Polo Grounds was an old, faded ballpark and the team really couldn't make any costly improvements because they were tied to a ground lease that made it impossible to justify major improvements to the building itself.
The Giants, like just about all teams operating out of the older stadiums at that time, owned the Polo Grounds. They were not renters. So I don't know what "ground lease" you are referring to. The Giants hit their peak on the field with their 1954 World Championship. They were able to draw sellouts to the two World Series games at the Polo Grounds. In the three remaining years there, despite the fact they had Willie Mays, they were never in pennant contention, and had losing records in the last two of them. So, unlike the Dodgers, a large part of the Giants' problem was their playing personnel. Fans tend to be attracted to winning teams and tend to not bother going to the park to see losers.
The Giants too had legitimate problems with parking and a deteriorating neighborhood. But they did have one advantage that the Dodgers didn't have: the largest seating capacity in the NL. And the Polo Grounds wasn't so old and faded that the new New York Mets couldn't use it for a couple of years in 1962 and 1963.
Comparing the building of a baseball stadium to that of an indoor basketball (and/or hockey) arena in a particular location is like comparing oranges to pineapples. The baseball stadium would have to accommodate more than twice the capacity of the indoor arena, causing more traffic congestion. It also would require a much larger area, including more parking facilities. Plus, the baseball stadium would host more games per year. Overall, getting a baseball stadium built is by far the more complicated task.
Interestingly, the troubles the Dodgers had in getting a new ballpark built wasn't because Robert Moses "wouldn't allow it" . . . it was because Moses wouldn't use the City's eminent domain powers to condemn the land and give it to O'Malley for substantially less than it would have cost him to buy it outright.
“Chavez Ravine is where Dodger Stadium is located.
Geographic names change over the years, as properties are developed and change character. Map makers keep up with those changes. “Chavez Ravine” was the former name of the property, not its widely accepted (except for some Mexican nationalists and some anti-Dodgers baseball fans) current name.”
I am a white guy from Orange County, who watched games at the Coliseum, remember going to new Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine.
I’m no Mexican nationalist, and certainly not anti-Dodgers.
My wife’s Italian immigrant grandparents lived east of that area, around 1920 once they met in San Francisco and then moved to LA.
Now of course it isn’t a great area. There’s nothing political about calling it Chavez Ravine.
Chavez is named after a 19th century LA councilman, not Caesar Chavez.
A couple of interesting articles about the legal proceedings surrounding the demise of the Polo Grounds:
A million fans a year would be very low attendance today, but was considered the standard in the 1950s and 1960s. So yes, it was good attendance. Especially considering the ballpark.
Moses was quite willing to use eminent domain to give the Dodgers land in Flushing Meadow, but he worked extra hard to keep O’Malley from being able to acquire the land at Atlantic and Flatbush. It didn’t fit Moses’s plan.
Yes, I knew that the name "Chavez Ravine" went quite a way back, and therefore it was obviously named for a Chavez earlier than Cesar Chavez.
The reasons for Mexican nationalist ramifications of the name "Chavez Ravine" do not relate to Cesar Chavez of the agricultural workers union. They relate to accusations of several Mexican-Americans living in the area who were allegedly evicted from their homes by city officials using eminent domain to acquire the land necessary to build Dodger Stadium, during the late 50s or early 60s. That's still a sore spot with some Mexican nationalist radicals and their leftist sympathizers in the media who use the former name "Chavez Ravine" to evoke the history of Mexican-Americans in the area and this still controversial episode, and to emphasize their position that the property was unjustly taken from the Mexican-Americans by the "Anglo" community at large. (There was a TV documentary about this a few years ago.)
I'm challenging you to show me any maps of Los Angeles since shortly after Dodger Stadium was opened in 1962 on which "Chavez Ravine" was used. In the early years of Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers made a conscious PR effort to avoid the use of "Chavez Ravine" (a "ravine" was just a huge hole in the ground and did not reflect favorably on the state-of-the-art new stadium they had built), while their American League tenants from 1962 to 1964, the newly created Los Angeles Angels, would use the name "Chavez Ravine" to irk the Dodgers. So the name of the place was a divisive issue between the two clubs and the two leagues in that time frame. Since then, "Chavez Ravine" has pretty much faded into the dustbin of history and, as I said, off local maps. It should only be used now in historical references.
“I’m challenging you to show me any maps of Los Angeles since shortly after Dodger Stadium was opened in 1962 on which “Chavez Ravine” was used.”
I made no claim about maps. What difference does it make?
The world is just the way that it is. Lost Angeles is just the way it is, also.
I don’t live there, and would not do so of my own free will.
Do you remember Fernando-mania? He was a good player, and brought happiness to fans.
Remember when the people in East Los Angeles cornered the Midnight Stalker, a hispanic psycho from Tejas?
For several decades Los Angeles was just about the most exciting city in the US, faults and all.
Fifty years from now, when I’m long gone, cities will live on, and the USA will still have plenty of problems.
I’m a product and resident of fairly pristine suburbia, more comfortable in smaller places, but I’ve walked the streets of New York, London, Rome, and a few others.
I much prefer California coastal suburbs, faults and all too.
Right now my biggest problem is surviving the effed up economy, not the name of Dodger Stadium.
[Walter] OMalley wanted to build a ballpark near Atlantic and Flatbush in the heart of Brooklyn, but the citys chief planner, Robert Moses, wouldnt allow it. (He offered land in the Flushing Meadow in Queens (about where Citi Field is now.)The Dodgers may not have been doing poorly before leaving Brooklyn, but Ebbets Field was rendered obsolete before her time---nobody anticipated Brooklyn's postwar growth hemming the park in, and a pre-Rickey/pre-O'Malley regime had let the park go to seed enough that even Larry MacPhail's improvements to the park in the early 1940s were only going to hold it so far.
What Moses had in mind was what ultimately became Shea Stadium---he wanted to build a new multipurpose facility in Queens and jam it down O'Malley's throat. Moses had actually vowed that never again would a privately-built, privately-owned sports facility rise in New York so long as he ran the planning and building show in the city and the state. And New York's mouselike politicians weren't exactly going to stand up to the man, either.
What should be an intriguing historical question---if O'Malley was that adamant about not moving to Queens (If we play in Queens, we won't be the Brooklyn Dodgers anymore), why didn't Moses think about the Giants, who also needed a new ballpark in about the worst way possible (the Polo Grounds was a rambling wreck by the same time), who couldn't afford to build a new ballpark on their own, and who didn't have the strict borough identification the Dodgers had? Moses could have gotten what he wanted for his new ballpark (the Giants could have hung on awhile knowing they'd have a new home), and O'Malley might---might---then have been allowed, still, to build what he planned to build in Flatbush. So long as the Giants weren't even part of Moses' thinking, Moses had O'Malley over a barrel, even with O'Malley's political connections.
Reportedly, Peter O'Malley has indicted that he might want to come back into an executive role as part of a new ownership group.
“I remember Chavez Ravine being used colloquially in writings about the Dodgers for many years,”
Me too. Back then it didn’t seem to have the potentially deep political meaning and symbolism, as some here seem to feel it must.
I guess long before I became a true conservative, I came to accept things as they were, here in the southwest.