The Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to L.A. in 1954, and from there to the moon in 2010. If you don’t believe me, read this, and then shake your head and have a little chuckle. The team of Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser has truly fallen on hard times. As of right now the Dodgers are currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy, being protected from their creditors, like Andruw Jones, and who owns the team, whether they’re for sale, and who is allowed to loan them how much emergency capital is all in legal dispute. How could this happen?
A history lesson:
Frank McCourt purchased the Dodgers in 2004 from Fox. You might think he did so with the proceeds from Angela’s Ashes , but apparently he somehow managed to do it with a parking lot, which gives a nice tragic-comical air of inevitability to the whole thing. From 2004 until now, the Dodgers have done some smart and/ or lucky things, like bring in Joe Torre, sign Hiroki Kuroda, and develop current major star and celebrity Matt Kemp. They also did silly things, including inking deals promising too much for too long to players who would do too little. They had better and worse years, but made the playoffs a couple of times, and they have never been a lost cause on the field. So, again, how did it happen?
They say that attendance is down by 8,500 per game. The first article linked to above claims this is because McCourt has been revealed as a charlatan, but if so the revelation comes not only from the team’s poor win-loss record, but also from the affairs of McCourt himself. The real core of financial disarray is nothing to do with baseball, but rather the divorce of Frank McCourt from Jamie McCourt, and that is where the actual problem is demonstrated. As of today, Frank McCourt owns the Dodgers as ‘debtor in possession,’ comically yet seriously referred to as ‘DIP.’ This status, however, is in dispute, because Jamie McCourt claims that the Dodgers are joint property from their marriage, and therefore half hers. Frank McCourt was savvy enough to have a property agreement worked out with her, but not a legal one, in the opinion of the court.
To reiterate; Jamie McCourt says ‘I’m divorcing you and putting my half of the controlling interest in the team up for sale.’
Frankie says ‘Relax; you don’t have a half of the controlling interest, check out this document you signed!’
Jamie says ‘My copy doesn’t say that.’
Judge says ‘You have two substantially different copies of what you claim to be the same document. Is this some kind of weird joke?’
*To be continued*