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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Strike Three Called... Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers Strike Out

I awoke this morning to the news that pigs were flying, hell had frozen over, and that apparently, after a month of Sunday’s, the apocalypse was upon us.

For those raised on the steady stewardship the O’Malley family provided the storied Los Angeles Dodgers for over 40 years, news this morning of their bankruptcy filing was like a sucker punch.

This is a franchise that was once one of the most valued in sports. And the most innovative.

Baseball farm system? Developed by the Dodgers. First black baseball player? A Dodger. West coast baseball? Pioneered by the Dodgers. Tiered stadium design so all fans had open sight lines with no columns? Yep, that too came from the Dodgers.

Campanella, Snider, Reese, Koufax, Drysdale, Garvey, Orel, Fernando, and of course, Jackie Robinson.

Mike Piazza might have made that list, but after O’Malley sold the team, the new owners didn’t think he was worth keeping around.

We have been assured in press releases from the current owners today that there will be "no disruption to the Dodgers' day-to-day business, the baseball team or to the Dodger fans."

What the current owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, fail to understand is that their ownership constitutes a disruption of the Dodgers baseball team and is itself, a continuing nuisance to the fans.

From the moment the political leadership of Los Angeles rebuffed Peter O’Malley’s offer to build an NFL Stadium on Dodger property and bring football back to LA, we were doomed.

O’Malley saw the writing on the wall. Understanding that it was becoming increasingly hard for a family to make money with baseball as your sole business, he thought he would use his own money and build a brand spanking new state of the art football stadium in LA.

Los Angeles politicians however were still wedded to the aging Coliseum downtown and told him to back off. They had it handled. Strike one and O’Malley sold the team to Rupert Murdoch, head of FOX Broadcasting.

Soon after taking over, FOX axed the famous grilled Dodger Dog and then handed future Hall of Famer and fan favorite Mike Piazza his walking papers. Strike two.

Murdoch then sold the team to longtime Boston residents, Frank and Jamie McCourt, who learned nothing from Murdoch about respecting local legends and fired broadcaster Ross Porter, a Los Angeles sports institution almost before the ink dried on the contract.

Now I can understand that it is your team, and you should have the right to hire and fire who ever you want, but when you choose to whack a 28 year loyal employee, don’t you think a personal call might be in order?

The McCourts let Porter know he was being let go after 28 years by leaving a message on his answering machine! It was called third strike in the heart of the fans. And that was before we knew the lovely duo of Frank and Jamie had leveraged the team finances in a single handed bid to save the Los Angeles real estate market.

Today the Los Angeles Dodgers are bankrupt.

I hope the judge that will settle this understands that this bankruptcy extends well beyond the finances of the Dodgers. I hope he understands that it reaches into the very soul of this once great Los Angeles institution.

Like Murdoch before, the McCourts have failed.

Let’s hope there is indeed some disruption in the “day to day operation” of the Dodgers, because since the O’Malley family sold the team, that operation has struck out.

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Comments on "Strike Three Called... Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers Strike Out"


Blogger Z said ... (12:12 PM) : 

The whole scene has changed so much since the days of Koufax and Drysdale, sadly. So many friends don't go anymore because it's a very different atmosphere; people feel like tourists in their own town now.
I hope the Dodgers can get it together, and fast; what a fabulous institution they have always been.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (12:34 PM) : 

Z, unless and until they get an owner who not only has ties to Los Angeles, McCourt doesn't, and the Dodgers, they will never recoup the magic.

Before we even get to the security issues, baseball has to deal with the fact that because of actions by both Rupert Murdoch and Frank McCourt, people feel no connection to this team.

It is as if, as you said, the days of Drysdale, Koufax, Wally Moon, Garvey and countless others never happened.

Very sad...


Blogger Doug said ... (5:27 PM) : 

It is amazing how quickly things can change.

The Dodgers have proven to be quite the Baseball story through the years.

I hope the organization can make a comeback.

BTW, how is the well drilling business?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:42 PM) : 

Doug, on the well, we have water at 21 meters, but we need to get to about 30 for the good flow we need.

That'll be part of our summer work...

I too hope the Dodgers get back, but only with a good owners...


Blogger dmarks said ... (7:05 AM) : 

Time for them to go back home to Brooklyn.


Blogger Z-man said ... (9:46 AM) : 

I've kind of drifted away from the game over the years what with interleague play now and wild cards and this now mainstream strategy of not letting a pitcher who is pitching good finish the game and then bringing in a reliever that blows that game (or am I thinking of the Mets?). The way they let that announcer go, not good.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:12 AM) : 

Z... I can certainly hear you on the changes being made to the game... it was what made it special...

Alas, television and the siren song of money!


Blogger dmarks said ... (12:59 PM) : 

"Murdoch then sold the team to longtime Boston residents, Frank and Jamie McCourt, who learned nothing from Murdoch about respecting local legends and fired broadcaster Ross Porter, a Los Angeles sports institution almost before the ink dried on the contract."

Reminds me of when Tom Monaghan owned the Detroit Tigers.

He fired Bo Schembechler from the front office... .by FAX.

He fired Ernie Harwell. When Monaghan sold off the team, Harwell was hired back.

At Tiger Sta... er Comerica Park, there is a statue by the entrance of the late great Ernie Harwell.

You will have to look all over the park for a statue of Monaghan... and you won't find one.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (7:21 AM) : 

Dmarks, maybe a team history lesson should be required before someone can buy a team...

Harwell was one of the greats and shows up at number 13 on the ASA Top 50 list.

How could mr Domino have made that gaffe...

The FAX... priceless...


Blogger dmarks said ... (7:37 AM) : 

Tom Monaghan bought the Tigers not long before 1984, which was their year. He gets and takes credit for this, but many see that it was too early for his bad ownership/management style to really take hold and wreck the team.

And now it's owned by Mr. Little Caesar's.


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