Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dodgers' fix long overdue

By Christiaan DeFranco

It is rare that I side with Bud Selig.

Granted, his institution of the wild card turned out to be a good move, despite my initial skepticism as a baseball purist. It has added to the excitement of the playoffs and the pennant races without compromising the value of baseball's six-month, decisive, unequivocal, 162-game season.

Yet he also presided over the Steroid Era, turning a blind eye to a culture of cheating that dramatically and irreparably distorted the integrity and history of the game — more so than any of baseball's previous fluxuations and transgressions, including the travesty of segregation (although that's a whole other issue, the complexities of which warrant another discussion).

While the awkward and frequently incompetent Selig has lined owners' pockets, he has done more harm to the game than good.

But when it comes to the McCourts, I'm with Bud all the way.

Sleazy Frank and his wayward wife need to disappear. Now.

When you think of the great franchises of all time — in any sport — the Dodgers are right up there.

Not only do they have a decades-long tradition of winning, and not only did they venture baseball West (albeit to the justifiable dismay and disgust of Brooklyn fans), but they are the franchise of Jackie Robinson.

The Dodgers didn't just change the game, they helped change our country.

But for the past few years, they've been in the hands of a scumbag and his scummy wife (now ex-wife). And these two all-stars, despite running the organization into the ground and using it as their personal cash machine, are trying to cling to ownership.

By the way, if you don't know about Frank's background, he's a Boston real-estate developer who tried to buy the Red Sox and wanted to tear down Fenway in favor of a new stadium.

Get the picture?

I've also heard he hates Abe Lincoln and apple pie, but that's unconfirmed.

Then there was that debacle in which Frank decided security costs were too high at Dodger Stadium, despite a well-documented gang presence. So he slashed security, and on opening day this year a visiting Giants fan was beaten into a coma by a gangbanger in the parking lot. (Don't worry. Frank publicly derided the incident — a week after it happened.)

As for Jamie, she cheated on Frank after three decades of marriage but wanted to keep her share of the Dodgers because it was her cash cow. She knows nothing about baseball and doesn't care to, but she feels entitled.

Meanwhile, this historic, big-market club — a national treasure — has struggled to make payroll, foregone free-agent signings, and failed to re-sign important players who contributed to its recent playoff runs.

The other day, Frank and Jamie finalized their divorce, and Frank secured a $3-billion TV deal with Fox that would have paid Frank $385 million up-front (approximately $185 million of which he was going to use to pay off his divorce and dispose of his private debts).

Not so fast.

Selig rejected the deal, opening the door for MLB to seize control of the Dodgers and sell them to a new owner — and opening up MLB to a lawsuit challenging Selig's powers as commissioner.

Perhaps the commissioner's power needs to be challenged, perhaps not, but this isn't the case for that. My guess is that the McCourts will ultimately fail in their attempt to cling to the Dodgers, just as they've failed the Dodgers as owners. My guess is they'll be laughed out of court.

At least I hope so.

And if you love baseball, Dodger fan or not, you'll hope so too.

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