You can't turn around without finding another reason to believe the McCourt era may soon come to an end in Los Angeles. It's long been assumed that Frank McCourt's only way to emerge as Dodgers owner when the team exits bankruptcy would be to somehow win the chance to sell the club's television rights. Well, baseball doesn't want that. And Jamie McCourt doesn't want that. And perhaps most importantly, Fox doesn't want that.
One of the few arrows remaining in Frank's quiver was the threat of using the bankruptcy to expose MLB and its teams' books, potentially causing a rift between players and owners on the eve of what is expected to be a peaceful labor renegotiation. That option, too, is now off the table: Judge Kevin Gross is expected to reaffirm last week's decision not to allow Frank's lawyers to engage in discovery of other teams' financial information.
Shoot, Major League Baseball is threatening to terminate the Dodgers' franchise should Frank somehow maintain a grip on the team. Things really are that bad. Friend of the site Maury Brown argues that Frank's expose-the-books gamebit was like "running into the building strapped with dynamite, and if he’s going to go down, he’s going to inflict as much collateral damage as possible." And, yes, that does fit Frank's long history of stubborn refusal to search for a peaceful way out of contentious litigation.
In the past, I've expressed regret that it's had to come this far, and I still feel that way. There's nothing left for Frank McCourt to win. Even if he bludgeons the bankruptcy court into allowing an auction of the TV rights over the sincere objection over several relevant parties, and even if he can somehow win an injunction forcing baseball to stay out of his franchise, Frank McCourt would escape this firestorm with an openly hostile customer base wholly uneager to support his ownership.
There's nothing left to win.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the failure of Frank and Jamie McCourt to settle their differences amicably two years ago. At the heart of one of the most bitter and protracted public sagas to unfold in American sports was the simple failure of two people to realize they had more to lose by fighting than they could possibly gain.
I don't know what was happening behind closed doors two years ago today. I do know what's happened in the press and in the courtroom since, though, and I suspect that fighting over a couple hundred million dollars might end up costing Frank and Jamie some multiple of whatever amount truly separated them.
In about a month, barring some sort of resolution before then, the relevant parties will converge on Wilmington, Delaware for a week in court. Several times in the last few years, we've thought a finish line was, well, if not in sight, then at least just beyond the horizon. Each time we've been proven wrong.
As for this site...well, we're going to go back to our roots a little bit. Expect more frequent posts keying off news items, and a touch less (rambling) analysis and commentary until major developments emerge.
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