There’s no denying that it’s been a rollercoaster year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. There was the departure of famed manager Joe Torre, the vicious fan beating on opening day, and the ongoing disputes between team owner Frank McCourt and MLB commissioner Bud Selig. This week, things took an even more drastic turn with McCourt’s announcement that he will be selling the team.
Interestingly, most of L.A. seems to be overjoyed by Frank’s decision to step down. Since he took ownership back in 2004 (for a reported $430 million), the team has been plagued with disastrous seasons. There were tons of empty stadium seats, zero trips to the World Series, and expensive sluggers thatturned out to be total flops.
Frank’s handling of the recent Bryan Stow beating didn’t endear him much with fans either. Back in March, Stow was pummeled by two assailants in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. The brutal nature of the attack (and the lack of proper security) left many fans shocked and hesitant to step foot inside the Stadium again.
To top that off, McCourt’s lawyers have insinuated that Bryan was partly to blame for his own beating (a sentiment which did not sit well with the public at large). Not surprisingly, Stow’s attorneys have now filed a civil suit against the team, which could cost McCourt a bundle.
“How you are judged in life is how you react after mistakes,” Bryan’sattorney Thomas Girardi said. “Oh so here it is: let’s blame the innocent guy for the lack of security at Dodger Stadium.”
Rumors are circulating that Stow could get as much as $50 million in damages, which may be a major factor in Frank’s decision to sell the team. Amazingly,McCourt is hoping to get as much as $1 billion for the Dodgers in a deal that would include the Stadium and the surrounding parking lots.
Whether he gets close to that amount is anybody’s guess, but his team certainly has a fair share of suitors. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has expressed interest in purchasing the boys in blue, as has Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. Even Oscar de la Hoya hinted about it a while back.
Whoever does take ownership of the Dodgers is in for an uphill battle, but not one without its rewards. L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke publicly about the sale and offered encouraging words for anyone looking to invest in the team.
“As a Dodger fan and an Angeleno, it has been a very, very tough season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to local ownership. I want the owner to be from Los Angeles. I want someone who loves this town and believes in this city.”
So local billionaires, go ahead and place your bids!
By Michael Lopez