I have been accused of being a Frank McCourt apologist. Think what you want (because some of you manufacture your own reality), but no one buys me. It has become a popular past time for LA Writers and Dodger fans to bash McCourt, but only some of what they write is rooted in reality. I read every piece about the Dodgers – I just don’t believe everything I read. If you want to believe it all, have at it. Create your own reality. The Dodgers are not broke. The McCourt bashers “wanted to believe” that he would tear the team apart, that the payroll would mirror the Padres, that Zach Lee was just a grandstand play, and on and on…
Now, that they have been proven WRONG, DEAD WRONG, they take a different tact and still say they were right, even though the Dodgers raised payroll dramatically, signed Zach Lee and even named the TOPPS Organization of the Year. I have nothing invested in McCourt, but I do know how much he has invested in the Dodgers, the Stadium and the minor league infrastructure. The Dodgers are much better off than 7 years ago. I’m writing this because I don’t want you to be depressed and have a miserable holiday season. I’m not saying the Dodgers will win the Wold Series, but stranger things have happened! This is the season for hope!
If a change of ownership were on the table and there was a better owner, then I would be on board, but things aren’t nearly as bad as you make them out to be. The Dodgers had the talent to win the NL West last year, but injuries and poor seasons by multiple players led to the demise and I still believe Torre was a big part of it.
Some point to the O’Malley’s and pine for those days. Actually, the O’Malley family did it right for a while, but in the mid-80′s they quit investing and just let it decline, which led to the sale to Fox.
See, I don’t play the blame game or dwell on the fact that it’s the Democrats fault or the Republicans fault or McCourt’s fault. If you can’t walk around Dodger Stadium and Camelback Ranch and see what McCourt has done, then you can’t understand what I am saying. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Some of you keep saying how much the Dodgers are making and that McCourt is to blame for not spending. I am going to suggest that you are out of touch with reality. Here are the facts:
According to Forbes Magazine, in 2009, the Dodgers had $116 million in gate receipts and spent $123 million on player expenses. During that same time, the Yankees had $319 million in gate receipts and only spent $240 million on player expenses. The Red Sox had $171 million in gate receipts and spent $145 million on player expenses. The Mets spent $152 million on player expenses while taking in $164 million is gate receipts. Of the “high-revenue teams” only the Cubs and Phillies spent more on player expenses than they took in at the gate. The Phillies were successful, but the Cubs weren’t and were sold (now watch their player expenses go down).
In all of baseball, to put that in perspective, here is the percentage of gate receipts each of these high-revenue teams spent on player expenses:
- Yankees – 75%
- Red Sox - 85%
- Mets – 93%
- Dodgers – 109%
The Phillies spent 116% on player expenses and the Cubs spent 110% on it. While spending 109% on player expenses, McCourt also invested into Camelback Ranch and rennovations at Dodger Stadium, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Not many teams have done that, and the Yankees have more debt than do the Dodgers even though the city of New York built their stadium.
Would I like the Dodgers to spend more? Maybe, but mostly I’d also like to see them spend wiser. The contracts given to Schmidt, Pierre, Manny, Jones and other such deals have hurt them. Ned was trying too hard. While you may not agree with some on the contracts handed out this off-season, none of them should really hamstring the Dodgers in the future.
This is a critical year for Ned. If the Dodgers stumble, he is likely out on the street. Ned has made a lot of moves this winter – some lauded, some damned, but the jury is obviously out. He may or may not make another move… and I’m OK with that (although I’d love to see Adrian Beltre back in blue, but not at any cost).
It’s a critical year for Frank – what happens to him in the divorce will have a lot of bearing on the future of the Dodgers, but they are far from broke. In 2014 the Dodgers will be able to roll out a TV contract that will bring well over a $100 million a year back to the Dodgers. That’s part of the reason the McCourts are fighting so hard. Frank also has plans to develop the land around Dodger Stadium, maybe even putting a football stadium there (he’s not even talking about that now). Restuarants, Clubs, an Amusement Park and Shops will be a financial windfall. Naming rights to Dodger Stadium could easily net $100 million (Sprint Dodger Stadium, Pepsi Dodger Stadium, Google Dodger Stadium?). Frank has investors lined up and opportunities galore to partner with multiple other investors. He is trying to avoid that, but if worse comes to worse, he will take on partners rather than lose the team. That’s why I say a change of ownership in not on the table, no matter what Plaschke, Simers, Dilbeck or Badger and Lawdog say.
2011 should be exciting. Have a Happy Holiday! Unless something major happens, I am out until after January 2, 2011. Be safe.