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A New Era at LA DodgerTalk

A New Era at LA DodgerTalk

Today marks a new beginning on this board.  Beginning today, the rules of the website which have not been observed for past few weeks will again be recognized.  I have been part of the rule-breakers, but I now admit that it was deliberate and planned.  I am not going to justify it or explain my way out of it, but I watched another Dodger Massage Board (World Crossing) disintegrate because a few posters felt like they could covertly or overtly write what they wanted, no matter how bizarre or outrageous and then complain when they were criticized for it.

Over the past few months, a few posters started writing ridiculous things about Frank McCourt- some were true, but pulled out of context, while others were totally out of touch with reality.  I have repeatedly said that I am not a Frank McCourt fan, but I think most of you think I am.   You think that because I post the positive things Frank McCourt has done while owner of the Dodgers.  Everyone else seems to post all the negative stuff (and there is plenty – most of it surrounding the divorce).  I post the positive because no one else does.  There are two sides to every story.  Some think I do it so that I can get press passes.  Last I checked T.J. Simers gets press passes and so does anyone who writes a legitimate blog.  In fact, Simers has another piece in THE LA TIMES again today on McCourt, and it ain’t flattering.  There is no connection between what you write and whether you get press passes and if you really think that, you are really out of touch with the reality of the situation.  Frank McCourt has no clue who I am, and all I really know about him is that he is the owner of the Dodgers who has accomplished some good and committed some bad.

I can see that he has spent well over $100 million (probably well over $150 million) on improvements at Dodger Stadium.  I can see that he has spent tens of millions on Camelback Ranch and on a very good player development staff.   The Dodger front office is first class, they don’t skimp on amenities and they have a payroll in the upper 25% of baseball.

On the other hand, as Dodger Divorce and most other news outlets have published ad nauseum, the McCourts Divorce is reeking with conspicuous consumption and decadent greed.  When people read this stuff, they compare McCourt to themselves and immediately believe that has actions are  insane.  When I read it, two things occur:  (1) I wonder if it’s really true; and (2) I wonder how he compares to other owners in their lifestyles (the Werners, Stienbrenners and Ricketts).   I honestly don’t know, but I do know that some filthy rich people really have decadent lifestyles.  It’s a common thread that runs through some of the filthy rich.  That’s why they call them “filthy.”  Can you honestly tell me that Frank McCourt lives any different than other owners?  And… let me add one thing other question:  How much of this insanity is on Queen Jamie?  Just asking!!!  I really have no clue.  Maybe you do.

So anyway, I left World Crossing because the views were extreme and many were laced with political innuendo.  I started this blog and a few from World Crossing followed me here.  I’ve known them for a while, and they almost feel like family, but some of the stuff they write just is inflammatory and not rooted in fact.  Then there were the “drive-by-shootings” where they made a post and then in the context slammed someone’s opposition (politics, sports, life, etc.), with an eloquent comment.

I called them out a few times, other posters e-mailed me about it, some left the family.  I got tired of it and a few weeks ago, decided to dole out the same stuff to them.

For instance, Ken recently posted this:

6.5 Sale Transactions. In all transactions involving the sale or transfer of a control interest in a Club, the Commissioner MUST certify to the Clubs and to the Players Association that the LEVEL OF DEBT undertaken in connection with
the acquisition or transfer WILL NOT create a PERSISTENT INABILITY of the Club to comply with the requirements of the Debt Service Rule. As part of that certification, the Commissioner, within 30 days of approval of the transaction,
will provide to the Players Association the new Club ownership’s Long Term Plan for Debt Service compliance.

1. Are you saying that Bud refused to do his job and allowed Frank to buy the Dodgers without submitting a financial and/or long term debt plan and therefore Frank has always done whatever he wants?

2. Are you saying that Frank submitted a plan to MLB where he would take $100 million of distributions out of LA Dodgers, LLC in 7 years and Bud said “OK no Worries Be Happy” and now MLB is estopped from doing anything about Frank’s debt strategy?

3. Are you saying that Frank submitted a plan to MLB where he would take $10 million of distributions out of LA Dodgers, LLC in 7 years and Bud said “Cool” and after Frank took $100 million of distributions out of LA Dodgers, LLC in 7 years now MLB, that Bud responded by saying “OK no Worries Be Happy” about Frank’s debt strategy?

What allegedly logical view do you have regarding Bud’s actions in relation to Frank’s financial activities with the Dodgers, MLB and the MLB CBA?

In my opinion sane people believe that Frank submitted a plan to MLB where he would take between $5 and $20 million of distributions out of LA Dodgers, LLC in 7 years and Bud said “Cool” and after Frank took $100 million of distributions out of LA Dodgers, LLC in 7 years now MLB and Bud now said “What the F… is going on here” about Frank’s debt strategy and now has now laid the law done to Frank. (Law being the MLB CBA) No loans from MLB, no exceptions to the Debt Service Rule, and no help from other owner.

If Frank is following the original Long Term Plan for Debt Service, then MLB should be investigated by Congress and MLB should lose their anti-trust exemptions.

While I may not agree with all that, he is presenting a cogent argument.  He isn’t slandering anyone and I respect that.  When someone says “McCourt is a plundering scumbag who is robbing the fans and the Dodgers will never be anything until he sells them” is stupid.  Just an opinion, no facts!  Now, it’s a different story to say “I don’t like Frank McCourt and hope the Dodgers get another owner.”  That’s your opinion and you are free to express it, but when you try to spin everything he does as bad… well that’s way over the line.

What I really think about Frank McCourt: After the info about FOX loaning McCourt money, I have no opinion…yet.  As I have just stated, I deliberately have presented the OTHER side to balance out this board.  What Frank McCourt has done is good in some areas and bad in others.  At the moment, he has a competitive team on the field, is still paying a decent payroll and operations look strong.  However, with the uncertainty surrounding that divorce, the debt and other issues, Frank McCourt’s empire is a “house of Cards.”  He could pull it off.  I think I know what he wants to do, but can he do it?  An alliance with Fox could be good, or it could go south quickly.  This is a typical McCourt move – he’s a “risk junkie.”  If the pile of cards fall, then I am all in for a new, better owner.  It’s just that the issue of new ownership is not presently on the table.  On one hand, being an entrepreneur like I am, I admire what Frank has done in taking a risk to build a company.  On the other hand, I hate debt and don’t even have car payments, so I have a hard time justifying the amount of debt.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Zappos had 1.6 million in sales in 2001 and hit a billion is sales in 2008.  They took on huge debt to get there, but in 2009, Amazon paid $1.2 billion for them.   Frankly, McCourt feels a lot like Conseco, the high-flying insurance company, who crashed and burned.  I am open-minded for the moment.  Are the Dodgers under McCourt more like Zappos or Conseco?  History will be the judge.

I remain a Dodger Fan, not a McCourt fan – he just owns the Dodgers.  The Dodgers are much bigger than Frank McCourt and the Big Dodger in the Sky is in charge!  I hope Frank is making the right moves.  You may think he isn’t – that’s OK.  I’m not sure either.  I welcome anyone on this board, but just don’t say stupid or inflammatory stuff.   Don’t bait people.

If you think Frank McCourt is a scumbag, state your case, support your position or you will be questioned.  I do have a few questions I’d like answered:

  1. How much do other owners take out of their clubs?
  2. What are the levels of debt for other teams?
  3. Look at the Debt/Value Ratios on THIS PAGE and explain to me how the Dodgers are in such bad shape.

If you think the Dodgers will finish last, state your reasoning.  That’s fine.

If you want to say something about Bush or Obama – I WILL DELETE THE POSTS!

This is a Dodger board!

Like “Glass Half Full” said to another poster:

Have you ever gone back and read any of your own posts?…You are as negative and as attacking as anyone on this board..Yes you have a right to express your opinions but everything you accuse Mark of or being is exactly what you are..You accuse Mark with attacking those who disagree with his ideas but you are exactly the same…

What I did was deliberate and calculated to make a point.  I don’t know if the point was made (sometimes I wonder if it did ANY good), but I am going to revert back to the way it was a few months ago. The rules are simple:

1) Do not use profanity or any euphemisms for profanity;
2) Do not personally attack other commenters;
3) Do not bait other commenters;
4) Do not argue for the sake of arguing; and
5) Do not discuss politics or religion.

Simple Rules – I will follow them and have a short leash for those who don’t!

WELCOME TO THE NEW (AND IMPROVED) LA DODGER TALK!



About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

17 Responses to “A New Era at LA DodgerTalk”

  1. Roger Dodger says:

    Looks like we will not have the last word on McCourt now or for some time now. Okay, he is the owner. Other teams in the past and maybe even in the present had/have owners that did things that the fans did not like — that is some of the turf in baseball. And we have to live with it.

    This morning on the MLB Network TV channel, they had a special show on: The Top Right Fielders in Baseball – Right Now.

    #5 was Ethier.

    Gee, I wonder, in that series, do the Dodgers have any other players at the other 7 position that are in the top 10 players – right now – today? Probably not. But I did not watch all of the segments.

    Mark, I can live by your old and improved rules.

  2. Idaho al says:

    The rules are simple and good. This site should be about the Dodgers and only the Dodgers. Politics and religion should be off limits. However, last summer politics was allowed to get into the discussion and nothing was done about it. I finally wrote and said to stop it or I was going to a different site. It finally did stop. This last episode on politics was started by you Mark when you wrote about the shootings in Arizona. I read some comments that simply were not true and finally I responded to the untruths. I did not like it, but I could not let the untruths stand.

    I agree with the rules and if you do not enforce the rules than the rules will mean nothing. The first time anyone says anything about politics and religion they should be removed from the board.

    I have been in education for 38 years and now retired. I know one thing from my expierce in education. If you do not enforce the rules, a majority of the posters will go someplace else.

  3. Corey says:

    I like the new rules. In response to roger dodger….I’m sure that Kemp will be in the top 10 and probably Furcal and Uribe, with Loney a faint maybe. Since there are so many more pitchers I don’t know if it would expand to top 50 then, but I think that Kershaw for sure is top 20 and Bills should be top 50.

  4. Vince says:

    Obama is a democrat. He was elected president of the United States. He does things. Some people don’t like those things. They say other things.

    To Corey: “Things things. You are silly. Lets argue.”

    Poopy pants.

    That cover eveything?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think Ethier would have been rated #5 if he were poor defensively. But again, he would be even better in left. I am hoping and praying that Gwynn can cut it on offense. I believe that our infield (if Furcal stays healthy) will play good defense and with Gwynn in center, Kemp in right and Andre in left our outfield will be tight. A great defense makes our good rotation even better.

    Come on spring training…..

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    Al,

    You are right – I did start that one, AND a couple of others – in response to repeated “drive-by-shootings” by others on this board. I just wanted to demonstrate what happens. Maybe it was ill-advised (or not), but henceforth I will be hardcore in enforcing and observing rules.

  7. Mark Timmons says:

    I have seen several rankings of starting pitchers and Kershaw has been rated as high as #8. That’s probably fair based upon historical data, but he could well exceed that this year. Bills is certainly in the TOP 50 starters, maybe much higher. Lilly, Garland and Kuroda would have to be given consideration as well.

    In the TOP 10 Position Players (by position), I believe Ethier and Kemp and Furcal (if healthy) are there and that Loney could make it as well. Uribe is probably TOP 10 at 2B, but not at 3B.

    I think our catching could surprise…

    If Gwynn can step up and hit, this team could be VERY good defensively.

    It should be an interesting Spring.

  8. Ely's Coming, Better Hide Your Haeger says:

    I really hope Gwynn can start hitting. He could be a huge key, because I actually like him leading off with Furcal second.

    The Dodgers have actually had pretty decent success with reclamation projects over the past five years…. it was usually pitchers… although last year Jay Gibbons was a nice surprise.

    I’m still holding out hope that we can sign Lastings Milledge. I know he got into a fight at the Dominican League over the winter… but maybe that makes him worth a minor league invitation to spring training instead of a guaranteed contract

  9. Jaydavis says:

    Gwynn is not the answer The guy strikes out to much doesn’t walk enough can’t hit and probably never will hit.

  10. Ely's Coming, Better Hide Your Haeger says:

    You think there’s no way he can improve and be a decent player? They were saying the same thing about Ryan Ludwick two years ago… he was a journeyman in this league for 6 or seven years before he started to play well. I’m not saying Gwynn is Ryan Ludwick…. I’m just saying at 1 year, 1 million dollars… it doesn’t hurt to see.

  11. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Good to hear the rules will be enforced.

    Gwynn hitting could be huge for the Dodgers. It doesn’t only improve the defense in CF, but also in RF and LF if Kemp and Ethier move to their more natural positions in right and left, respectively. I believe that Furcal would remain in the lead-off spot, with Gwynn either hitting 2nd, and conceivably 8th. If Gwynn doesn’t cut it, then I suspect that Sands or T. Rob might be given a shot sometime in May or June, of course depending on how they’re doing down in ALBQ. I wouldn’t mind if the Dodgers signed Lastings Milledge. But I suspect that Colletti is unlikely to sign a player with his background, especially since he might not be too thrilled with the prospect that he could be a bad influence for Matt Kemp.

  12. ken says:

    Mark

    Nice cogent two-sided article. A one sided post is as bad as a one sided coin. Yes a great article does take much longer to write than a drive by post and few of us who work have the time that you devote to this site.

    The Simers article appears very reasonable under the circumstances but as you say we will have to wait before concluding whether it is absolutely true.

    However, I absolutely disagree with you, as posted several times before, that the Debt to Value ratio has any relevance to the issues that we discuss here. The portion of the MLB CBA that allows oversight of a MLB team’s finances and operations by Bud’s office is clearly based upon a Debt to Income Formula. You have my post from early last year where I spelled out the formula.

    The Dodgers need either Lastings or Chavez to not finish last in Chavez Ravine!

  13. Jaydavis says:

    I rather have xavier paul over gwynn it’s a wast of time and money. Ever year Ned tries to catch lighting in the bottle. All this does is block the path of our own players that have something to prove. I just hope this project nothing like the GA experience

  14. SpokaneBob says:

    It is going to come down to who takes the job. Although I am pulling for Gwynn to do it, I would rather have Paul or Gibbons or SOMEBODY step up and win the job with a strong spring performance. If they are all medicore Ken could be right, But I don’t think he is at this point. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want a healthy Chavez if we could get him. Milledge not so much unless he is getting a bad rap on his attitude. One bad apple in the clubhouse can ruin a team.

  15. Ely's Coming, Better Hide your Heart says:

    Dodgers close to a deal with Marcus Thames. He’s awful in the field, but he’s definitely right handed and he’s definitely a power bat.

  16. Ely's Coming, Better Hide your Heart says:

    it’s on http://www.dodgers.com

  17. Alex says:

    Mark-

    Glad to see you reasserting the conditions of participation. As a fellow Dodgers blogger, I want to echo the points you made about how we’re free to write whatever we want, but many of us choose to not get dragged down into commenting of the off-field stuff that isn’t generally relevant to the game itself.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post and see you at spring training!

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