It is widely believed that the Dodgers will not be able to meet payroll by May 31st if the contract with FOX is not approved by Bug Selig. Will May 31, 2011 be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? Frankly, I have never seen the agreement MLB has with its’ owners but I understand that there is a clause wherein an owner agrees not to sue MLB. While I can’t say that it means nothing – it does mean something – but it doesn’t mean everything. You frequently cannot just sign away a fiduciary responsibility with a stroke of the pen. MLB has a responsibility to the Dodgers, but the Dodgers have a responsibility to MLB as well.
On one hand, Frank McCourt can make payroll and the Dodgers will be flush with cash to make deals and improve the club, if Bug approves the deal. If the deal is approved, the Dodgers will instantly become one of the TOP 5 funded franchises. On the other hand, what will happen to the money? Frank says that all of it will go to the team, but the 800 pound gorilla in the room is not Bug Selig – it is Jamie McCourt. She is sitting there with her hand out. How can Frank guarantee MLB that all of the money will go to the Dodgers? Jamie wants her cut too.
On the other hand, is Frank really that much different from other owners? Frank’s greed and decadent lifestyle (most likely fueled by Jamie) is not unlike the greed of the Mets’ owners who took leave of their senses and invested hundreds of millions with Bernie Madoof with the promise of obscene returns. Hey morons, If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!”
For those of you who think Bug has thought this through, let me remind you that he was part of the owners’ collusion in 1985–1987, resulting in the owners paying $280 million in damages to the players. By the way, that’s $539 million in 2011 dollars! Frank has been sued, but he’s never lost a $539 million judgment! Bug does not exactly inspire confidence in me, if you know what I mean.
Right now, MLB is investigating the Dodgers. Frank says they won’t find anything. MLB says Frank is slow in handing over documents. Frank says that if MLB approves his deal, the payroll will be easily met. I see both arguments. If I were an attorney, I could argue either sides points… and possibly win! The thing is, you just never know what will happen in court.
I do know that many Dodger fans are staying away from the ballpark. I also believe that the distraction is hurting the team. Sure, they know that MLB will step in and pay them if Frank can’t, but it’s still a big distraction. This team has been decimated by injuries, but if healthy, this team is much better than they have shown. This is a distraction to Ned, to Donnie, to all the coaches and to the players. I think what MLB finds between now and May 31st will determine the course of action they will take.
Here’s what I see happening: If Frank doesn’t sue MLB before May 31st, MLB will seize the Dodgers on that date and force a sale. Frank may win or Frank may lose, but he might very well be left out in the cold. I do think that Bug can force him out, and that’s probably the best course of action for Dodger fans, The billion-dollar-question is: Is MLB able to pay a billion dollar judgment? I’m not saying they will lose, but that possibility does exist.