By Molly DeCoudres – Cougar News Contributor
I have been a Dodger fan my entire life. My brothers joke that I was born bleeding Dodger blue. My grandfather was born in New York and a Brooklyn Dodger fan. Unlike most Dodger fans at the time, his love for the team continued even after they made the move to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is the city of movie stars and other high profile celebrities. I find myself wondering what my grandfather would be saying about our beloved team these days. When looking at the newspaper I find myself saddened because, where stories of great Dodger wins should be, are stories of Frank and Jamie McCourt’s, the Dodgers owners, divorce trial. What has happened to the Dodgers? Are they unable the play great ball because Mommy and Daddy are fighting?
Maybe the Dodgers fourth place finish has less to do with the divorce itself and more to do with Frank McCourt’s questionable business moves. I recently read an article by Molly Knight in ESPN The Magazine that summarized some of these deals. Knight wrote that shortly after the couple was married they bought property in Boston that they hoped to turn into retail spaces. The space was instead turned into a parking lot. In 2004, the lot was estimated to be worth just over $100 million. Also in 2004, the McCourts purchased the Dodgers from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The couple took out a little over $400 million in loans. News Corp. was so desperate to give up the team, they loaned the McCourt’s $200 million to buy the Dodgers. The McCourt’s used their Boston parking lot as collateral in this deal. The loan from Murdoch was supposed to be repaid by 2006. When it was not, Murdoch sold the parking lot for just over $200 million. I am not a business major, but it seems that Frank McCourt started his reign with the Dodgers in serious debt.
Then again this divorce is defiantly affecting the business side of things for the team. After the McCourts moved to Los Angeles it is reported that they bought several muti-million dollar homes including one in Beverly Hills and two in Malibu. Did they buy a home instead of an all-star right-hander? I read in an Los Angeles Times article that in happier times, the McCourts had a hairdresser with them five days a week. Was the hairdresser that left-handed slugger who could have hit 40 homeruns?
As of now, Jamie has complete control of the couple’s homes. A post-nuptial agreement was signed shortly after the couple bought the Dodgers giving Jamie the houses in case Frank had to file for bankruptcy. Since Jamie has all of the homes, it has been reported that Frank McCourt has been spending $30,000 a month to stay in a Beverly Hills hotel. I am guessing Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti was instructed not to spend money on any big name players this season. I wonder how many names Colletti brought to McCourt just to hear, “No. I have a divorce to pay for.”
It is usually at this time in the season that my brothers and I sit around a bar TV and toast to a better year next season. While this season is finally over, we have always been hopeful that the off-season will bring us a big name to carry our team during the next season. This year we are just praying for new owners, people who have the team’s best interest at heart.
So, here’s toasting to new owners.