Baseball: Bring ‘em Back to Brooklyn

by Todd Shriber

Monday  was a sad day for baseball fans, particularly on the West Coast, as one of the game’s more storied franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy under the specious leadership of owner Frank McCourt. McCourt, who made his fortune as a real estate developer, decided on the inglorious path to bankruptcy after his hold on the team weakened throughout extended divorce proceedings with his wife, Jamie.

Bankruptcy appears to be McCourt’s way of holding onto the boys in blue, keeping the team from becoming a ward of Major League Baseball. That would be an epic embarrassment for the Dodgers because when major sports leagues take control of financially-challenged franchises, it’s usually a team in a small market, not in a place like Los Angeles. Making matters worse is the notion that the bankruptcy could only intensify McCourt’s fight with the league, as Forbes reports.

The cherry on this sour sundae for the fans is to whom the Dodgers owe money. Forbes reported that former players Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones are owed a combined $32 million. No wonder some Los Angeles luminaries are calling for a change in ownership.

The Dodgers are a venerable franchise, having won four World Series titles since moving from New York’s Brooklyn in the 1950s. Things have not gone so well under McCourt’s stewardship, as Sports Illustrated pointed out.

Now one of the game’s most highly regarded franchises, one that Sports Illustrated called a “crown jewel,” can be mentioned in the same breath as Enron and Lehman Brothers.

(Don’t laugh Red Sox fans: McCourt wanted to buy your team a while back.)

Maybe the best advice anyone can give McCourt right now, assuming he would listen, would be to call hedge-fund manager David Einhorn for a loan.

And heard this morning on the streets of New York: “Bring ‘em back to Brooklyn.”

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