It is being reported tonight that Frank McCourt has agreed to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thank goodness.
Of course, he will try to claim the team is worth more than $1 billion (he paid $421 million eight years ago), which could complicate matters. The Dodgers probably have appreciated in value, no thanks to the McCourts’ “stewardship” … but more than $1 billion? In a recession?
Before we get into the sale a bit more, can we just have a loud “amen!” that McCourt might be about to leave the Los Angeles scene? It means that the club might actually be worth embracing, again, and that those of us who had essentially boycotted the team (physically, financially, emotionally) might soon be free to return.
OK, who might buy the club?
The idea being that fans would prefer someone with their own money (which McCourt didn’t have; he and his wife and children then used the Dodgers as collateral for over-the-top lifestyles).
I, however, may not be quite as picky about who should or should not the team.
It is in that spirit that I present my own list of money men (and women) I believe would be better owners of the Dodgers than was Frank McCourt.
1. Bernie Madoff. The guy is a great salesman! He could raise the scratch for the purchase in a heartbeat … and running the team from prison means he wouldn’t be around much to meddle with the baseball men.
2. Carlo Ponzi. The man who invented the Ponzi Scheme — or at least was so good at it that it was named in his honor. A small problem: He died in 1949.
3. The Pentagon. The military guys may not be particularly good at getting full value for their dollars, but remember, the McCourts set the bar low. About a centimeter off the ground. The Pentagon may pay $100 dollars for a screwdriver, but McCourt gave $44 million to Juan Pierre.
4. George Clooney as Danny Ocean. He could lead a couple of capers in Las Vegas to raise the dough for the down payment (it’s not like Vegas is a philanthropic organization, you know?) … and if the Dodgers ever need to buy an expensive free agent, Clooney could call up Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Eliott Gould and the rest of the gang and “raise” a quick $150 million without hiking ticket prices. And he would be very handsome in the owner’s box.
5. Marie Antoinette. Sure, the last French queen allegedly said “let them eat cake” when she was told the French peasants could not afford to buy bread, but does that make her any more rapacious or less socially responsible than Jamie McCourt?
6. Al Davis or Georgia Frontiere. Well, darn, they’re both dead, but neither of them inflicted the same sort of damage on Los Angeles as did Frank McCourt. All they did was leave L.A. without the NFL.
7. Michael Milken. L.A. guy, and yes, he has that 22-month gig in the stir two decades ago for securities and tax violations on his record, but he paid out something like $1.1 billion in fines and restitution, and as of 2010 apparently is worth $2 billion, which speaks to his ability to remain solvent. Yes, I’d take him over Frank McCourt.
8. Jesse James, John Dillinger, Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Bugsy Siegel, Black Bart, Ma Barker … Dillinger already knows as much about raising money as does Frank. Dillinger allegedly was asked why he robbed banks and said, “Because that’s where the money is.” … Don’t know about Bonnie and Clyde; the him-and-her thing creeps me out, after Frank and Jaime. Though I would be OK with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
9. Gordon Gecko. I’d take a fictional robber-baron over Frank McCourt, who took the “greed is good” thing way, way too far.
10. Donald Sterling … hmm … wait …
Never mind The Donald.
Congrats, Frank. You’re not last on my list of preferred prospective Dodgers owners.