But, no, this has nothing to do with the Dodgers.
At least, according to the Dodgers … and to many Dodgers fans who believe they can separate the club from the quarreling weasels who own the team. (Or is it just Frank who owns the team?)
The latest: A judge has ordered Frank McCourt to give his wife, would-be presidential candidate Jamie, $637,000 per month to 1) support her peel-me-a-grape lifestyle and 2) pay some mortgages on all the posh property they own in her name.
But, no, none of this has anything to do with the Dodgers’ plummeting payroll or their inability to pay for vaguely useful pitchers they so desperately need.
Let’s turn to what the judge, Scott Gordon of L.A. Superior Court, had to say, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The judge noted — as both sides’ lawyers did in court — that “during the course of their 30-year marriage, the parties established a very high and lavish marital standard of living.” And, he added, “it is clear that the Dodger organization and the numerous affiliated businesses supported the parties’ extraordinary lifestyle and the maintenance of the real property.”
Go back and re-read the part about … “it is clear that the Dodger organization … supported the parties’ extraordinary lifestyle …”
And tell me you don’t feel like a sucker. C’mon. Tell me with a straight face you’re not more than a little ticked off that your hard-earned cash went to support their over-the-top spending.
Each and every time you went to a Dodgers game since these megalomaniacs came to town … you were helping Jamie get her eyebrows tweezed or paying for Frank’s massage. Every time 50,000 of you crowded in to see the Giants … Frank and Jamie were thinking about that other house in Malibu they had their eye on … or the one down in Cabo San Lucas. The one they were just ordered to sell, by the judge, to pay their attorneys.
I know the idea of team ownership as some sort of public trust died long ago. But has any Los Angeles ownership been so repellent as the McCourts? These two are making Georgia Frontiere appear parsimonious and civic-minded.
When Fox owned the Dodgers … it was just about making a corporation money. It wasn’t about manservants and maidservants and beachfront property for any two individuals.
When the O’Malleys owned the Dodgers, we can be sure the family took a few dollars out of the franchise. But did the quiet and conservative Peter O’Malley ever flaunt that cash in such a vulgar way as these two have?
To answer my own question: No. Hell, no.
Peter looked like he wore the same suit for about 20 years. Maybe he did rich-guy stuff behind the scenes, but he had the good sense and good taste not to let us see it.
Anyway, I still maintain that the O’Malleys never saw the Dodgers as a get-rich-quick scheme. As a civic ATM. They saw the club as a precious heirloom from its Brooklyn days, one they took to Los Angeles and nurtured into one of the best organizations in baseball. They would own it still if Peter hadn’t decided inheritance taxes would ruin the family.
The Dodgers, for the McCourts, however, were about supporting a lavish — make that a ridiculous — lifestyle. The club was the vehicle for … vehicles, ritzy property, royal pampering, presidential aspirations (Jamie) and the leverage to create a global multi-sports empire (Frank).
The biggest laugh of the day? The McCourt underling who had the temerity to tell the Times that the massive payout to Jaime has no impact on the ballclub — though it is their only source of income, as far as we can tell.
… the Dodgers’ attorney, Marshall Grossman, insisted that the court order would have no impact on the team’s finances because Frank McCourt’s finances and the team’s finances were separate.
“Frank is quite satisfied with the order,” Grossman said. “The Dodgers have not been ordered to pay anything under the terms of this order.… As we have stated before, Dodger expenses are paid by the Dodgers.”
And the McCourts’ expenses are paid by the Dodgers. That is, by fans. Gullible, trusting, naive, head-in-the-sand fans.
When will it dawn on you folks who trek to Chavez Ravine that as long as either one of the McCourts runs this team, you are paying for the wretched excess of cretins. Which, yes, is worse than when Fox ran the team or when the O’Malleys ran the team.
And this is going to get worse. More legal wrangling between high-priced lawyers in the run-up to the August court dates to decide who owns the team — one weasel or both of them. While the ballclub twists in the wind.
I suppose anyone who cares about the Dodgers … will want the judge to rule that Jaime and Frank each own the Dodgers. Because there is at least a chance that neither will be able to find financing to buy out the other, and they will have to sell to a third party so they can split the profits and go back to spending your money. At least that gets them out of Dodgers history.
Meantime, fans can make sure the McCourts know how they feel by voting with their feet — and staying out of the stadium. Make it clear Los Angeles does not want a team owned by the McCourts. Either of them. Stop going to games.
The Dodgers are a civic institution. The O’Malleys got it. These vipers do not. For them, the Dodgers were 3.5 million rubes whose pockets they could pick every year. As the judge said, the Dodgers “supported the parties’ extraordinary lifestyle.”
Did you sign up for that? Do you want to perpetuate that situation?
Stay home. Don’t go to the games … until someone else, anyone else, owns the team.