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Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009's First Dodgers High Comedy Moment

Via MLB.com:
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, as well as Colletti, have been candid that the franchise's general strategy is to develop from within, while the uncertainty of revenues this year hasn't been ignored as they planned for 2009. The Dodgers don't announce a targeted payroll amount, but it's clear this year's total will be dramatically lower than last year's $120 million after the departure of 15 free agents and the addition of only three so far.
Which of course explains the new Malibu McMansion. Look, we know that the operations budget is separate from the marble floor tile budget but pretending that the Dodgers have an uncertain revenue stream is just absurd in this context. You don't take out gazillion dollar loans to buy property and finance them — certainly, the banks wouldn't agree to it if they thought McCourt's income stream were anything other than stable. And of course Manny would have to be compensated in installments that might look like a Rockefeller Center mortgage payment. But there's something basic and obvious and none-too-convincing about the McCourts' cry of poor here.

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Am I misreading, or have you changed your stand on the McCourts? A couple months ago, I was trying to convince you, with little success, that it was plausible that the McCourts weren't in financial trouble even though they weren't spending heavily on the team.
I'm not sure ... it's certainly possible that I misrepresented my position or wrote something subject to misinterpretation. For me the moment that really sealed the notion that Frank was either (a) crazy-ass stupid drunk spending or (b) just putting Ned on a really tight leash was when he purchased the LA Marathon. At that point I figured the real issue was that he didn't trust Ned's ability to judge risk.

I still think it's possible that the team is in genuine financial trouble -- the refusal to take on salary and expend grade-A trade chits (Carlos Santana) is evidence of this -- but I'm far from certain that it's conclusive, as Frank's late real estate purchase shows.

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