Proceeds from the ads below will be donated to the Bob Wuesthoff scholarship fund.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Parsing The McCourt Interview

Frank at a rare introspective moment.
Lifted from Getty Images.

There's a saying: sports doesn't build character so much as reveal it. I can scarcely think of a case where that's truer than with Frank McCourt. Practically handed a franchise, putting little of his own money into the thing, he turned it into a sort of personal piggy bank.

To the interview:

Q: To the fans who buy tickets and hot dogs and cable subscriptions to support the Dodgers, how do you explain that a team that turns tens of millions of dollars in gross profits every year gets to the point where you needed a personal loan to make payroll?

A: We shouldn't have gotten to that point. This transaction should have been closed four months ago. And we told MLB that.

It's not how you run a business. On the other hand, if somebody prevents you from accessing your capital and executing your financial plans, then things like this happen. We were way out in front of all this. There is nothing abnormal that is occurring here. These are the natural obligations that a business takes care of, and they plan in advance to take care of them.

We all have obligations in our personal life and our business life. The idea is to plan in advance to take care of them. We had a plan. We executed the plan. The problem here is that baseball has been unwilling to allow us to close the transaction. Had we closed the transaction when we were planning to at the end of the year — when we were ready to — then this would all have been a nonissue.

It's the series of delays in allowing us to close this transaction that has created the problem here. Otherwise, there would be no problem here. My recent investment into the club (the personal loan) was necessitated by the delay.

The reality of this particular self-serving, whiny version of events is that it omits the vital part: the Dodgers should be a self-financing operation. McCourt sucked so much cash out of the team that he needed to juggle very, very fast to keep current. Speaking of —
Q: That may be, but MLB did not run up $500 million in debt. You did.

A: The debt that you refer to is not the issue before us right now.

Back to self-delusion, I see.
Q: Could you explain to Dodgers fans why you believe you are the best person to own this team?

A: First of all, I want to apologize to the fans. I want to tell them how deeply sorry I am for what has occurred over the last 18 months. I'm sorry that my personal mess has entered their lives and affected their experience being a fan of the Dodgers.

I'm sorry that some of them think that lifestyle decisions I made affected my commitment to putting a winner on the field and winning a championship for L.A.

Q: Are you saying that is simply the fans' perception, or did those decisions affect the team?

A: I'm saying it's clearly the perception of some.

Q: So you would not agree with that perception?

A: What matters is that is the perception. I'm sorry that is their perception. I'm sorry that they don't think I'm committed to them. I'm sorry that my situation has been a source of embarrassment for the community, an embarrassment for the team and an embarrassment for the fans.

So, basically, it's our fault he decided to turn the team into a huge speculative real estate investment, and that we're judging him harshly for spitting on a public trust for his own gain. It's our fault Major League Baseball — which has seen fair to allow the Pirates and their idiotic ownership to fail to collect even a single .500 season since Barry Bonds left the team in 1992 — almost two decades of failure — has decided to break out the ugly sticks and install a monitor, investigate your finances, and likely send the team into bankruptcy, all so they can be rid of you. What does that say of the wretched nature of your character, of your self-pitying venality, of your towering arrogance? It's our fault we think you're a bankrupt scumbag.

Thanks, Frank. Get on the bus and don't come back.

Update: Missed this (thanks, Jon), but sweet Steve Dilbeck blog post on the aftermath of the McCourt interview.

And I’m getting real weary of his "love the team" and "love the community" routine. He’s not from our community and doesn’t know it. He's from Boston and now lives in one of the Southland’s most expensive hotels a block off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.


"We all have obligations in our personal life .... The idea is to plan in advance to take care of them. We had a plan. We executed the plan."

I'd like to see his "personal obligations", before, during and after his marriage and ownership.
I'd like to see his plan that includes their "personal obligations".

but yes, Frank, you and Jamie executed the plan splendidly for a few years. Now its payback time.

Post a Comment

Newer›  ‹Older
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

WWW 6-4-2