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Friday, June 24, 2011
Jay Jaffe On Mark Cuban And The Dodgers
Behind the pay wall — I presume — at Baseball Prospectus is a great piece by Jay Jaffe on the (un)likelihood of multi-billionaire (thanks, Yahoo!) Mark Cuban taking over the Dodgers in the wake of the McCourts' expulsion. It's got a great fly-in-the-amber quote from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune that neatly summarizes how the Selig views Cuban:
But it's hard to shake the image of Commissioner Bud Selig holding Cuban's application by his thumb and index finger, and at arm's length, as if he were holding a rat by the tail. That's probably unfair to Cuban, who runs a successful NBA franchise, but it seems to sum up baseball's general estimation of him.Yet, for all this, I begin to think that maybe time has softened both Cuban and Selig; as Jaffe notes, the former has kept his mouth shut through the Mavericks' title run, and Selig surely isn't looking at a long list of potential suitors for the Dodgers. Certainly, the proposed Steve Garvey group would be another undercapitalized disaster, especially given Garvey's own profligate past; warts and all, Cuban might be the best deal MLB has going at the moment.
I'm no Dodger fan, but I have to say that I think Mark Cuban would be great for the Dodgers, and good for MLB. The only plausible explanation for Selig's reticence is that he's simply afraid of Cuban, and doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to deal with him the way David Stern does. Cuban will spend money on the team; he will try to build a winner; and he will try to make Dodger Stadium a place where families want to spend their time and money. In exchange, he'll criticize the umpires and the Commissioner's office from time to time. Some of the things he'll say will be crazy, others will be astute and constructive. Baseball has survived crazy, maverick types before (no pun intended), and will survive Cuban. In any case, he will do far more good than harm, both for the Dodgers and for MLB. In that sense, he is the perfect anti-McCourt.