MLB wins first battle in war with Frank McCourt
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross gave round one to MLB when he denied Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt’s bid to use the loan that he arranged. McCourt went in with the argument that if the league were allowed to finance the team while it was in bankruptcy protection that they’d leverage their standing as a lender to get him out as owner of the team. Gross criticized McCourt for not taking the less expensive financing and said that he’d do everything he could to make sure Commissioner Bud Selig would not abuse his power as a creditor during the proceedings.
This is definitely a win for the league, but Gross put some things in place to limit the victory. As Maury Brown discusses, the loan will be independent from the league’s oversight and governance of the Dodgers under the MLB constitution. Gross also said that if the league strays from its obligations, the court will provide ready access to other debtors. So while the league won the decision, McCourt got his point across and the league must be ready to defend its actions if it gets out of line.
In other Dodgers news, Field of Schemes touched on a story that MLB is trying to engineer a scheme to get the Dodgers out of Chavez Ravine and into downtown Los Angeles. The logic behind this is that Frank McCourt owns the land separate from the team and since MLB appears to want nothing to do with McCourt, they don’t want him as a potential landlord once the team is out of his hands. Both MLB and AEG, a Los Angeles sports and management company, denied the rumors.
Roger Clemens perjury trial ends early
This is old news but I missed last week. Roger Clemens’ perjury trial was a short one because the prosecution revealed evidence to the jury that the judge had previously disallowed. The judge even went as far to say it was a mistake that a first year law student would have known to avoid. That gives Clemens a short reprieve and then on September 2, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton will hold a hearing to decide whether Clemens should face another trial.
All-Star Game sees record low ratings
MLB’s All Star Game drew a record low viewing audience last week. The Nielsen TV rating was 6.9, which was down 8 percent from last year’s 7.5. Of course, to put it in perspective, that’s still better then some of the other major sporting events. Even the NCAA tournament drew a 6.4. St. Louis led the TV markets with a 17.8 rating and that’s the fourth straight year the city has had the biggest television audience. Philadelphia was second with a 14.7.
Rays manager piles on the Trop
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon joined the front office with some criticism of his home ballpark, Tropicana Field. He called the stadium improper for the big leagues and said it needs to be replaced. He also took his criticism to the local governments, with some shots at St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster due to the mayor’s insistence that the team stay in St. Petersburg. Finally, Maddon insisted that they needed a retractable roof.
How much is a job worth?
Field of Schemes takes to task the idea that the construction of the Florida Marlins new ballpark is a job generating machine. He critiques a Miami Herald story that tries to maximize the employment gain. He goes on to do the math and he determines that the equivalent of 500 jobs full time jobs have been created and, if you divide that by the public subsidy, it comes out to close $1 million per job.