BOB: Dodgers Divorce and GM Meetingsby Brian Borawski
November 11, 2009
McCourt Drama ContinuesJamie McCourt, the estranged wife of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, failed to get her job as the team’s chief executive back. Superior Court Commission Scott Gordon ruled that there was no state law that supported her bid to get reinstated as Dodgers CEO. The big issue though is whether she’s considered a de facto co-owner of the team just by being the wife of the owner in a community property state. There was a post-nuptial agreement stating that Frank McCourt was the sole owner of the team but this is expected to be contested in court.
The big issue, at least for us in the baseball realm, is what’s going to happen with the team. We have some prior precedent because the San Diego Padres went through this late last year but this appears to be a little nastier, at least publicly. In addition, the whole idea of Jamie McCourt having a front office job also throws a whole new wrench into things.
To throw further fuel on the fire, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said he’d be interested in buying the team. Cuban was involved in the Chicago Cubs sale and he’s also been named as a potential buyer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. For now though, the Dodgers aren’t for sale and it even looks like Jamie McCourt might be trying to put together a team to buy out her husband.
Yankees a Hit In World SeriesRatings for last year’s World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays provided the league an all-time low. This year, with the Yankees in the mix, ratings spiked 39 percent. For the six-game series, there was an average of 19.4 million viewers with 22.3 million tuning in for the final Game Six. Even better, the opening hour of Game Six drew 22.3 million viewers. FOX knew going into the series that they’d see an increase, but you figure this would be pleasing to television executives.
Which gets us to the Yankees. I’ve always contended that Yankees are good for baseball. They help drive road attendance and there’s something about being the team a lot of people hate that makes things a little bit more interesting. When it was Phillies-Rays, nobody tuned in to see a team lose like people do when the Yankees are on and it ultimately creates interest and that’s only a good thing.
Gwinnett Braves Sees Huge Parking ShorfallHeading into the inaugural season for the Gwinnett Braves, parking revenues were expected to be right around $200,000. This amount was to be split between the Braves and the county on a net basis but now the county is digging a little deeper into the records because they received a little more than $20,000 for the year from the team.
One possible reason could be an allocation of startup expenses but it seems like the county is striking out left and right. Earlier in the year, they gave up the naming rights for the team after they were unable to get a sponsor by a September deadline. This means the Braves will now get the first chunk of naming rights revenue per the deal, assuming they can find a corporate sponsor to take on the naming rights.
General Manager Meetings LightThe general manager’s meetings kicked off on Monday in Chicago. Last year’s meetings were held in about as nice of a place as you could find in Dana Point, Calif. This year’s meetings are at the Hilton Hotel at O'Hare Airport in a sign that the front office personnel are going without. The ultimate goal of a lot of teams is to get their payrolls under control while still putting together a contender. By going without the lavish setting for the meetings, many think this just sets the stage for what should be a subdued free-agent signing season.
So far, not a whole lot has come out of the meetings. The general managers decided to not even vote on expanding instant replay but there was some talk about restructuring the Arizona Fall League.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.