BOB: The never ending saga of Frank McCourtby Brian Borawski
October 26, 2011
McCourt asks for six more monthsFrank McCourt's Los Angeles Dodgers filed a motion earlier this week in bankruptcy court to extend their exclusive window to propose a reorganization plan for the team for an additional six months. This would take the proceedings through the end of April, 2012 and that would mean McCourt would still be at the reins next season. The Dodgers reasoning is that they needed the extra time because MLB and Fox haven't come to the table together to put together a reorganization plan. MLB on the other hand is asking the bankruptcy court to terminate the Dodgers exclusive window to put together a plan so they can sell the team this winter.
As this point, it doesn't look like McCourt has any friends. One of the main pieces of McCourt's reorganization plan is to auction off their television rights. While it's not stated, I think Fox most likely believes that they should get some sort of preference because of their vested interest in the team, both as a lender and as the most likely suitor for a television deal.
In other Dodgers news, the team has slashed season ticket prices because of a pretty rough season at the gate in 2011. Their 2.9 million tickets sold was the lowest since 1992 (not counting the 1994 strike season) and some season tickets are being cut by as much as 60 percent. Finally, MLB put a number as to how much McCourt pulled out of the team in a court filing. They're saying that he pulled out $189.16 million and they described the distributions as looting.
Expanded replay most likely on the wayIn light of the blown call at first base in game three of this year's World Series, Bud Selig said that MLB does plan on expanding instant replay. He doesn't go into specifics but he also said that looking at every play via instant replay would be bad for the game. In April, it was reported that there would most likely be an expansion of replay to look at trapped balls and fair or foul ball rulings. It'll be interesting to see if they now take this a step further.
Tampa steps up in bid to lure RaysThe Tampa Chamber of Commerce recently did a study that showed they could contribute $100 million for a new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays. The funding would come from 20-year bonds and most of the money would come from funds that are saved because the Tampa Convention Center will be paid off in 2015. While the city is trying to figure out ways to pay for a ballpark, they haven't gone as far as picking out locations for the new field.
Of course that whole argument is moot because St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster seems to want to hold the team hostage. It's even gotten so bad that the city's council is beginning to question the stalemate. The council wants to at least explore options while Foster doesn't seem to want to address the issue.
World Series ratings holding groundRatings for this year's World Series have been solid and in line with the last few years' fall classic. Game four had a particularly tough time because it went up against Sunday night football and, even with the competition, this year's game four was watched by two percent more people then last year's Game four. At this point, the series is going to game six and could even go to a rare game seven, so it'll be interesting to see how the ratings do with these more pivotal games.
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.