LA Update: MLB Taking Control over Dodgers

While owners Frank and Jamie McCourt continue to have their ugly divorce settling spill over into the public picture, Major League Baseball has decided they’ve seen enough.

Commissioner Bud Selig has announced that MLB will take control of the day-to-day business operations to make sure that the Dodgers will function properly as an organization, and the commissioner added he will appoint someone later this week to run the financial aspect of the franchise (ESPN Link).

It’s been very obvious that the Dodgers’ finances have been limited ever since the divorce hearings began and the league office decided that they were concerned enough about there being enough capital to keep the team afloat to take charge. The move by the league is final and indefinite.

The apparent final nail in the coffin was the report released by the Los Angeles Times, stating that team owner Frank McCourt had turned to the Dodgers’ television affiliate, Fox, for a $30 million loan to pay off player salaries. This isn’t the first time the league has held control over a team active in the league. The last time the team controlled an organization was for the final years of the Montreal Expos. The Expos were eventually sold and moved to Washington, DC, where they are now the Nationals.

The Dodgers are not in any threat to be moved, as they own one of the most loyal fan bases in the entire league and play in the second largest market in the United States. However, there is a very strong chance that the McCourts will never regain control of the Dodgers, and the team is sold to a new ownership group.

From a fan’s perspective, this move should be seen as an absolute positive step in the right direction. If anything, the Dodgers were falling backwards with the inability to spend money or even keep the talent they already had. They lost Russell Martin to free agency last season, even though they have arbitration rights to the catcher. Next year, there were rumblings that they wouldn’t be able to afford star right fielder Andre Ethier for the same reasons, and many began to think the same about center fielder Matt Kemp.

By MLB taking control of the team, they won’t be allowed to add payroll necessarily, but the league is empowered to keep the payroll at a similar figure it currently is. So, the team won’t be forced to fire-sale and play at a significantly lower team salary than LA fans have become accustom to. Its a savvy move by Bud Selig, and its a move that should finally bring stability to the Dodger faithful.

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About Home Field Advantage
We are two senior Sports Communication majors at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. We have launched this blog as part of our senior year capping project, with the goal of creating a comparative analysis and multimedia approach to the differing sports cultures in America.

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