Just two days after Dodgers team owners Jamie and Frank McCourt had come to a mutual agreement on their divorce settlement, on Tuesday Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig refused to grant a television contract, said to be worth $3 billion over the next 20 years, to the Dodgers and Fox Sports.
The rejection of the deal leaves the Dodgers organization’s stability in limbo. With the deal being turned down, the McCourts more than likely won’t be able to make the Dodgers payroll on June 30. The divorce settlement will also be voided due to the rejection of the Fox deal.
If payroll isn’t made, Selig can seize the Dodgers and place a price tag on the team to be sold. Whenever that happens, all 29 baseball owners would be responsible for a team’s payroll until a new owner comes aboard.
Selig continues to stress that the deal would not be in the best interest of baseball. He issued a statement to the media to express his feelings on the deal.
“We owe it to the legion of loyal Dodger fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future,” Selig stated in the release. “This transaction would not accomplish those goals.”
McCourt has yet to speak to the media but issued a statement through his attorney, Steve Susman: “Commissioner Selig’s letter of rejection is not only a disappointment, but worse, is potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball. Accordingly, we plan to explore vigorously our options and remedies with respect to Commissioner Selig’s rejection of the proposed Fox transaction and our commitment to protect the long-term best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”
After McCourt borrrowed $30 million from Fox last month to meet the team’s payroll, MLB made a decision to take over the franchise and investigate the team’s finances. Since then, McCourt has been speaking out vocally hoping to catch a break. He issued a statement to the public threatening the commissioner with a lawsuit, if MLB attempts to seize the Dodgers due to his financial difficulties. Selig isn’t budging and continues to shoot down any deal that McCourt brings to the table. From the looks of things, MLB doesn’t want to hear anything that McCourt has to say. Before McCourt submitted the TV proposal to MLB, he had written Selig two letters pleading for answers concerning his ownership with the Dodgers but never received a response.
The fans are staying away from the stadium while the battle of power continues between the commissioner and the Dodgers owners. There are plenty of empty seats at Chavez Ravine. It looks like the fans are trying to make a statement by not showing up. The attendance has decreased by 30 percent compared to last season.
The Dodgers are struggling right now and at one point they were at a season-worst of eight games below .500. Players continue to stay humble during this horrific time. Dodgers center-fielder Matt Kemp had a positive attitude, when he was approached in the locker room last week after a game about the fan base disappearance and the environment in the clubhouse.
“We are going to keep trying to turn things around and get our fans back out here,” Kemp said. “We’re just staying positive and trying to focus on winning games.