For Ben and Raymond, they maintain a sentiment of baseball as religion; men of faith putting their trust both in the word of God and Vin Scully. They both believe in the Miracle of the Resurrection and Game 1 of the ‘88 World Series. Both have been unfaithful baseball bigamists; Raymond with the Angels and Ben with the Red Sox. Their faiths have undergone as much change as their favorite team's roster. So they write about it. They write about Baseball and they write about God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Ballad of Frank and Jamie

I have come to terms with the fact that the impending divorce of Frank and Jaime McCourt will lead to the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to new owners and a relative lull in the performance of the Dodgers as a competitive team for the next few years.

Frank knowing that he will need money for litigation and in efforts to keep money from his wife; will definitely not be investing heavily in the team any time soon. Rumors abound that budget cuts are rampant throughout the organization with budgets and payrolls being slashed left and right.

At first I was quite angry about this, upset that I was going to have to last through a rebuilding era for my favorite team. I felt like the Dodgers were nothing more than a large Stadium shaped ATM machine for the McCourts. But after really thinking about it I have come to the conclusion that they are really no different than any of the previous few owners of the Dodgers.

As described by T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times, Frank McCourt was not much more than a parking lot attendant from Boston. A successful real estate developer from the bay state who had patched together land parcels to turn into profitable parking lots in one of America's oldest and most cramped cities.

It has been reported by others before that the McCourt's originally wanted to buy the Red Sox, but lacked the capital or even just the straight cash to make them a serious contender. However when Fox put up the Dodgers for sale the McCourts were one of the first ones in with a serious bid and Fox in their desperation to get out of their (At the time money losing) investment sold quickly. The McCourts were looking for a team to invest in and make money from they were never in it for the love of the game.

Fox, before them, was no better of course. Fox used their ownership of the Dodgers as nothing more than a tool in developing their Fox Sports Cable Television Network. Specifically the two Fox Sports West channels. Fox never made any major push in pursuing superstar caliber players and short of replacing the grass made no improvements to the stadium.

Fox took ownership of the Dodgers from the famed O'Malley family. And one thing is for certain the O'Malley's were not much more than a rich penny pinching Irish family. Walter O'Malley although a baseball fan, was a business man first. The decision to bring the Dodgers westward was more economic then anything else.

Branch Rickey was a baseball fan and baseball lover. He cared about the fans, players and the game. He was baseball innovator and champion. Sadly he was essentially forced out of the Dodger organization by O'Malley who wanted to consolidate his power and control over the team. Rickey moved on to be GM for the Pirates and even helped them win the series in 1960.

I say all this to make a point about the Dodger have never really had a baseball loving owner since Rickey. As much as I hate George Steinbrenner I would love to have an owner like him. A man who loves baseball and loves to win. Mark Cuban comes to mind, but he will never be allowed in by the MLB owners, and knowing our luck we will end up with another Donald Sterling type owner anyways.


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