Finally, the embarrassment that was the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers is over as Major League Baseball decided enough was enough and took control of the scandalized organization from now former owner Frank McCouth. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told McCouth on Wednesday he will appoint a trustee to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the club.
"I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club," Selig said in a statement.
This move, which is easily the boldest taken by a major sport in recent memory, comes on the heals of a slew of problems for McCourt. Besides financial issues that had forced McCouth to take a $30 million dollar loan from Fox to make payroll recently, he has had to deal with a messy divorce that literally ripped the team down the middle as a late 2010 ruling by Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon in Los Angeles invalidated a March 2004 postnuptial agreement giving Frank sole possession of the team, thus allowing his former wife Jamie to seek half of the franchise.
"It's unfortunate what the organization and the team is going under the last couple of years," Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier said Wednesday. "There's a lot of people in the city and the fans who want to see a good Dodgers organization, a good Dodgers team and be proud of it. I know there's a lot of players in this locker room that want to make this come true for the fans in this city, the die-hards that want to be here every day for us. There's nothing we want to do more than win and make them proud of us."
The hostile takeover of the Dodgers by MLB came as a shock to fans and players alike as nobody foresaw this happening.
"Yeah, I was surprised because you don't think about it," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday. "But, really, this shouldn't affect us at all. They're still not going to have any control over if we make good pitches or get good pitches to hit or we make plays. It shouldn't have any effect on what we do on the field. I'm sure there will be a little more media attention over the next few days and maybe over the next few months, but still, it shouldn't have any effect on how we play."
For McCouth's part, he had no idea why Selig would choose to do this now, as the Dodgers are currently running in accord to financial guidelines set up by MLB.
"Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines, which all 30 teams must follow," McCourt said. "The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the commissioner's action today."
With the Dodgers now in Selig's hands, it will be up to him what to do with them. Current thoughts have him eventually selling the team but not after he goes through the team with a fine tooth comb.
"My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership," Selig said. "The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS