While baseball mourned the passing of George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees owner, last week, another of the game's signature franchises continued to experience ownership issues of its own.The Los Angeles Dodgers are a rudderless ship, with their owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, mired in a vicious divorce fight that has paralysed the ballclub. The trade deadline is fast approaching, but the Dodgers look like bystanders because their financial picture is so muddled. While the McCourts fight over tens of millions, the Dodgers are unable to spend modest sums to improve a contending club.
The divorce might offer some Hollywood-style entertainment if the team weren't caught in the middle. Conventional wisdom suggests that no matter how the divorce is settled, the Dodgers will eventually have to be sold as an asset. Until then, Ned Colletti, the general manager, is hamstrung, with no flexibility in his payroll.This situation is not unprecedented. The San Diego Padres went through a similar soap opera a few years back before John Moores, the owner, sold the team.
But the Dodgers are one of the game's most treasured brands, and if the mess drags on much longer, it might be time for Bud Selig, the commissioner, to step in and mediate a solution.If Frank and Jamie McCourt are miserable together, that is no excuse for inflicting the same misery on the fan base of such a history-steeped firstname.lastname@example.org