Dodgers’ executive blasts Selig’s decision to have MLB assume control over team

A Los Angeles Dodgers batting helmet in the dugout before the Dodgers 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on April 20, 2011. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday the league office is assuming control of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the wake of a report team owner Frank McCourt is struggling to pay bills. UPI/Jonathan Alcorn

A day after Bud Selig announced that Major League Baseball would assume control over the Los Angeles Dodgers, club executive Steve Soboroff has come to the defense of current owner Frank McCourt.


Soboroff, the Los Angeles civic leader and former mayoral candidate whom the Dodgers hired Tuesday as vice chairman, said Thursday the Dodgers are in good shape financially and Selig’s move was “irresponsible” and came as “a shock.”

Soboroff cited the Dodgers’ potential 20 year, $3 billion television deal with Fox as evidence McCourt has sufficient funds to operate the team.

“All this momentum is building and then all of sudden this letter comes in and says, ‘You don’t have any money. You don’t have this or that.’ I think it was irresponsible,” Soboroff said.

Soboroff also expressed frustration Thursday with the way Selig handled Wednesday’s announcement and the lag time before appointing an overseer.

“To me, if you’re going to send somebody out here to take something over, you don’t write a letter that says, ‘Gee whiz, here’s all these problems with you and here’s everything else, but don’t worry, later on in the week we’re going to send somebody else out,'” Soboroff said. “You do it the same day. … What are you supposed to do for four days?”

I’m not going to pretend that I know even half of what’s going on with this situation with Frank McCourt, Major League Baseball and the Dodgers. It’s not like I’ve been in a room with the McCourts over the past decade and taking diligent notes on their spending habits. I just can’t know everything about everything – even if I pretend to. (And trust me, I do pretend to.)

That said, it’s not like Selig isn’t within his rights to want to know what the hell is going on with one of his teams. Thanks in large part to the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have had some recent success under McCourt (not World Series success mind you, but success nonetheless). But there are some ugly reports out there about McCourt’s spending, which include the fact that he gave himself a $5 million salary and his ex-wife $2 million (which is according to evidence at their divorce hearing). There was also a report that they gave a six-figure free to Vladimir Shpunt, a self-described scientist and healer in Boston, to send positive energy across the country to the Dodgers. (Shpunt might want to check the coordinates on that positive energy, because he may have mistakenly sent it to the Giants last fall.)

So while I don’t blame Soboroff for coming to McCourt’s defense, I don’t think Selig is off his rocker in wanting to do a little investigating into the Dodgers’ financial books. As baseball’s commissioner, he owes it to the game and to the fans in L.A. to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up and that McCourt does have his club’s best interests at heart (financially speaking).

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