- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 774 days ago
A New Twist in the Dodgers Ownership Sale
- Updated: January 9, 2012
While the Bankruptcy Court ordered sale of the Dodgers proceeds, a very interesting development occurred Wednesday when Joe Torre suddenly resigned his position with MLB as Vice President of Operations overseeing such things as discipline and umpiring. Late word is that Torre who managed the Dodgers to back to back NLCS appearances in 2008-2009 is connected to Rick Caruso who is President of Caruso Affiliated, a real estate development company responsible for several successful retail and entertainment complexes in Southern California.
Torre as one of the best known and respected figures in all of baseball would bring instant credibility as the Dodgers begin the long process of rebuilding the franchise and re-launching the Dodgers brand inSouthern California. In Caruso, Torre seems to be aligned perfectly with someone who has an excellent business and development background that would focus on the business end of the Dodgers while allowing Torre free reign to rebuild the baseball operation in Chavez Ravine which is in tatters after the past few stormy years of team ownership under the outgoing Frank McCourt. Three years ago McCourt had developed a $500 million dollar project to upgrade the current stadium and develop the 275 acres surrounding the stadium that is currently mostly used for parking. Item of note here is that in one of his many dealings while owning the club, McCourt has separated the Dodgers Team, Dodger Stadium and the parking lots surrounding the stadium into separate entities. It is unclear as of today’s date if the parking lots would be included with the sale of the team and stadium.
The sale of the Dodgers as supervised by a bankruptcy court is the key. Bid packages have been requested by up to 6 different groups, with groups including former Dodgers players Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey, a group including Magic Johnson and Mark Cuban, and still another group led by former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley and former GM Fred Claire. The bankruptcy court supervising the sale of the Dodgers upheld the team’s contention that they be allowed to solicit bids for the broadcast rights of the Dodgers as part of the sale of the team. The Dodgers argued that the sale of the broadcast rights is central to allowing a new ownership group to have an indentified, stable and sustained source of revenue going forward which would allow for rapid rebuilding of the franchise and finding the initial projects needed to upgrade the stadium and it’s facilities. However Fox, as holders of those rights thru 2013, filed an appeal and the appellate court issued an emergency stay against sale of the Dodgers broadcast rights. What’s interesting is that while the Dodgers argued for the sale of the broadcast rights, they argued against sale of the parking lots. This has MLB taking a long hard look at the bidding process to ensure none of any sale money is diverted for further personal use by outgoing owner Frank McCourt who needs to raise $130 million dollars as part of his divorce settlement from his estranged wife Jamie. After MLB rejected the Dodgers $3 billion, 17 year deal with Fox last summer, McCourt entered the club into bankruptcy court. MLB’s concern is that no additional monies be diverted from the team to the McCourt’s for their personal use including the payment of the aforementioned divorce settlement.
All that’s really known with any certainty as of now is that the sale must be completed by the end of April this year and that there will certainly be a number of twists and turns as this process plays itself out.