An Open Letter To Frank McCourt

Dear Mr. McCourt:

It is time for you to go away. You are an embarrasment and a fraud, but there is some time still left on the clock. Use that time to salvage what is left of your dignity, and your reputation as both businessperson and baseball fan. Use that time to make the correct decision for the franchise you have claimed to love. Use that time to make the correct decision for the fans you claim to serve.

Your tenure as owner of the Dodgers has become emblematic of the very worst in sports ownership. You bought the team without actually having the money to afford the responsibility. You used the team’s cash flows to lead a lifestyle you neither earned or could afford on your own. You did exactly what the most irresponsible homeowners and developers did in the years leading to the Great Recession; purchase something you could not afford in the hopes that its value would increase enough to bail you out. You committed these sins using a treasure of the sports world, using fraudulent methods and with a callous disregard for those who would be harmed. Even now, as your mismanagement of this historic franchise has led it to ruin, you seek to leverage yet more of its future.

The Dodgers are a proud franchise, with fans who loyally fill the stadium in Chavez Ravine in their millions. Many franchises proudly announce when they have hosted 3,000,000 fans in a season; for the Dodgers, that number is a disappointment. We fans come from hundreds of miles away; we come from right down the block. We fans buy a fresh new cap, in our beloved Dodger Blue, as often as our cash flows allow. We buy our Dodger Dogs and our beer. We root as passionately, in our own way, as any fans in the game. Any manager with basic skills, humility, and common sense should be able to balance the books at an enterprise generating the cash flows that Dodger Stadium does. But you sir, can no longer pay your bills. You sir, have strung Vin Scully along at the end of an IOU. You sir, have  just filed for bankruptcy.

According to a widely quoted statement, you have “made the Dodgers profitable and successful”. While I am clearly not the business operator you are sir, a lengthy career in management and an MBA just barely give me the insight to point out that making a business profitable does not immediately precede filing for bankruptcy. Perhaps you could, with your vast wealth of knowledge and experience, explain how those concepts come to exist in the same thought. While the notion is beyond my experience and training, it pales in comparison to the shady swindles that got you this team.

You tried to buy the Red Sox in order to build a new stadium for them on parking lots you already owned; Major League Baseball apparently took a pass on that smelly deal. Then, you traded those parking lots to Fox for the Dodgers (which of course includes many parking lots that you want to develop), and have seen the market value of the enterprise almost double. And therein lies the real reason you don’t want to lose this team; if you lose the Dodgers, you lose the gamble. Like a degenerate gambler who got lucky on a video poker machine, you are trying to turn a progressive royal flush into a ticket to Forbes-land. And like a degenerate gambler, your supreme hubris, bad judgment, and monumental stupidity has led you, as the Brits say, to cock it all up. But this isn’t Rounders sir, and being from Boston doesn’t make you Matt Damon.

Commissioner Selig was right to squash your pirate’s parley with Fox; the deal was a transparent attempt to pay for your greed and hubris, and finalize your divorce from your greedy ex-spouse. You shouldn’t be granted a divorce from your ex-beloved, you two seem made for each other. Oh I know she doesn’t claim to have wanted the deal in the first place, but the facts show that you and the missus stole this franchise for the twin goals of paying for your lifestyle, and earning society credibility. The Fox deal shows hundreds of millions of dollars skimmed right off the top, and sent directly to you and the ex-Dodger President. This is fraud at its most blatant Frank, and deep down, where your conscience used to be, you know it.

You see Mr. McCourt, a business develops a cash flow, and owners get a cut of the PROFITS…you don’t earn, you don’t play. But you wouldn’t know that Frank, would you? You are a liar, you are a crook, you are a charlatan in expensive shoes, but you are no businessperson. You also aren’t a baseball person. Whatever good things have been done in your tenure, have happened as accidents of fate, or at least rare glimpses of a luck long devoid from the Dodger fan’s experience.

In 1653, having sat far too long, having heard far too much, and having seen far to little, Oliver Cromwell addressed the Rump Parliament with this line that serves you so well:

You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately … Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

The Rational Middle always listens Mr. McCourt, but now, we who are fans of the team and lovers of the game listen only for the sound of your departure.

2 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Frank McCourt

  1. Cuban, to me at least, seems to be more of a check-writer and cheerleader, and less of a serial meddler than was the Boss. I would LOVE to have him offer and be accepted as the owner. I think the principle issue is with the very traditional and largely elitist fraternity of MLB owners…Selig can’t just approve Mark Cuban, he has to wrangle ownership approval of Mark Cuban.

    This mess though, certainly hurts a lot…

  2. I wonder whether Bud would change his tune on having Mark Cuban as an owner now? He might be a little too much like Steinbrenner was for Selig’s taste, but this mess has to hurt more.

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