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T.J. SIMERS

The McCourts and public opinion: Image is everything

All that money spent on PR, and now we now await the next titillating TMZ revelation to top Frank's 'Dear Jamie' letter.

October 25, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

Image has always been at the forefront for the McCourts, going through public relations directors Derrick Hall, John Olguin and Gary Miraneau, hiring media manipulation specialist Sitrick & Co., before turning to Tipper Gore's former press secretary and later Dr. Charles Steinberg.

All that money spent, and a la Jon & Kate, we now await the next titillating TMZ revelation to top Frank's "Dear Jamie" letter.

How long before TMZ identifies the "direct subordinate" and describes Jamie's "inappropriate behavior" with him or her, as Frank noted in his dirty-laundry list of reasons for canning his wife?

"This isn't funny," said yet another Dodgers' PR type, Josh Rawitch.

No, it's now hilarious.

"Has someone changed the lock on Jamie's office?" I asked Rawitch on Friday.

"No, it's been at least a month since any locks have been changed," said Rawitch, and there's a tip for TMZ: Who got locked out of their office at Dodger Stadium about a month ago?

TMZ later reported the lock on Jamie's door has now been changed.

I hope I'm not the one to blame for giving Rawitch any ideas. The only other conclusion is that he's just another Dodgers PR guy who isn't in the loop, thereby making him useless.

In his "Dear Jamie" letter, the Parking Lot Attendant noted he was firing his wife because of her "insubordination" -- taking a stand, I guess, where most men would not dare.

By the way, I can't tell you how reassuring it is to know Frank had nothing to do with this split.

Divorce is not funny, of course, given the impact on so many lives, but it's the McCourts who have elected to make this a public farce. The scary thing is -- knowing them -- maybe they think it will improve their Hollywood image.

Instead of conducting private business behind closed doors, the McCourts went public with their disagreements, Jamie taking Row 1 in the owners' -- or is that owner's? -- box at Dodger Stadium, while Frank took Row 3.

I'm guessing Hall, or maybe Olguin or someone from Sitrick and most certainly the Tipper Gore Lady, would have suggested they sit on Level 5, out of sight in the owners/owner luxury suite.

Someone suggested they probably sold the suite for the playoffs to make some more money, and I wish I had thought of that first.

As you know, this debacle, still in the making with attorneys now starting to get paid, took an even funnier twist this week with the announcement just hours before the firing of Jamie that Ned Colletti has a new contract.

This makes so much sense because the last image maker, the Dentist -- a.k.a. Dr. Steinberg -- got the boot.

Who better to become organizational spokesman than the Schmoozer -- a.k.a. Colletti -- who worked previously as a PR guy for the Chicago Cubs.

Right away the Schmoozer was telling a crowd of reporters as documented by Associated Press, "I have no inclination that anything will change from how the Los Angeles Dodgers do business."

I guess locking the CEO, or former CEO who claims she's co-owner, out of her office is business as usual around Dodger Stadium.

The grand plans for improvements to Dodger Stadium have been stopped, the argument of who owns the team is just beginning and somewhere there's a direct subordinate with a story to tell. And that's all we know -- no telling what else is going to be unearthed.

The Schmoozer went on to say, "There hasn't been any change in how we do business in the last few weeks or months," no doubt alluding to the "inappropriate behavior" and "direct subordinate" who got it "in the last few weeks or months."

I'd ask the Schmoozer for the identity, or whether TMZ should be focusing on a male or female, but he didn't even know pitcher Jason Schmidt had a bum shoulder and he was working in San Francisco with Schmidt.

I guess you have to give credit, though, to Frank for downsizing in these tough times, hiring a general manager and a PR director at the same time.

The Schmoozer said he could have gone elsewhere, and he said it with a straight face. "I signed [a contract extension] because I believe in the organization."

What a dark day for baseball owners across the country who were hoping they might get a crack at Colletti, none of them probably thinking of offering him both the titles of GM and Blowing Smoke Specialist.

Who signs a longer-term deal knowing the Dodgers might have to be sold because of all this, the first thing a new owner probably doing getting his own GM? Holy Andruw Jones, that might indicate one has a tendency to employ poor judgment.

As it is, the Dodgers' "Confidentiality and Press Policy," which Frank cites over and over in his "Dear Jamie" letter, probably precludes anyone with the Dodgers from speaking the truth.

When dismissed, and there's a long list of some really good people who have been terminated by the McCourts, there are financial considerations given to keep those fired quiet. Those breaking the Confidentiality and Press Policy risk losing such financial considerations.

As Frank not-so-subtly reminded the Mrs., "You've already been paid your salary through Dec. 31, 2009." Imagine being married and having to pay your wife a salary -- sorry, I just lost it there for a minute.

When you think about all the money the McCourts have spent on image makers, terminated employees paid off and now attorneys, had they just dedicated their attention to signing better players, today they could have the Yankees' payroll.

Maybe it will still pay off, and they'll get their own reality TV show.

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t.j.simers@latimes.com

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