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T.J. SIMERS

This unexpected Dodgers takeover is shockingly good news

Seven years with the Boston Parking Lot Attendant and the Screaming Meanie in control was about seven years too many.

April 20, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Dodgers fans line up in the stadium for autographs before Wednesday night's game against the Braves.
Dodgers fans line up in the stadium for autographs before Wednesday night's… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

I wonder if Vladimir Shpunt saw it coming.

I'm guessing Steve Soboroff did not.

What a farce!

Seven years here with the Boston Parking Lot Attendant and the Screaming Meanie, and clueless reporters are asking Dodgers officials Wednesday if this is the darkest day in the organization's history.

Come on, it's time to celebrate.

The worst day in Dodgers' history was Jan. 29, 2004, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approving the scheming McCourts' plan to buy the Dodgers.

What an outrage!

As Commissioner Bud Selig put it at the time, "There's no doubt in my mind that he will be a good owner of a very storied franchise."

We all say things we might regret — just ask Soboroff, who wrote a letter of support for Frank McCourt months ago and then compounded his misjudgment Tuesday by signing on with McCourt.

Nice timing.

Soboroff, as respected a businessman and a charitably minded citizen that L.A. has to offer, was telling the media a day before MLB took over, "Frank McCourt is financially fine."

On Wednesday Soboroff was in hiding, "busy" as he replied by email, presumably embarrassed and checking on what he might get in a severance package.

McCourt was also unavailable, after reportedly telling team employees a day earlier he would be more involved in day-to-day operations. Out to lunch to the very end.

It's probably a good guess we won't see McCourt again until he meets Selig in court.

I wonder if he will have to pay to park now if returning to Dodger Stadium?

The Screaming Meanie, of course, didn't go quietly. She released a statement ostensibly to remind everyone she's 50% owner of this circus. Out to lunch to the very end — but more than likely at a different restaurant than Frank. Both, though, undoubtedly expensive restaurants.

No one seemed to know much of anything at Dodger Stadium after MLB's takeover announcement. General Manager Ned Colletti learned he would have a new boss from media emails.

Josh Rawitch, McCourt's mouthpiece, hadn't heard from McCourt, so he had no idea what to say.

Hours later the Dodgers released a statement from McCourt, the former guy in control concluding: "It is hard to understand the commissioner's action today.'

Everyone is entitled to their opinion — even McCourt. Oh, and nice knowing you.

No sir, no argument here with the change in control of the franchise, but the timing of this quickie announcement suggests there is more here than McCourt running low on cash. If that was the case, MLB should have taken over seven years ago.

Why wasn't MLB prepared to introduce McCourt's interim replacement immediately?

Did MLB discover some illegality or shady financial practice beyond what we already learned in court papers? Were they paying their sons even more money not to work for the team, or dipping into Think Cure funds to repay the Dream Foundation money given to Howard Sunkin?

Why were the Dodgers left in limbo, with no one understanding what MLB control means beyond the giddy feeling of knowing there will be no more Frank McCourt?

Is MLB waiting for McCourt to file a restraining order today, or some other form of litigation to keep Selig & Co. away?

Whatever, the Dodgers remain a mess. The police are addressing the safety issue, but it will take years to return civility to the stadium.

The stadium is in serious need of improvements, attendance down and the product on the field more suitable for crowds in Albuquerque most nights.

There's no guarantee the next owner will be an improvement. OK, so he has to be an improvement, but it will still be someone requiring approval from Selig and baseball owners.

And we already know they'll go for most anyone.

PAGE 2 will miss the Parking Lot Attendant and the Screaming Meanie, but looks forward to the arrival of the Spanos Goofs.

I TEXTED Joe Torre to find out if MLB might bring him in to run the Dodgers. "Not my department," he replied.

THERE'S ALREADY been a cry for Peter O'Malley, everyone having forgotten the hard times the Dodgers fell on under O'Malley's leadership before selling to Fox.

If MLB is only looking for a babysitter, O'Malley works. But if the Dodgers are intent on competing, still making trades and reshaping a horrible roster, they will need someone who has been involved in the game over the past decade.

WHOEVER IT is, here's hoping he keeps Soboroff. How would it look on his resume working just one day for the Dodgers?

I guess he could tell people he came to his senses.

BEFORE I get to the Lakers' game, I've got to begin with Lamar Odom.

I have known Odom since his start here as a Clipper, in many respects watching him grow both personally and professionally. And in that time I have known no other athlete to be consistently more obliging, friendlier and decent than Odom.

So what a joy it was to hear the overwhelming cheers for him when he received the sixth man award from GM Mitch Kupchak before Game 2.

AS FOR his underachieving Lakers, if the Lakers are as good as everyone thinks around here, it's a no-brainer, right? They come out in Game 2 and squash the Hornets for embarrassing them in the opener.

That's how great competitors respond, isn't it?

They win, all right, but still remain unimpressive, save the aggressive play of Andrew Bynum, Odom and Ron Artest.

They got one of those confounding facilitator/ball hog games from Kobe Bryant, Bryant scoring one basket in the first half. Why does it have to be all or nothing with him?

A better question: If the Hornets have found success roughing up Pau Gasol, what happens if the Lakers persist in moving forward?

Bynum better stay healthy.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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