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Tom Schieffer: 'We need to get the Dodgers back to where they've always been'

The team's new trustee tells Commissioner Bud Selig that he'll stay until the job is done.

April 25, 2011|By Bill Shaikin
(Ron Heflin / Associated…)

At the end of his first day as the Dodgers' trustee, Tom Schieffer took in a ballgame.

He watched the Texas Rangers, the team he served as team president for eight years. In the next few days, Schieffer will fly from Dallas to Los Angeles and take over the Dodgers on behalf of Commissioner Bud Selig, a task he accepted in a Monday morning telephone call from Selig.

"I told him I would stay until the job was done," Schieffer said. "Hopefully, that won't be too long."

Schieffer said he had not spoken with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt as of Monday night but hoped to do so soon. Schieffer said he could not yet discuss what role McCourt might play; Selig has stripped McCourt of authority in the Dodgers' business matters and financial affairs.

Selig fully intends for Schieffer's appointment to mark the first step in an eventual ownership change, according to several baseball people familiar with the commissioner's thinking, but Schieffer said he does not define staying "until the job was done" solely as facilitating an ownership transition.

"I don't think it necessarily means that," Schieffer said. "We need to get the Dodgers back to where they've always been.

"When I was in baseball, people talked about the Dodger way. That's a way that has been very successful over the years. Major League Baseball and the fans want it to be that kind of franchise again."

McCourt has yet to take the legal action that Selig and his lawyers have anticipated, in the hope he can meet with the commissioner and present a plan to stabilize the franchise. The Dodgers' new vice chairman, Steve Soboroff, has blasted Selig's takeover as "irresponsible."

McCourt needed a $30-million loan from Fox to meet the season's first payroll. As he threatens to fight Selig in court, he is fighting his old law firm in a Boston court and fighting his former wife, Jamie, in divorce court in Los Angeles.

"The important thing that fans should know is that what happens on the field is what the baseball team is about," Schieffer said. "I'm not here to tell the baseball people who should be in the starting rotation.

"I'm here to get the organization running again, to the point where people don't know who's in the front office."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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