Baseball teams are not conventional businesses. The league's special status is even reflected in its exemption from anti-trust law. Its teams are franchises, and its owners answer to the commissioner, the fans and the nation itself. That demands a lot of an owner: enough wealth to buy a team and enough humility to serve its many masters. McCourt has neither the money nor the temperament to succeed.
The ownership crises are only glancingly reflected on the field. On the day McCourt declared bankruptcy, his players posted a 15-0 win. But the team dropped into last place two days later, and fans are subtly but unmistakably registering their offense. Attendance has plummeted, and the Dodgers, who once led the major leagues in crowds, now face the sharpest dropoff of any club.