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Dodgers: Parting shots for Frank McCourt

April 03, 2012|By Paul Thornton
  • Readers have little nice to say about Frank McCourt (shown at Dodger Stadium in June 2010), but does he deserve his status as a pariah?
Readers have little nice to say about Frank McCourt (shown at Dodger Stadium… (Los Angeles Times )

It wasn't even six years ago -- hardly enough time to qualify as an era for a team whose history goes back to the Arthur administration --  when The Times published an editorial at the conclusion of the 2006 season welcoming the Dodgers back to the playoffs. The editorial reflected a Dodgers fan base at the time slowly coming to terms with a team ownership that strained to endear itself to Los Angeles.

I bring up this editorial to point out that the Frank McCourt era wasn't all bad for the Dodgers, as the reader letters below may suggest. Following 2006, the Dodgers came just shy of advancing to the World Series in 2008 and 2009, the franchise's best postseason showings since 1988. Of course, we all know what happened after the 2009 season.

So, does McCourt deserve his status as a pariah? The letter writers below seem to think so, and they have their reasons: The Dodgers' unprecedented and ignominious bankruptcy filing last year, behavior by McCourt underpinning the long-held suspicion that he placed his own gilded comfort ahead of the team's success, and the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot come to mind. 

With McCourt on his way out, readers have little nice to say about the owner who oversaw both the most successful Dodgers seasons since the 1980s and arguably the darkest moments in franchise history. So I'll leave it up to you: Are the comments below, sent to letters@latimes.com, unfair, or is the vituperation called for?

McCourt made a tidy profit; why not give some money to Stow? In a submission that will run on Wednesday's letters page, Felice Sussman of Los Alamitos writes:

"It is beyond absurd, unfair and unjust that Frank McCourt will walk away a newly minted billionaire after looting and abusing the Dodgers organization.

"My question is this: How much of his ill-gotten gains does McCourt plan to share with Bryan Stow, the real loser in this whole sorry affair?"

Reader Jan Steinhauser of Sherman Oaks raises the same point:

"Now that McCourt has reaped his windfall and his ex-wife will soon receive hers, doesn't he think it’s time to take care of Stow?

"Surely a man like McCourt would like to leave L.A. on a high note. Doesn't he think so?"

Only in America can McCourt come out of this ahead, says Bruce Kahn of Claremont:

"So, you take a franchise, run it into the ground for eight years, and make a billion-dollar profit. Is this a great country or what?"

McCourt wasn't the Dodgers' only problem, writes Keith Karpé of San Clemente:

"No amount of 'Magic' or 'moneyball' will ever persuade this once-lifetime Dodgers fan to ever again set foot in that frightening place known as Chavez Ravine. It is nothing more than a microcosm of the doomed city described often in the pages of The Times.

"I once sat on my father's lap and watched the Dodgers play a magical game in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. In turn, I held my own son on my lap during the miracle that was the 1988 season. I also was among the 50,000 fans struck dumb the day Jack Clark smacked his famous home run.

"I watched Drysdale, Koufax, Cey, Garvey, Wills, Crawford and so many others play in a mystical place that always mesmerized me with its sparkling physical countenance that seemed to also define the infinite possibilities of my own life whenever I visited it.

"That's forever gone now. It moved south, like most of us, decades ago to the Angels and Arte Moreno, leaving the goons behind, and I don't just mean those who inhabit the bleachers in that place Vin Scully euphemistically termed the outfield pavilion.

"Thank God baseball is a state of mind as well as a game played on a field. At least I have that. Gone, baby, gone for good."

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