That’s right kiddies, it’s the last go-round for Frank McCourt, Dodgers owner. Don’t get all weepy on me now.
No more pulling $189 million out of the team, only not to make payroll. No more legally not paying taxes on his Dodgers earnings. It’s the end of Russian psychics and paying his buddy $400,000 out of the team charity and constant front-office turnover and paying his sons six figures for no discernible team duties and planning to cut payroll while raising ticket prices and dragging a Los Angeles cultural treasure into bankruptcy.
Sometime between now and April 30, McCourt will officially hand the keys to the Dodgers over to Guggenheim Baseball Management, which will face its own set of questions, but none having to do with McCourt -- other than how could you possibly spend a record $2.15 billion to buy the team and allow McCourt to maintain half-ownership in the parking lots?
The bankruptcy agreement, and the $131 million he owes ex-wife Jamie McCourt, provide the deadline and that makes this week his final homestand as owner of the Dodgers. The Dodgers open a six-game homestand Monday against the Braves and end it Sunday against the Nationals.
And by next Monday, McCourt walks away. Walks away, it should be noted, having not invested a penny of his own money to buy the team, then take them into bankruptcy and leaving with approximately $1 billion in his pocket.
Whatever you may think of McCourt, that sounds like financial genius to me.
But at least there is a loud clock sounding off now, days that can be counted in single digits, until soon it is mere hours until the Dodgers are freed from the darkest chapter in franchise history.
Long after the home opener ended April 10, the Dodgers organization had something of a postgame party on the field. Near the end of it, McCourt and his four sons walked out to center field with team photographer Jon SooHoo, and had a picture taken with the stadium behind them.
It looked like a farewell photo, and you can only hope. It would be swell if that was the last ever seen of McCourt, if he would just disappear and let the healing process begin. But it’s McCourt, so history tells us not to get too comfortable.
But this is his final week as team owner, the last homestand where he is officially in charge of the Dodgers. And whatever uncertainties may still haunt, that is no small thing.
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