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New Dodgers owners: They just don't get it

The team's new owners aren't giving answers to fans who are angry and suspicious about former owner Frank McCourt's ongoing relationship with the club.

May 15, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Lakers great and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson gestures during a news conference at Dodger Stadium on May 2.
Lakers great and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson gestures during a news… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

The disturbing thing is less that they didn’t understand the deep-rooted animosity in “that community” toward Frank McCourt  than that they still don’t. Or anyway, so they lead you to believe.

Given a chance Monday by The Times’ T.J. Simers to clarify some confusing early comments, the defensive new owners of the Dodgers somehow instead pulled deeper into their fetal position.

More semantics, more dodging, more non-answers. Makes you wonder why they even agreed to the call.

The best thing Guggenheim Baseball Management had going for it wasn’t Mark Walter’s deep pockets or Stan Kasten’s expertise running a sports franchise or “that community’s” love affair with Magic Johnson. It was the same thing any new owners would have had -- they weren’t Frank McCourt.

Only, of course, for some reason Guggenheim paid McCourt three-quarters of a billion dollars more than the next known bid and still allowed him to keep a half interest in the 300 acres surrounding Dodger Stadium.

Kasten has repeatedly said Guggenheim would not reveal requested details of its agreement with McCourt because it’s no different from any other private business contract.

Which again screams -- they just don’t get it!

The Dodgers are not just any other business in “that community,” but I would argue the premier, most beloved, most cherished institution in Los Angeles.

And right now its fans are bitter and angry over the way McCourt dragged their prize into bankruptcy. They are a lover who has been burned, and now hesitant to begin a new relationship.

They want to trust again, but remain in pain and are going to be extra cautious before moving forward. So they want answers to really reasonable questions. It shouldn’t be that hard. It’s the simple, respectful thing to do.

But the new owners are off to an awful start. They act like they’re hiding something, and all that’s going to do is make people nervous and suspicious.

Certainly there is an element of fans so tired of the McCourt fiasco, they just want to turn the corner; but new ownership best not count on that. The vast majority feels scarred and is angry McCourt remains.

And here’s one promise I can absolutely make to the new owners: Frank McCourt will sue you.

At some point, over some perceived miscarriage, he will sue you. That’s what he does. Ask his ex-wife, ex-attorneys, former business partners, former employees or Major League Baseball. That’s the one game he enjoys.

Sadly, the only news from Simers’ questioning came from Walter, who changed an earlier response to say: "We are likely to invest in a real estate portfolio that [McCourt] has or that he builds.”

Doesn’t that sound just so dreamy? Walter really does sound like an out-of-touch, absentee owner. He’s willing to partner up with the one man nobody in L.A. would touch. The man who’s never built anything, and did I mention he likes to sue?

And as for building that Dodgersville or whatever around the stadium with McCourt? Good luck. An official who approves any rezoning that would help McCourt is looking not to be reelected.

It’s not too late for Guggenheim to come clean, get it all out there and ask for a do-over. You know, with “that community.” It would almost be like they finally get it.


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