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The short career of Tagg Romney, Dodgers executive

November 05, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Tagg Romney greets Barbara Irby at his father's election headquarters in Lynchburg, Va., last month.
Tagg Romney greets Barbara Irby at his father's election headquarters… (Sam O'Keefe / Associated…)

You just never know how a national election is going to affect you, unless, of course, you had sort of planned it out.

You know, like Frank and Jamie McCourt.

That’s right, those wily former owners of the Dodgers knew how to look ahead. Now you could argue how good they were at it, but they did look ahead. And it should be noted, the team was sold for a still hard to believe $2.15 billion.

But back at the end of 2005, the McCourts had an opening in their front office. This is like saying they spent a little money on their hairstyles.

And to fill the position of chief marketing officer, they tabbed ... Tagg Romney.

Yep, Mitt Romney’s oldest kid. Mitt Romney at the time was governor of Massachusetts and already eyeing the White House. There apparently being no Red Sox executive available at the time, the McCourts did one better, going back to their home state to hire a man whose father just might one day become president of the United States.

Tagg Romney, then 35, was woefully unqualified to be a baseball team's marketing executive. Like dad, he got his bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University and master's degree from Harvard. He majored in business.

His one claim to previous sports marketing was at Reebok, where he was something called vice president for on-field marketing. One Dodgers official said they later learned his primary responsibility was to watch NFL and NBA games, counting how many times Reebok was mentioned or its logo caught on camera.

During his approximately one-year tenure with the Dodgers, insiders described him as everything from a “very nice guy who was just in way over his head” to a “vacuous-eyed, transparent political appointment.”

He was charged with “the strategic planning and implementation of all advertising, marketing, broadcasting and branding initiatives including in-game entertainment for the Dodgers” and had previous experience at almost none of it. He had never worked in baseball or for any other sports team.

To be fair, of course, it was difficult for any club executive to be successful under the craziness that was McCourt management. That never-ending carousel of front office executives was no coincidence.

Tagg left the Dodgers less than a year later to join his father’s first attempt as the Republican presidential nominee, his failed 2008 bid. Most people hardly remember Tagg was ever around Dodger Stadium.

Currently Tagg is an official political advisor to his father, recently most famous for saying he wanted to “take a swing” at President Obama after the second presidential debate.

But just think how things could have worked out, if he had learned quickly on the job, embraced it, proved himself a marketing natural and remained. And the McCourts -- well, this is sort of alternate universe material –- had finally seen the error of their ways, committed themselves to the team and never lost it. And in the alternate universe, never divorced.

If Romney wins Tuesday’s election, they would have had some connection to Washington, D.C. And let’s not forget, Jamie McCourt had her own U.S. presidential ambitions. Now there's a scary what-if.

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