Posted Under: Johanna's View
Frank McCourt is losing ground, and not because he can’t pay his bills. Frank McCourt is losing ground in hid case to show himself a stable owner, by not welcoming Bob Schieffer, MLB’s appointed Monitor for the team warmly, at least for the television cameras. One thing is for sure, having witnessed Commissioner Selig over the years, the squeaky wheel is not tolerated well. Selig is of the generation where disagreements are aired privately, and Frank McCourt standing before the press yesterday in New York yesterday did nothing to illicit any kind of sympathy from the commissioner.
Publicly, McCourt should have stood and said that he hoped Mr. Schieffer will soon see that the Dodgers have done nothing inappropriate with funds, and that he, McCourt, will soon be back in full control of the team. What he does behind closed doors might be another matter. But watching all of this, methinks the gentleman doth protest too much. He is clearly hiding something.
Does McCourt have a point about MLB standing in the way of McCourt fixing the teams problems by putting on hold the FOX regional sports network (rsn) deal? Yes. But, until someone sees exactly what else has been going and has a handle on where that money will go, it is clear that MLB needs to put off making that deal
So why the McCourts, and not the Wilpons?
Here is my guess, and it is two-pronged. First, the Wilpon’s still have other sources of income, though they may also be heavily leveraged, as the economy recovers those other sources can continue to grow and cover the debt that the Mets are carrying. Second, the Wilpons were quite proactive in seeking out a minority partner to infuse the team with cash. They went out and sought help, not through loans but by giving up equity in the team.
McCourt did just the opposite. He borrowed more money to make the team’s debt higher. He also, in effect, lost his minority partner through the divorce from his wife, and now has to buy out that partner with a large amount of cash, which he doesn’t have. He also doesn’t have any other significant sources of income.
Let us also remember, that when Frank McCourt says no one game him the franchise, that that isn’t quite accurate. At the time of purchase, there were others bidding that came from a firmer financial situation. MLB chose Frank McCourt over those others, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, though I have head some rumor that it was a deal to allow John Henry and his group to buy the Red Sox. McCourt was given the team and MLB waived some of its debt rules for him to do so. Sure, he put up what to most of us is a crazy amount of money, but he shouldn’t have been allowed to own the team in the first place. MLB it seems is out to rectify that mistake.