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Earlier this week, Frank McCourt, the much-maligned owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, issued a joint statement with Major League Baseball that the Dodgers would be available to the highest bidder through an auction in bankruptcy court.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt.”
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There are no shortages of bidders for one of the MLB’s most storied franchise, either. The Dallas Mavericks eccentric owner Mark Cuban offered to buy the team ““several months ago”,” and still remains interested. He’s also tried to purchase the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers when they were sold over the last two years, but was outbid in both attempts.
Steve Garvey, a former first baseman for the team, is also “trying to assemble an investment team”. His aspirations to purchase the Dodgers became evident last year when he and former Dodgers’ pitcher Orel Hershiser created a group that was hopeful to buy the Dodgers if McCourt was forced to sell. In a move that was little surprise to all those involved, Garvey was summarily fired by McCourt once his intentions became public.
Then there’s Peter O’Malley, the Dodgers owner until he sold the team to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 1998, who has been vocal about his desire to get back the franchise his family once held for almost 50 years. Fox, another Murdoch corporation, is also looking to get into the bidding, though the idea behind it is to lower the amount of cash it would take to buy the Dodger’s TV rights, which Fox was willing to pay $3 billion for over the course of the next 17 years.
In 1998, when O’Malley sold the Dodgers they were purchased for $311 – $350 million, the highest ever for a sports franchise at that time. This time around, it’s expected that the Dodgers would command at least $1 billion, meaning that Frank McCourt more than doubled his initial investment of $430 million dollars since he purchased the team in 2004. Not too shabby for a guy who is ““essentially broke”,” “purchased the team almost entirely on credit” and has been accused of using the team to pay for personal expenses, evade taxes and employee his children, who enjoyed multi-million dollar salaries for essentially no responsibility with the team.
With all the current rhetoric surrounding the greed of America’s wealthiest individuals, maybe the sports fans in the 99% should turn their attention to a single individual that drove one of baseball’s best teams into bankruptcy while padding his personal account.
Maybe it’s time for: Occupy Chavez Ravine.