Thursday, April 21, 2011

Does Los Angeles even care about the Dodgers?

My radio listening this morning indicates how far the Dodgers have fallen.

For those who haven't heard, Major League Baseball formally took day-to-day control of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. Bud Selig will appoint a trustee to run the team, and Dodger owner Frank McCourt (or, alternatively, Dodgers co-owners Frank and Jamie McCourt) will not have a say in day-to-day operations.

Because I am male, I often flip channels on my car radio, and generally listen to at least four stations during my morning commute. On the news and talk stations, the Dodger takeover was a lead story. KNX aired the CBS national news at 7:00 am, and the Dodgers story was one of the top stories there. Also in the 7:00 hour, KFI's Bill Handel - oops, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel - led the hour off with a discussion of the Dodgers takeover, as well as MLB's legal basis for making the move.

But what of the sports stations?

At 7:15 Pacific time, Colin Cowherd's ESPN Radio show airs a segment called "Spanning the Globe" (named in homage to Jim McKay), during which Cowherd (or his substitute) speaks to local sportscasters about the three top stories of the day. On a local level, Orange County's AM 830 airs a simulcast at approximately 7:25 am between radio host Roger Lodge and television station KTLA's morning show.

Both of these segments led off with a Los Angeles story.

Neither segment led off with the Dodgers story, however.

What was the pressing El-Lay news that these shows covered? The Los Angeles Lakers' win in a first-round playoff game over the New Orleans Hornets.

Yes, I know that the Lakers are in the playoffs and the Dodgers are not. But still, you would think that the Dodgers takeover story would take precedence over a game that the Lakers were expected to win.

But sports radio stations presumably know their audience, and they figured that the Lakers were more important than the Dodgers at this juncture.

If there's anything that testifies how the McCourts (and, IMHO, previous Dodgers owners Fox) have devalued the Dodgers, this is it.

Incidentally, here is Bud Selig's official statement:

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig issued the following statement today regarding the Los Angeles Dodgers:

"Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

"The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."

As Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel noted, when Frank McCourt was awarded the Dodgers franchise, he signed an agreement that allowed Selig to take this very action. Mike Ozanian analyzes the issues here, and concludes:

Selig will prevail because he will use “The Best Interests of Baseball” power of his office (which he has widened under his stay in office) to say that McCourt violated his fiduciary duty to the Dodgers by using the team’s finances to buy real estate.
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