Another round of re-stocking Dodgertown

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To follow up more on this (linked here), we have a little more of that:

== Terry Cannon, director of the Baseball Reliquary:

While it’s a fun idea to think about (who wouldn’t want to open up their stocking on Christmas Day and find a few shares of stock in the local baseball team?), there’s no possible way MLB would allow public ownership of a franchise. The idea would not even be considered by MLB’s Commissioner and Executive Committee, who would view public ownership as not being “in the best interests of baseball.”

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The Major League Constitution clearly defines the Commissioner as having the authority to take any action he deems necessary “in the best interests of baseball,” which gives him sovereign power. Of course, the truth is that the current Commissioner rarely does anything to help the game itself. What he does is use his power to reward, and to pad the pockets of, the owners he works for, and to punish those he disagrees with.

MLB, in essence, is an oligarchy run by control freaks. The owners are wealthy and powerful men who have one interest: to preserve their wealth and power. They also want to be united and of the same opinion when it comes to any matters concerning the game’s structure and finances. Their power is rooted in unanimity, and dissident owners are quickly censured.

Bill Veeck is the classic example of an owner whose views constantly clashed with the baseball establishment, but that was an earlier generation. MLB does not want another Bill Veeck in their midst. That’s why I’m convinced someone like Mark Cuban will never own an MLB team. He’s just too off-the-cuff, too much of a loose cannon for the tight-lipped millionaires and billionaires who run the business of baseball.

But MLB would most likely view public ownership as even more onerous than Mark Cuban. The thought of a totally unknown quantity sitting across from the owners in the MLB boardroom — and, God forbid, it might even be a baseball fan like you or me — would cause many a sleepless night for the bigwigs that run the Big Show.

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There’s no doubt that the McCourts are an embarrassment to Los Angeles and to MLB, and I’m sure their activities are being monitored closely by the Commissioner. But don’t expect the Commissioner or any owner to “pull an O’Malley” and actually state an opinion about the mess in Los Angeles. The fact is that although the Dodger brand is being tarnished with each passing day under the McCourt ownership, the franchise’s value may be higher than ever and the divorce is not negatively affecting the pocketbooks of other owners.

So why should the owners worry? I mean, after all, if they survived steroids and came out making more money than ever, what harm will be done to them by the McCourts’ incessant bickering?

In the meantime, here’s my suggestion for down-in-the-dump Dodger fans who are agonizing over whether or not to buy those season tickets or multi-game packages. Everyone should take the money they are thinking about spending, pool their resources, and turn the tables on the McCourts.

Let’s hire Vladimir Shpunt, the Russian psychic, set him up in front of a photo of the lovely couple, and have him send negative energy to the McCourts to get them the hell out of town. Now that’s an idea Bill Veeck would have embraced!

== Josh Fisher of DodgerDivorce.com (linked here):

The premise is that you and I will lay out some of our money to buy a piece of the team. I see two threshold problems:

First, while I’m certainly against using public money to make this happen, we must recognize that the same financial issues the state faces are affecting many of us, too. Simply put, the same way there are fewer billionaires ready to buy the Dodgers outright than there were a few years ago, there are also fewer civilians, as it were, prepared to lay out thousands for an interesting piece of paper.

The second problem, of course, is a technical one. It would be awfully tough to pull this off. … While there might be nothing that explicitly forbids public ownership of a Major League franchise, that approval process would seem to serve as a de facto prohibition, should MLB choose to use it as such. Baseball often has enough trouble reining in small ownership groups. Imagine how it feels about a group of thousands.

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One of the several tracks on repeat during the McCourt trial was Jamie McCourt’s supposed unwillingness to submit to the structures of ownership: the personal guarantees, indemnifications, invasive background investigation, et cetera. The point is that Baseball really likes keeping the club small and private. Full disclosure is not Baseball’s strong suit. …

The takeaway, in my opinion, is that we really do view the Dodgers as something much more than a business, and we would like whoever or whatever controls the Dodgers to feel the same. Nothing would be a purer solution than for the fans themselves to own the team, but that’s unlikely for a host of reasons. Instead, we’ll hope for the next best option: that whoever owns the Dodgers, McCourt or otherwise, reestablish a connection with the city that has been lost over the last decade.

== Roberto Baly, from VinScullyIsMyHomeboy.com (linked here):

The fans in charge? Let’s be honest, that would be scary.

It would be cool to be like the Green Bay Packers. But let’s wake up, it’s not going to happen.

If the Dodgers do get on the market, I would like a couple of ownership groups to be involved. I’m asking for business men and women from Southern California. You can have a majority owner and several minor owners.

I wouldn’t want them to run the team. Hire someone with baseball experience and name him or her President of the club. The President will be in charge with all baseball duties. The general manager needs to go to the President before making any baseball on the field moves.

Then, you hire another person that’s in charge of the business side of baseball. You see, you hire several people and form a great group. If you have the correct people, you will succeed.

Let me give you an example. Jerry Buss is the majority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. But they have many minority owners that includes the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Magic Johnson.

AEG does a great job in Staples Center and fan experience. It can happen with the Dodgers too.

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== Ernest Reyes, editor of DodgersBlueHeaven blog (linked here):

I have thought about how cool it would be to be a part owner of the team for years. Imagine the Green Bay model in L.A.

On a side note, a Dodger team owned by the city would be a nightmare. Imagine future elections centered around whether the Mayor would fire the manager or should the team go into rebuilding mode. Local politics would become more unbearable than you could imagine.

== Eric Stephen, editor of TrueBlueLA.com blog (linked here):

While I think fan ownership is an intriguing idea, I wonder in the end just how effective the execution of a plan can be. I liken this to fan walk-outs. In theory, it sounds like a great idea to make a stand, but not enough people are willing to follow through.

Count me as a skeptic. Even if there were enough fans willing to take the leap into ownership, and it could be achieved in some sort of organized way, I don’t think it would be approved by MLB. I think the best bet for the Dodgers is either to get a new owner without the massive debt load of Frank McCourt, or for an equity partner to ride in on a white horse and help utilize one of the top operating revenues in the league.

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== The editors of SonsOfSteveGarvey.com (linked here)
Sure it’s a pipe dream. But fans can dream, can’t they?

== From reader Al Sheahen, Sherman Oaks:

Tom Hoffarth’s well-researched column is right. Why should assorted billionaires own sports teams that rightly should belong to the communities who support and identify with the teams?

For every Jerry Buss who wants to win, you get others who use their teams to boost their egos and use as tax write-offs.

The McCourts are pinching every penny they can. The Dodgers finished a distant fourth in the National League West this year and prospects for 2011 are even dimmer. Dodger free agents are going to walk. The McCourts are treating the Dodgers, not as the civic institution it should be, but as their own private piggy bank. And they just rubbed our nose in it by raising ticket prices.

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Green Bay got it right many years ago. It virtually sold the Packers to a group of taxpayer/investors throughout Wisconsin. The team is a civic institution. It will never leave Green Bay. The team has had more on-field success than any other NFL franchise. It makes money.

Why can’t Los Angeles do the same?

== From reader Robert E. Stenson of El Segundo:

There is an old Irish expression that goes “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” This line is frequently heard after the speaker has tossed back a few too many pints and then made some tragically stupid decision like going home to tell his wife that he is not going to the Christening for his sister-in-law’s baby on Super Bowl Sunday because she was an idiot for scheduling it on that day.

It would appear that Mr. Hoffarth and Councilwomen Hahn may have been bending the elbow one too many times at their favorite Los Angeles public house when they came up with this retread of an idea.

While I could fill a similarly voluminous column with reasons against public ownership, I will instead revert to the hackneyed rip off of David Letterman’s Top Ten List of why you don’t want citizens owning the Dodgers:

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10. 9.8 million people showing up to games saying “Don’t worry, I don’t need a ticket, I’m an owner.”

9. The cost of stocking the refrigerator and bar in the owner’s box.

8. Expanding the clubhouse to accommodate all of the owners for the presentation of the World Series trophy.

7. Scott Boras buying shares and then, through a proxy fight, forcing the Dodgers to sign all of his clients to 20-year guaranteed contracts.

6. I can’t find a job in Los Angeles but at least I own part of a team that pays its average player $3.9 million.

5. Having a stock certificate on my wall as a daily reminder that I can’t afford to go to a game.

4. Knowing that I was stupid enough to throw away my money by buying the stock as opposed to just having it taken from me through taxes.

3. Now every time Hoffarth writes a bad column about the Dodgers, it won’t just be fans sending him hate mail, it will be owners.

2. The new team slogan, “Are you feeling blue now?” will hit just a little too close to home as an owner.

1. Out of 33 million people in this state, we decided that Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown were our two best choices for governor.

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