“If the stuff that was written about me was true, I wouldn’t trust me either,” Frank McCourt said early in his conversation with Steve Mason, John Ireland and fans calling into ESPN AM 710 this afternoon.
I’m a journalist, and I’ve seen journalists get things wrong. It happens.
But let’s keep this in mind …
The McCourt ownership, particularly since Frank’s separation from Jamie became public in 2009, has perhaps been the most doggedly reported off-the-field story in Los Angeles Dodger history — certainly in recent Los Angeles Dodger history.
It has been covered by a number of sources both local and national. It has been built not only upon first-hand interviews but documents filed in court by the principals themselves. It has been, in recent days, augmented by the words and actions of Major League Baseball’s executive office and ownership group, which have sent in a rescue missionary in Tom Schieffer.
And McCourt continues to tell us that all these people from every side of the fence, West Coast and East Coast, print media and electronic, sports and business, inside the game and outside the game, have it wrong.
That includes many people who have absolutely no dog in this fight, people coming at the story, unlike McCourt, from an entirely neutral perspective. They have it wrong.
And he asks us to believe that they have it wrong even has he says one thing after another that is dubious on its face. Just today, he told us that all of the Dodgers’ current financial issues are entirely the fault of MLB forestalling the Fox deal for future TV rights and have nothing to do with his own practices. That the assets Jamie might ultimately end up with are mere hypotheticals that we shouldn’t be concerned about. That the Fox contract, negotiated with his back against the wall, is every bit as lucrative as the separate Dodger regional sports network he previously aspired to when everything was rosy. That Bud Selig, the man who paved the way for McCourt to own the team and more than anyone at MLB was convinced of his virtues, is second-guessing his own approval for no good reason. And so on …
Neither the objective evidence nor common sense back up his assertions, but he asks us to simply believe him. His interpretation of the facts are supposed to be more trustworthy than the facts themselves.
In my view, McCourt is playing a shell game with the truth.
There’s no doubt that some critics of McCourt have gotten carried away, exaggerating his mistakes, sometimes for effect, sometimes out of frustration. The exaggerations don’t mean that the mistakes aren’t there.
When you boil everything down, there is really only one pressing question to answer at this time: Is MLB justified in subjecting the Dodgers’ major day-to-day operations to its approval?
McCourt’s argument for “no” is this: Take my word for it.