Roll out the barrel

Josh Fisher continues his parsing of the McCourt empire at Dodger Divorce, with the emphasis in today’s piece on whether, by having subdivided the Dodgers’ revenue-generation machine into myriad entities, Frank McCourt has Bud Selig over a barrel even if MLB seizes the team.

Should McCourt win out on these issues, it would dramatically devalue the team itself, if a new owner were buying it without the revenue generators intact. But no new owner would want to buy the Dodgers without the ability to reap the profits.

Please take the following in the spirit of thinking out loud rather than saying anything definitive, but my reaction is that, as fascinating as this is, this all comes down to the fate of the lawsuit we all expect is coming. The entire dispute stands on whether or not MLB can define what’s allowed and what isn’t. My legal opinion isn’t worth spit, but I find it hard to believe that the courts would rule that MLB is in the right, yet not allow MLB to reap the benefit of that ruling because of McCourt’s shenanigans.

Yes, MLB might have approved the shenanigans, but for that matter, it also approved McCourt’s purchase of the team. Both approvals were rendered with the understanding that MLB would have the last word on operations of the Dodger franchise.

Otherwise, the other 29 owners would be permitted to simply stash any and all parts of their teams in newly formed companies, and be able to flaunt the rules as they see fit – even if MLB won the case. (Or, I suppose, MLB could specifically bar this practice going forward, but still, you get the idea.)

My sense is that MLB and Selig would not be entering this fight with McCourt if they were not confident of conquering this particular set of challenges, but all we can do is wait to see how it pans out.

* * *

  • Chad Billingsley’s curveball has been flatter during his slump, says Zack Singer of ESPN Stats & Info.
  • It might be fruitless, but there’s a petition to get Vin Scully on the air during the postseason for Fox (via Big League Stew).
  • Billy DeLury, the second-longest-tenured Dodger employee after Scully, is the subject of a nice interview by Evan Bladh at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance.
  • Mark Cuban appeared on TMZ today and at once displayed more interest in buying the Dodgers and more wariness than I’ve heard him offer before. As Cuban notes, all this speculation is premature — there is no timetable for the team being put on sale yet.
  • Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner writes about the long road for pitcher Randy Keisler.
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