Looking ahead at 2012

Before Thursday’s Dodger opener, Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness and I reunited for a season-preview chat that you can see above.

* * *

“Major League Baseball officials have expressed concern that Guggenheim Baseball Management, the winning bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been slow to produce the details of the bid and the structure of its management team, according to several sources familiar with the sale process,” writes Tom Verducci of SI.com today.

Several individual owners have joined baseball officials in questioning why the Guggenheim group, led by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, has not filed a more detailed Purchase and Sale Agreement more than a week after the group was selected from among three finalists by Frank McCourt, the outgoing owner who is selling the club through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The group was expected to file a Purchase and Sale Agreement with MLB earlier this week, but postponed the filing for two days before submitting a short form agreement that lacked what MLB regards as most of the necessary details. Of particular interest to MLB is a breakdown of where the money is coming from to cover the $2.15 billion sale price and what role McCourt has in the ownership, control and profit-sharing of the Dodger Stadium parking lots.

Until MLB knows and reviews those details, according to sources, concern mounts about how the deal is financed and especially if McCourt stands to continue to profit from Dodger-related operations under the new ownership.

Some answers may be forthcoming as soon as Friday, when terms of the sale are expected to be filed in bankruptcy court. The court is expected to approve the sale on April 13 in advance of a final closing April 30, when McCourt must pay his wife, Jamie, $131 million as a condition of their divorce settlement.

Said one owner after speaking with commissioner Bud Selig, “Not having a purchase and sale agreement is scary, but I personally think they will close [the deal].”

The sale, according to sources, has been complicated by the bitter relationship between McCourt and MLB, by the Guggenheim group being caught between trying to satisfy both warring parties, by a bankruptcy court, not MLB, controlling the speed of the sale, and by the lingering contentiousness of the bidding process, which one bidder said was characterized by “brutal fighting.” …

Elsewhere this morning …

  • Mike Ozanian of Forbes chronicles the tax breaks that will come to the new Dodger owners following their purchase of the team.
  • The Dodgers have no switch-hitters on their roster for the first time since 1986, notes Dustin Nosler of Feelin’ Kinda Blue.
  • Blake DeWitt, whom the Cubs designated for assignment this winter, ended up making their Opening Day roster after all and flied out as a pinch-hitter Thursday.
  • The Texas Rangers unveiled a statue depicting Shannon Stone, who died after falling trying to catch a ball last year, and his son Cooper. Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew has details. Tears me up each time I look.

Jenny and Cooper Stone look at the 'Rangers Fans' statue on Thursday as Nolan Ryan looks on. (AP)

  • KT

    I just told my daughter yesterday during a lull in the game about Shannon Stone and she had some very deep thoughts and feelings about the subject…made me tear up along with her

  • http://twitter.com/davealden53 Dave Alden

    Wow.  Interesting story about the Guggenheim offer.  Personally, I don’t see how the lingering antagonism between MLB and McCourt is affecting the a document that Guggenheim must submit to MLB, but I’ll also not sitting at the table.

    On another baseball subject, I write a thrice-weekly blog on urbanism.  (And am in awe of Jon’s ability to generate good content at the speed he does.)  My current post is on baseball and urbanism, http://bit.ly/HuYQ3e.  Sorry about the Northern California focus, but that’s where I live.

  • Anonymous

    If the Lords of MLB decide that they don’t want a team fronted by one of the most popular African-American athletes in the country and backed by a big firm, then they should all just head down to Augusta National and ask for their complimentary green jackets.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the link to the Forbes article.  A $1 billion roster depreciation allowance to amortize over the existing contracts, almost all of which expire by 2013 and all of which expire by 2017.  They might even get to allocate some of the cost to Manny.  The $2 billion investment is going to throw off a huge tax savings on the front end and generate a captial gain on the back end.  Taxes are like sports.  It pays to know the rules.

  • Greg Hao

    @btimmer:disqus  and dave alden – it’s I think just another side effect of what I call the ESPNfication of news coverage.  With the rush to be constantly BREAKING news, journalists have largely stopped ANALYZING news.  Sports journalists have done themselves no honour in their coverage of the Dodgers bankruptcy.  From the fact that the Dodgers were bankrupt not because they were running out of money but to take control away from MLB to ESPN/LA’s breathless and worthless coverage of Josh Machiallo, the list goes on and on.  
    Verducci’s article is simply the latest in that long line.  It’s clear that the deal between GBM and McCourt came together very quickly and for anybody that’s dealt with lawyers, particularly M&A lawyers know, they like to be slow and meticulous (just ask McCourt’s Boston lawyers how that can come to bite them on the ass).  And especially on a $2.15B deal, given McCourt’s litigious history, I’m sure GBM/GP lawyers want an airtight agreement.  This is what happens.  We should only start to worry when they’re unable to file the necessary documents with the bankruptcy court next week.

  • Greg Hao

    deferred and backloaded contracts always benefit teams because a dollar tomorrow is worth less than a dollar today.  Of course, the Dodgers under Ned Colletti has taken that to the extreme but it’s yet another example of how accounting rules the world.  (as my accountant is fond of telling me.)

    • Anonymous

      We don’t rule the world.  We just keep the score.

      • Greg Hao

        LOL.  Nice, I’ll be sure to tell him that.

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

       That’s only during periods of inflation, though.

      • Greg Hao

        Sure but if we’re seeing deflation, all of us have got much bigger problems to worry about.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Nice video chat Jon! As I told Mike on his blog, I only wish he’d been able to upgrade his own mike so I could hear him better! But it’s good stuff. This really will be an odd year, and hopefully a positive transitional one. The games are lovely to have now but there is bigger picture stuff to distract us, with the ownership change and pondering the fate of NedCo. 

  • foul tip

     Dave, good read.  Something you didn’t ask my opinion on but I’ll offer anyway.   To me the orange on black was a bit hard to read.  Could just be my display, but?  Are all your blogs done this way?

    • http://twitter.com/davealden53 Dave Alden

      Thanks for comment.  Originally I had a partner in the blog.  He bailed quickly, but not before he had his staff architect do the initial setup.  I wasn’t thrilled by the colors, but had bigger issues with which to concern myself at time.  Like learning to write with lucidity.

      It’s now solely my blog and I guess I really should adjust the colors.  Especially if you read them as orange and black.  Can’t be publishing a blog in those colors.

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

         Oh, I don’t know. If you’re in the Northern California area, orange and black seem perfectly appropriate to me. ;)

        • http://twitter.com/davealden53 Dave Alden

          I just rechecked my closet.  Nope.  Nothing in orange and black.

          • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

             In Firefox 11.0 the blog is definitely orange type on black background. The content almost makes up for it, though. ;)

          • http://twitter.com/davealden53 Dave Alden

            Yeah, in IE8, it’s medium orange on a dark grey background.  Not quite Giants’ colors, but too close.  Changing colors will be a weekend task.  Thanks for pointing out the imcompatibility with DT and for the kind words on the content.

          • foul tip

            Same browser and version I have.  Maybe there’s a Giants fan working some evil magic down inside the FF works.

  • foul tip

    For whatever reason I couldn’t get DT to load last night.  So, a couple questions.  Apologies if answers were in game thread:

    1)  Does anyone know if the HR Jansen served up was a mistake?  Or did Maybin just tattoo it? Gameday said the pitch was a cutter, Jansen’s bread and butter pitch.  His cutter sure wasn’t getting hit like that the latter part of last season.  But it–or some pitch of his–didn’t seem too formidable in ST.

    Gameday had him mixing in a slider or two also while he was in, if that’s correct. IIRC, when he was right last year he didn’t throw anything but that cutter–nor need to.

    2)  Saw a reference somewhere to a trophy whatever hanging onto McTort’s arm, for display or other purposes.  But saw no pictures or video, so I don’t know if it was his arm she was hanging onto–or his billfold?

  • Anonymous

    Jansen does not seem to have his velocity back

  • Anonymous

    Jon I also enjoyed the video chat and would like to see you host a weekly show if your schedule allows for it.

    Give your webcasts a polish by investing in a high grade microphone. A good USB condenser mic that produces an FM broadcast quality can be had for under $100 these days and makes a noticeable diifference to online viewers.

    Have A Happy 2012 Season.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    I still think my main issue is looking in the (ill-placed) camera.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    The Mayans may be right about 2012 after all: Mariano Rivera just blew a save!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001115617053 Troy Sexton

    Jon, Mike is so much cuter than you.  I wish he wasn’t so shy a few years back when he saw me in person and failed to introduce himself.

  • Anonymous

    In Jon’s top post there is a link to a Forbes article which discusses some tax benefits gained by new owners of a MLB team especially when the team is to become part of a larger corporation. After reading that article I noticed a link to http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/apr/04/elias-the-dodgers-sale-and-a-prop-13-loophole/ which discusses the savings in property tax due on the parking lots because of McCourt retaining a 50% ownership.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    New post up top.