Clarification

Magic Johnson was asked about the lease payment at the ownership press conference, this clip from Dodger Thoughts commenter Robert212 illustrates. Given this exchange – which I completely missed and don’t see quoted anywhere else – it’s fair to say that Johnson, irresponsibly, was not truthful about the arrangement with McCourt. And it certainly wasn’t worth obfuscating.

It’s disappointing, both as a follower of the Dodgers and as the writer of this piece today. I feel that this was a critical piece of information that I should have had. It wasn’t that I was ignoring it – I just didn’t have it. But I should have.

I stand by my belief that lease money isn’t the same as parking revenue, but more importantly, I stand by my conclusion in this afternoon’s piece, which is that I hope and believe the Dodgers can flower despite the team’s connection with the McCourts. As I said in my piece, there’s reason to be skeptical – and that was true whatever Johnson’s words. The truth about what Johnson said rightfully might impact the trust that the fan base has with what is spoken by ownership, but hopefully it serves as a teaching moment that compels them to better, rather than the symptom of a pattern.

I don’t believe that the new ownership is poisoned. It’s simply too soon to know. Heck, even as I repeatedly criticized McCourt eight years ago, I still held out hope that he might prove an asset. I intend to do the same with the Guggenheim group.

  • Anonymous

    Echo Charlie Hotel Oscar 

    • KT

      thought I was the only one monitoring

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

    This performance from Billingsley is kind of insane. 20 batters, 11 baserunners. 

    • KT

      we are lucky the score isn’t where it should be…about 3 more

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

    I suppose the bright side is that if the Dodgers had 11 baserunners in four innings but only two runs, we’d be worried about wasted opportunities.

    • KT

      your right…they probably are but we’ve been swing at junk from lincecum and not mounting any sort of attack

  • KT

    could’ve used that hit yesterday
     
    Come on Bobby

  • KT

    Nice hit Bobby
     
    Come on Juan

  • Anonymous

    Bobby!

  • KT

    NICE Juan….Slipped on the chalk

    • KT

      my mistake…3rd baseman just slipped no chalk

  • KT

    YES…move them up 90′

  • KT

    Come on James

  • Anonymous

    Implode!

  • KT

    that was ball 2 james

  • KT

    Come on AJ…drive them in

  • KT

    a walk removes billz

  • KT

    A hit probably keeps him in

  • KT

    Come on Tony…we need you here

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

    I think it’s the right move to hit for Chad, unless you want Chad’s bat to remain in the game. 

    • Anonymous

      More in honor of Timmy than anything.  Bills probably wasn’t going more than one more in any event.

  • KT

    TONY!!!!!

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

    Oh, Gwynn, that’s awesome. 

  • Anonymous

    Well how do you do!  Anyone see if Bills was cheering?

    • KT

      i’ll rewind after dee’s at bat

    • KT

      Could only see Kemp…they really didn’t show the dugout

  • KT

    Come on Dee….drive in Tony

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

    The ultimate squeeze combination is on display at this moment. 

    • Anonymous

      Was wondering why they did not

      • KT

        looked like dee tried to bunt but fouled it off…maybe a safety was on
         
        I think dee on 3rd with tony up is a better match up

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

    Amazing: Through four innings, Lincecum 87 pitches, Billingsley 85. 

    • KT

      didn’t realize he was up so high…so about 2 more innings

  • KT

    feel much better now especially after both the Dodgers and the Lakers lost yesterday…I’ve been in a funk

  • KT

    tony didn’t stay in for defensive purposes…Guess he wanted to keep Abreu in the lineup

  • Anonymous

    Bills was bad tonight, but Lincecum was just as bad and, over the season so far, he’s been far worse than Bills.

  • Anonymous

    Hadn’t realized, as Vin says, that Wright as an NRI made the roster for nine straight season.  And was a No. 1 choice of the Rox.

    • KT

      persistent

      • Anonymous

        Or not all that good, but in retrospect.

  • KT

    Good inning Jamie

  • KT

    Nice hit Bobby

  • Anonymous

    Steiner just set a personal best by calling a routine fly ball routine.

    • KT

      love it…that’s the main reason I hate listening to him…the way he calls flyballs

  • Anonymous

    just came back and saw Bills gone by 4, and then saw the triple!!

    • KT

      good timing

      • Anonymous

        Just in time for the Aussie.

  • Anonymous

    Abreu is making a good case for more playing time.

    • KT

      I love the aquisition…change of scenery does wonders for the downtrodden

  • KT

    timmy is gone

    • Anonymous

       A memorable outing, though.

  • KT

    Another good inning jamie

  • Anonymous

    Cruising along..

  • KT

    AJ!!!

  • Anonymous

    AJ AS

    • KT

      thought it was ASAJ

      • Anonymous

        I do the initials around here.

        • KT

          those were the initials you used last time…so they are yours ^_^

  • KT

    Come on scott get your 1st rbi

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

    The most exciting player in baseball triples. 

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

    I don’t think Van Slyke is going to walk here. 

  • KT

    hit and rbi…YES!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to LA, SVS!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    The Van Slyke era in LA has begun!

  • Adam Luther

    #77 Van Slyke!!

  • Anonymous

    He can put the bat on the mantle as well.

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

    Beam him up (and home) Scotty!

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

    Good night for Dodger pinch hitting, for once!
    Love seeing young Scott getting his first hit and first RBI in first at bat. Sweet. 

    • Anonymous

      It certainly is an exciting start!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    His dad was always a favorite non dodger of mine…

  • Anonymous

    Melky shoulda been rung up.

    • Anonymous

      Ump doesn’t know what to make of the movement.

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

      Three balls that all should’ve been strikes. Even Giants announcers were questioning the ump. He has a rep for not calling strikes if target moves even if still a strike. Which is lame.

  • Anonymous

    Beli made Posey look really bad there.

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

      And got the fourth out of the inning!  ;)

  • Anonymous

    By inserting Aubrey Huff in the game, the Gnats effectively forfeit.

    • KT

      thought he just came off the DL…is it his defense that’s bad…I know he can’t play the outfield but thought he was competent at 1st

      • Anonymous

         About as competent as Adam Dunn.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

       lol

  • KT

    My son’s starting to burn out now..it won’t be long…hopefully he can last another inning

  • KT

    Bobby was calling him off on that play…Dee is going to get someone hurt that way

  • Anonymous

    Congrats to SVS.  Gordon won’t give up…but someone is going to flatten him if he keeps doing that.

  • Anonymous

    The Gnats are the only team in the majors that plays three left fielders every night, except when Pill is in the lineup and they have to make do with two.

  • KT

    Nice James

  • Anonymous

    1985 :(
    Even with Vinny speaking…it still hurts :(

  • KT

    vinny bringing up the clark scenerio…still hurts

  • KT

    Nice AJ

  • Anonymous

    Mattingly learning from his mistake yesterday!!!

  • Anonymous

    Jon — in regards to our convo from the previous post — I’m glad we can disagree since I rarely, if ever, have been in disagreement with anything you’ve ever written. I’m not sure we are that far off however as it seems we just vary in our feelings of how misleading the new owners were in the press conference. With the new information you uncovered I think we can agree that whether by ignorance* or calculated dishonesty, they didn’t tell us the whole story.

    I was never arguing that they are bad people or should not be given some leeway, just that us fans should be given the same leeway to be weary of such antics and expect better.

    * I’ll probably take some heat here, but is it so out of the realm of possibility that Magic wasn’t fully aware of the specifics of the deal? I hate to be negative in any way, but over the past few weeks it seems to me that he really is nothing but the face, and all of the business dealings are handled without his input.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    AJ Ellis..on base 21 straight games and 24 out of the last 25. I wish… other than Jon and you guys here..that AJ would get more love. 

    • http://www.mythphile.com/ Blue-eyed Gal (Ellen)

      Add Vin to the fan list, I think. He’s noted AJ’s tough luck all these years and how hard he’s worked to get here. FedEx who?

  • Anonymous

    See Donnie…see what happens when you put in someone who can bunt!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Don with pinch hit himself next

  • http://www.mythphile.com/ Blue-eyed Gal (Ellen)

    I am officially in love with Mattingley for putting Capuano in there to force a bunt. This chick digs small ball, or, more precisely, tactics and low cunning. :)

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

      I liked that bunt call (and cappy is a great bunter). This was a much better place for bunting. ;)

  • Anonymous

    That’s twice that Dee bats with the infield up and twice he fails to drive in a run :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

       I’d like him replaced. but of course i’ll get shelled for saying it. his OBP was .279 before tonight’s 0-5

  • Anonymous

    Will Bochy intentionally walk Kemp????

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    I guess we’ll have to wait another night before we see the debut of Kenley the Closer.

  • Anonymous

    I hate leadoff walks.

    • KT

      me too but not so bad when up by 4

  • KT

    Come on DP

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

    With off day tomorrow and since he hadn’t pitched this series (that I can recall), good to use KJ here even if not a save situation. 

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I was thinking the same.  As well, we will have to get use to see him being “wasted” like this, now that he is the closer.

  • KT

    Good come from behind win
     
    Feel much better today

    • Anonymous

      I wonder when the last time we won when Kemp (or before him our best hitter) went 0 for 5

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

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    pretty classy to post this clarification

  • KT

    Well since we don’t play again until Friday…Hold down the fort for me guys this weekend…I’m going in for surgery #17 on Friday, repair of the previous right knee surgery…I should be out by Sunday hopefully
     
    Night all

    • Anonymous

      All the best KT

      • KT

        Thanks John

  • Anonymous

    I want to comment on the subjecct of the post (as opposed to the great game), but I think that listening to this clip in isolation is pretty unfair to Magic and the ownership group.  Jon’s earlier post laid this all out very well.  It was known for a long time what the arrangement with McCourt would be–he owned the lots, the agreement to sell did not include a requirement that he sell the lots, but that he rent them out, when Guggenheim bought the team they also bought half the lots, so the rental payment was split.  But everyone has been trying to get more information than that, which, while fair enough to be interested, they really don’t have to tell, and understandably probably do not want to go into the intricate details of the business,  And then, when folks have not gotten the level of detail that they feel that they are entitled to get–even when, in reality, there is no particular entitlement to that level of detail–they start spinning stories of a coverup and claiming that it must mean something more sinister.  So they interrogate the new owners, and Magic, Kasten, and Walter all try to explain it at a basic but fair level.

    This clip comes only after they have been harranged on it, so Magic is trying to say, for the last time, Frank’s gone, he does not get anything that he was not already entitled to from the day the sale was annonced.  And it probably does not come out perfectly.  But after putting the new owners through the Star Chamber, I don’t think folks should jump on them for giving the answers that were rung out of them simply because people were not willing to accept what has been put out publicly for a long time.

    The basic facts hold that, while there certainly was some confusion/unclarity at the instant the sale was announced, it all got clarified, and the fact as to McCourt’s involvement are what had been laid out for weeks now.  We all wish that McCourt could have been 100% bought out of the parking lots, but let’s face it–the guy is too shrewd to not keep a piece of the action for himself.  But that’s no reason to accuse Magic and the rest of Guggenheim of being dishonest, when they had put out the information and reporters and fans just wouldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

    • Anonymous

      you think THIS was a Star Chamber and haranging???? a few questions that they refuse to give an totally candid and honest answer too??? please.

      you say in your last line – “they had put out the information.” NO THEY DIDNT. there had been reports in the newspaper about it. but the new owners had NEVER CONFIRMED IT. last week was the FIRST time the new owners were made available to answer questions.

      do you think the owners – in their first availability with the press — should NOT be asked about mccourts involvment because there had already been reports in the newspaper?

      do you think we should just trust every newspaper story and not expect the new owners to be asked if those reports are correct?? 

      BEFORE magic’s comments the owners shot down the idea that mccourt had ANY part ownership of the lots. they said they own 100 PER CENT of everything — listen to it. i agree that the there had been reports that the mccourt was going to own 50 per cent of the lots. that was the whole point BUT THE OWNERS SAY FLAT OUT THAT IS WRONG (which they did – magic says “the rumors, we’re squashing them right now”)

      when the new owners say that, followup questions are not only to be expected but are necessary. the new owners knew what they were saying and they knew what they were NOT saying. these are very intelligent men. if they had simply said at the very start what was truthful there would not have been all these followups.

      you are correct that the new owners are not obligated to give details. if they want to say they will not talk about details, that is their right — BUT THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIE AND MISLEAD.

      you logic doesnt make sense.

      1) we knew all along that mccourt owned half the lots.
      2) the new owners then deny that mccourt owns the lots.
      3) reporters ask them if mccourt owns parts of the lots or is getting rental money
      4) the new owners say no
      5) you say if doesnt make any difference what the new owners say, we know that mccourt owns a portion of the lots.

      you really think that scenerio is ok??

      are you really ok with the new owners saying they own 100 per cent of everything including the parking lots, when they dont?

      i just dont understand how good loyal dodger fans, who have just gone through the mccourt era, are willing to find “cracks” to excuse this lie.

      if anything, we want the new owners to tell us the truth unlike the previous owner.

      what’s right is right, and it is wrong to lie.

      • Anonymous

        Robert212–My logic makes sense.  The problem is that you have two big–REALLY, REALLY BIG–facts wrong.

        The new owners never–NEVER–denied that McCourt had an interest in the lots.  They have always acknowledged this, from the day the sale was announced.  They acknowledged it in the media interviews after the sale, in all the publicly released documents about the sale, and again at the Press Conference at Dodger Stadium.

        What they said–and what is absolutely accurate–is that they (Guggenheim) control everything that happens in the Ravine.  If you own the team, the stadium, and half of an entitiy that owns the parking lots, and then renting the lots from that entitiy, then you absolutely control the stadium.

        Second, the new owners never said that McCourt does not get rent.  They said he does not share in the revenue from the parking lots.  That is also absolutely true.  He gets rent.  If no one parks in the lots, he gets the same amount as if the lots are overflowing.  When you talk about revenue sharing or getting a benefit from the lots, that means a very specific thing.  In most stadium rental deals (usually, these days, between a team and municipality)–as well as most large scale commercial leases–the owner gets some participation in the revenues.  A city would get some share of the gate at a municipal-owned stadium, and thus the more fans attend, the more revenue.  That is true of a lot of commercial operations (bookstores on college campuses, for example, where the campus gets a split of the revenue from the bookstore operator).  So when they were being asked does McCourt get revenue from the parking, and they had already put out the information–widely reported on–that the joint venture that owned the lots would get rent from the team, the pretty clear understanding of that question to someone who understands these arrangements is whether that includes a participation in the revenue stream.  And it seems that is what fans wanted to know–so they could decide whether to boycott the lots and deny more money to McCourt, or to go ahead and park at the stadium, which pays for Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.  And they answered correctly–No.

        This got mis-reported because people asking and reporting on this either do not understand the basics of how this business works (and, since they report on OPS and ERA, not EBITDA, that is going to happ), or intentionally mis-represented what was being said to fuel these conspiracy theories.  Kasten took some blame for not making it clear, but that was, at worst, a problem in explaning a business situation to people clearly not operating on the same wavelength.  And I barely blame him–if the news media wants to cover the Dodgers as a business, then send the guys from the business page.  You wouldn’t send Jim Hill to cover the Facebook IPO, why send him to cover the business details of the Dodgers?  If you ask bad questions, you get bad answers.

        A final note–I do think that the media has harranged them on this–and that they have answered the questions, and are rightly annoyed.  Espescially since they were getting asked business questions by sports reporters who did not have the business foundation to ask and report on this.  My Star Chamber reference was a point of dramatic exageration.  I have done this a couple of times on this board, and assumed that people would understand that such a statement is intentionally over-the-top just to make the point–obviously, getting questioned by even a rabid media on a beautiful Southern California day at Dodger Stadium has no comparison to being locked in a room and interrogated and tortured for hours with late-medieval instruments.  Can’t we be a little colorful here from time to time?

        • Anonymous

          hi there — certainly no hard feelings — we just disagree. i would love some link to a story where dodgers officials were QUOTED BY NAME ON THE RECORD — about mccourt owning a specific percentage of the lots and getting rent.

          bill shakin is not a dodger official and as best i can recall none of his stories ever quoted by name a dodger official.

          at the news conference all they said was that mccourt was to receive revenue from any potential future development in the lots. but they ABSOLUTELY denied the rent – it is in that clip.

          the only way it was confirmed was AFTER the news conference when the times got hold of public documents that the dodgers were required to file.

          THEN the dodgers acknowledged it to bill shakin

          i agree with you that the new owners control everything that happens inside the stadium. AND you ARE allowed to be colorful — sorry about my “star chamber” reference. 

      • Anonymous

        Robert212, your logic is irrefutable and the clip you provided clearly illustrates that this ownership group is being far from transparent and honest. Simply put, they are lying. Characterizing the media asking legitimate questions that people want answered as “haranging” is laughable. These are big boy businessmen involved in a multi-billion dollar transaction. They should be able to handle some pointed questions.

        • Anonymous

          You’re playing a 39 second clip to report on a press event that lasted like 2 hours (that followed a voluminous release of internal documents only ever done once before for a baseball team, and weeks of interviews).  And it’s just plain out of context.  I watched/listened to the thing, and had no misconceptions.  (I can’t find all the clips, because MLB has an awful website, but there was just no doubt.)

          The question about rent from the parking lots had been answered since December 7–before Magic et al. bought the team–and repeatedly since then.  Here is Shankin’s report of that date: “Under the sale agreement, prospective team owners can bid for the parking lots as well, but McCourt has “sole and absolute discretion” over whether to sell them. If he keeps the parking lots, he would retain an annual income stream of about $10 million.”

          I can’t find all the stories, but the release was pretty clear that McCourt was going to continue to own half.

          Shankin got that information from the documents filed with the court that are part of the public record.  I am not going to dig through piles of bankruptcy pleadings to find the statements, but we can rely on official filings from the team to tell us the information.

          Why would anyone keep asking?  It makes no sense–which is what Magic was saying.  And the only context in which the question makes sense is if they are talking about a revenue sharing scheme–the answer about rent itself is dumb–it’s been answered.  And it is not McCourt that is getting the rent paid–it is the joint venture that owns the lots, which then distributes it.

          Seriously, there just was no confusion.  The only problem is that the reporters did not cover it well, and the Times then went bat-crazy once they realized information that they should have understood for months.  But if you send reporters who don’t understand the business structure, and they can’t grasp it and ask poor questions, over and over, then the news outlets shouldn’t complain when they screw it up.  Send a reporter who covers business not sports, and there would not have been any misconceptions.

          • Anonymous

            I will just say this — Magic was asked a direct question — and he gave a totally false answer.

            I agree it was pretty clear IN NEWSPAPER ARTICLES that Mccourt was going to own half the parking lots.

            So at the new conference questions were asked to simply confirm exacty what the deal was.

            I think that is what reporters do. Should they simply assume press releases and other newspaper articles are correct? When given the first chance to ask the people who made the deal, they ask questions to confirm all those reports.

            But for some reason the Dodgers tried to deny some of it. The reason I think people kept asking was because the Dodgers kept denying.

            Here is the entire three minute back and forth — the Dodgers asked repeatedly to spell out exactly what McCourts involvement is.

            Does he own half of the lots?

            Is there a rental fee?

            http://soundcloud.com/user6637544/magic-at-news-conference

            They REFUSE to answer those two specific questions or give false answers.

            In fact Magic says “We own it 100 per cent.”

            He doesn’t say “We control it 100 per cent.”

            As far as your comment that McCourt “is not McCourt that is getting the rent paid–it is the joint venture that owns the lots, which then distributes it.”

            Now you playing games with words.

            We know NOW it is a joint venture that McCourt has a fifty percent interest in that gets 14 million dollars a year in rent.

            If you can then claim that McCourt is NOT getting rent then you are now reducing your credibility which until now has been 100 per cent.

          • Anonymous

            Sometimes a small portion of anything is the most relevant part, and not out of context. The only reason Magic was brought on board is to draw the attention of the masses away from Guggenheim’s slight of hand. Many of us are not buying it.