Apr 06

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.

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“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)