I’ll have more later on today’s dueling Dodgers press conferences — one with owner Frank McCourt in New York, the other with MLB monitor Tom Schieffer in Los Angeles. In the meantime, here are links to first-look news stories on McCourt from Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com and myself at Variety.
An excerpt from the latter:
Embattled Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today gave his strongest indication yet that he will sue Major League Baseball for standing in the way of his attempt to extend the Dodgers’ cable TV deal with Fox.
McCourt spoke to reporters in New York City shortly after saying he got word in a meeting with MLB executives that commissioner Bud Selig had vetoed the deal, which McCourt said would extend Fox’s cable coverage of the Dodgers through 2027 and also provide an equity stake in Fox’s Prime Ticket. The Dodgers’ current deal with Fox runs through 2013.
“I’m very committed to my position,” McCourt said. “We have not decided exactly what we’re going to do. We’ll keep you posted, but as I said, I’m not going anywhere. This is a team that I love, a community that I love. … I’m going to protect my rights.”
However, MLB later issued a statement saying that it had not vetoed the Fox deal, but was waiting to rule on it pending its investigation into McCourt’s and the Dodgers’ finances.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. McCourt felt it necessary to publicize the content of a private meeting,” said MLB exec veep of labor relations Rob Manfred. “It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourt’s public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, Commissioner Selig did not ‘veto’ a proposed transaction. Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the Commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the Club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances.”
McCourt suggested, however, that that investigation had a “pre-determined” outcome. …
… In a nod to the concerns over how much Dodger revenue he and his now-estranged wife had allocated for personal spending, McCourt said today that the proposed Fox deal would include an immediate payment of $300 million going directly into the Dodgers.
“None of those dollars (would be) used in any personal way,” McCourt said.
“I think I made some mistakes. I’m sorry about that, and I’m definitely commited to doing things differently moving forward. … I think everyone deserves a second chance.”
While apologetic with regard to some of his conduct, McCourt remained aghast that the TV deal was being held up. …