Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Step Backwards for the Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2011 season started off on a bad note when fan, Bryan Stow, was attacked in the parking lot after a game in the team’s opening series against their rival San Francisco Giants.  Bryan Stow is still in the hospital today, nearly a month after the brutal attack.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers’ organization took yet another step backwards when Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a representative to oversee the teams financial and day-to-day operations.  The once storied MLB franchise is now as mediocre in the front office as they are on the field.

The downfall began in October of 2009 when owners Frank and Jamie McCourt filed for divorce.  Each was a 50% owner of the team and each held a major front office position.  When the marital dispute began, Frank fired Jamie from her position.  Business began to slip.  The product on the field began to slip.  The Dodgers became known as the team that was close to making the playoffs but never made a trade deadline move to take the next step.  The divorce took its toll on the entire organization. 

The Dodgers were virtually nonexistent in the offseason free agent scene this year.  The once big spending Dodgers have now seen their payroll drop in back-to-back seasons putting them 12th out of 30 teams entering the 2011 season.  To make matters worse, after seeking a $200 million loan last summer, Frank McCourt is now seeking a $30 million loan from FOX.  Maybe all these loans are to build a new stadium for the team?  Nope, the team has been playing in Chavez Ravine since 1962.  Maybe all these loans are for new marketing initiatives to attract new fans?  Nope, the team’s average attendance has dropped below 40,000 this season, an 11% decrease from last season.  The Dodgers are seeking their latest loan of $30 million dollars simply to make payroll.

Seeking loans is exactly what drove Commissioner Bud Selig to appoint a representative to oversee operations.  There are some interesting candidates to become the Dodgers’ overseer.  One candidate is Peter O’Malley; Peter’s father, Walter O’Malley, was a beloved owner of the Dodgers before his death.  Another candidate is Stan Kasten who is a former CEO of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals with a strong friendship with Commissioner Selig.  Perhaps the most intriguing candidate is Joe Torre.  Joe Torre was the manager of the Dodgers through the end of last season and is now working in the commissioner’s office.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have not won a World Series since 1988.  Their former players include a bunch of Hall of Famers and Major League Baseball icons.  The organization is now being run into the ground.  Hopefully Bud Selig’s move can right the ship and turn the Dodgers toward becoming an elite National League ball club once again.

-Written by Kevin Rossi

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