Blame Bud for the empty seats you’ll see in Chavez Ravine tonight

Attendance is way down at Dodger Stadium this year, a direct result of the disastrous mismanagement of one of baseball’s signature franchises by the McDivorceCourts.

The Used Car Salesman awarded the Dodgers to Team McCourt because he wanted to keep the Parking Lot Attendant, who owns land that could be used as a potential new home for the Red Sox, happy. Dodgers fans be damned.

[McCourt] did not have the money to buy the Dodgers and offered a bid that was heavily leveraged. Nor did McCourt have connections to Los Angeles; from the start, he was viewed as an outsider there.

There were other candidates with far better pedigrees: Los Angeles developer and philanthropist Eli Broad offered to buy the team, mostly with cash. Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth formed a group to look into purchasing the team, as did Los Angeles real estate mogul Alan Casden. All had more money, visibility and ties to L.A. than the McCourts did.

During the early part of 2004, when the sale was nearing approval, high-ranking baseball officials questioned the amount of debt McCourt was taking on to purchase the team, and whether baseball was ignoring its own guidelines that require a 60/40 equity-to-debt ratio in a potential owner’s bid. It was clear from the start that McCourt as the owner of the Dodgers was both a high-risk endeavor and an example of how baseball will add a member to its club if it wants to.

It was Bud’s call, and Bud’s mistake. McCourt just borrowed $300 million from Fox to cover expenses into next month but vows he’s not selling. L.A. is probably stuck with him, and the Dodgers will suffer, just as baseball has suffered during Bud’s reign of greedy ineptitude.

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6 Comments on Blame Bud for the empty seats you’ll see in Chavez Ravine tonight

  1. Jack Straw // April 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm //

    Excellent piece.

    One reason Dodgers’ attendance may be down is the beating of the Giants fan in the opening home series. If the perception is that Dodger Stadium is no longer safe, parents may choose not to take their children there.

  2. tokyokie // April 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm //

    Jack, When I first heard about the incident, my thought was that the McCourts had been too cheap to install sufficient lighting and hire off-duty cops to patrol the parking lot. And I haven’t seen anything since that makes me feel otherwise.

    Similarly, I’ve never heard just why the Used Car Salesman decided that Liberty Media should join the pantheon of MLB owners, other than Time Warner wanted a big-ass tax break. Or why MLB should care whether Time Warner got a big-ass tax break.

  3. But Mark Cuban isn’t allowed in. Yeah, he’s something of an ass, but I doubt you could find a Dallas Mavs fan who wishes he wasn’t their owner.

    L.A. is a good baseball town. When Fox mused about moving the Dodgers downtown into a new stadium complex that would house an NFL team, the outcry was such that they abandoned the idea.

    Bud’s not done fucking up the game — expanding the playoffs is next.

  4. Jack Straw // April 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm //

    McCourt could be another Marge Schott for all I know, but blaming him for the criminal acts of third parties isn’t fair unless it was foreseeable and he failed to act. Dodger Stadium has been notably free of such incidents throughout its history.

    But don’t misunderstand, I think Selig in the Commissioner’s chair is exactly the opposite of where MLB needs to be. When I was growing up, Bowie Kuhn was (over)zealous in protecting the integrity of the game, the way Roger Goodell pretends to be with the NFL. Kuhn was a bit of a prig, but he always had the best interests of the game at heart. Selig is Flem Snopes with a dash of Colonel Tom Parker, skulking, scheming, and treating the National Pasttime as if it were no better than a Tijuana sex show.

  5. PepeFreeUs // April 19, 2011 at 12:31 am //

    Actually, I read a lot of comments on various boards, the upshot of which is that the security at Chavez Ravine has become quite lax in the last few years.

    It’s not too hard to draw the conclusion that absentee clowns who spend very little time and money on their team bear a significant share of blame for the stadium and it’s environs.

  6. roadrunner // April 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm //

    This all makes me wonder how The Used Car Salesman is going to rig the bidding process to screw the Braves when Liberty sells.

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