'Project Jamie' posited McCourt as Prez

As if we need another excuse to make fun of Jamie McCourt, there's this, from the L.A. Times:

    Jamie McCourt considered whether to parlay her high-profile position with the Dodgers into the pursuit of political offices, including president of the United States, according to documents filed by her estranged husband in the couple's divorce proceedings.

    McCourt declined to comment Monday, after speaking at a luncheon benefiting the Jewish Federation of Orange County. She told the crowd she had no desire to stage a public fight over ownership of the Dodgers but even less desire to walk away from a 30-year marriage on terms dictated by Frank McCourt.

    "I don't think that I should have to settle for less than what is right," she said.

    In a deposition included in the court filing, she said she had "thoughts and discussions with various people about public office." She said she could not recall whether Frank McCourt was one of them.

    In a December 2008 e-mail, Dodgers executive Charles Steinberg presented her with "Project Jamie," a seven-page action plan that included this line: "Goal: Be Elected President of the United States."

    In a March 2009 e-mail suggesting that she first run for mayor of Los Angeles and then governor of California, consultant Michael Wissot wrote: "Since I've never known you to joke with me about your professional objectives, I presume that this POTUS (President of the United States) goal is serious."

    Wissot told The Times that McCourt never followed up with him.


    Steinberg's blueprint envisioned a "Jamie Coalition" of women, minorities, youth, Hollywood types and "sports-loving males" and the development of a "Dodgers University" that would include after-school programs for children, adult literacy classes and sports business seminars.

    According to the plan, McCourt could then run for office on twin platforms of family improvement and education, using the Dodgers University to garner endorsements from the likes of Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver, Antonio Villaraigosa, Fernando Valenzuela and basketball's Bill Russell.

Obviously, the term "Project Jamie" leaves Ms. McCourt open to all sort of delicious mockery. I'll leave that to you.

My only contact with McCourt came three years ago, when she was one of the keynote speakers (J.P. Ricciardi was the other) at the MIT-Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. McCourt seemed an obvious choice, considering that 1) her husband owned the Los Angeles Dodgers, and 2) she had gotten her MBA at MIT's Sloan School of Management some decades earlier.

Her speech was a disaster. Speaking to a mostly young, mostly male crowd interested in analytics, McCourt gave a speech that she must have given dozens of times before, to every organization in Southland from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Pasadena Rotary Club to the Watts Civic Improvement Society. If there was any mention of analytics -- and I'm not at all sure there was -- it was just a few sentences, tucked among the pablum designed to inspire Greater Los Angelenos to purchase tickets. McCourt couldn't even reasonably fake the bleeding of Dodger blue. She grew up in Baltimore, then worked in New York and Boston before moving to Los Angeles in 2004 after her husband bought the franchise.

Afterward, the general reaction was equal parts shock and annoyance that McCourt would so blatantly disregard her audience.

Most of which I forgot within 30 minutes of the conclusion of her speech. But it all came back in a rush when news of the separation broke last year, and reports suggested that Jamie McCourt wants control of the Dodgers. It all came back again when I read this report suggesting that she recently harbored aspirations of gaining high political office.

Many stranger things have happened. But I will submit that people who don't know much about baseball probably shouldn't own baseball teams, and that people who can't read their audience probably don't have much of a future in politics.