Bill Shaikin on what the commissioner thinks about the Dodgers:
- [Bud] Selig has remained virtually silent on the issue since the McCourts filed for divorce 11 months ago, saying only that the legal proceedings needed to play out.
However, according to four people who have spoken with him, Selig is dismayed at the public spectacle surrounding the divorce and concerned about the potential for lasting damage to the league and its flagship West Coast franchise. He has told those people he wants the Dodgers' ownership situation resolved long before his scheduled retirement in 2012.
The trial to determine who owns the Dodgers is set to resume Monday and end by Sept. 30, after which Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon has 90 days to rule.
Yet, with both sides openly discussing possible appeals and additional legal maneuvers, a final decision on whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the team or Jamie McCourt is a co-owner could be two to three years away, according to attorneys involved in the case.
First, I wouldn't take too seriously that "scheduled retirement in 2012" talk. The closer 2012 gets, the less likely that retirement gets.
That's a trifle, though.
According to Shaikin, in the past four years "the Dodgers turned a profit of $111 million, including $38 million last year."
Those numbers, along with the premier nature of the Los Angeles market, means if the franchise is on the market there will be immensely wealthy prospective buyers lined up from Chavez Ravine to Rancho Cucamonga. And I don't believe it will take two or three years for the McCourts to figure out that fighting over the Dodgers is simply delaying the inevitable ...
Neither can have sole possession of the Dodgers and they obviously can't share the Dodgers, which leaves just one option: selling the club and splitting the proceeds. Soon, the lawyers' jobs will be less about "winning" than about convincing their clients to stop wasting everyone's time and money on this foolishness.
Come to think of it, though, a lot of the money that's being wasted is being wasted on those lawyers, most of whom have every reason to see this thing drag on for some years. So maybe this will take longer than I think. The commissioner just might have to stick around for a while ...