As a some-of-the-time resident of Los Angeles over the years, I have been privy to the inside banter on all things L.A. sports. The Dodgers' season this year, at least on a karmic level, has seemed doomed from the start.
Of course we all know by now about the ruffians who sent San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow to the hospital in a coma straight from the Dodgers' parking lot on Opening Day.
But even before that, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had started his showdown with MLB commissioner Bud Selig. And McCourt seemingly knows how to maneuver his way through messy situations.
Either from the heated divorce proceedings with Jamie McCourt or from the Fox Sports TV deal Frank McCourt was trying to get, it became apparent the Dodgers' owner had not been quite forthright about the financial upkeep of his team. Whether it was reported interest-free loans to himself and/or family members or the alleged misappropriation of money raised from Dodgers charities, McCourt seems to have raised the ire of the all-powerful Selig. He doesn't seem like the guy you want to tick off.
On Monday, McCourt took his financial wranglings to a new level by having the Dodgers file for bankruptcy, thereby putting off any pressing debt that might be due and that, if not met, likely would lead to his losing his team by vote of the other major league owners.
I don't know about the businesses you readers are in, but in my business, you just cannot operate this way. I mean, I cannot just use my business as my own little private and ruleless bank, doing as I please with earnings of all types and then hoping for a TV deal to meet my employees' payroll.
You would think Selig would be rushing to take McCourt to court, but the plot thickens a bit here from what I have observed.
1) Bankruptcy cases in court can often protect the person who files (read: McCourt). If nothing else, it does leave the decision in a judge's hands, and Selig doesn't want that (much the same reason the NFL owners do not want this current lockout going to court).
2) If this case gets further investigated by an outside court, it might very well ask why Selig hasn't been this stringent on the New York Mets, who have been going through their own financial problems recently.
Either way, if you are a fan of sports and sportsmanship, you just cannot in any way get on the side of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. He has continuously used his team, its players, and most importantly, its ticket- and concession-buying fans to furnish his extravagant lifestyle, constantly looking for the next TV deal or whatever to pay off his last and latest debt.
But Selig should not be seen as the full-on hero or good guy here. It was Selig and his cronies who allowed McCourt to take ownership of the Dodgers in the first place -- all while knowing of some of his prior antics and financial buffoonery. I think Selig is now feeling a little bit taken.
And now for something a bit more positive: I would like to congratulate Seattle sports-broadcasting legend Mike "Gas" Gastineau for reaching 20 years at his same afternoon drive-time post at Seattle's KJR 950 radio.
I have written here before about this dude. He is one of the very best in the country at what he does. He stays a "homer" with Seattle teams for sure, but he is in no way provincial in his views. Neither does he stay with just sports all of the time. His off-topic views on music have been some of the most knowledgeable I have ever heard. And I am a musician! I remember calling into his show when I flew up to see the Sonics play the Jazz for the Western Conference finals in 1995 or '96. Even though I didn't know him, he put me straight on the air. He knew enough about me to believe it was me calling in -- as opposed to some weird caller saying he was me.
I have tape-recorded some of his shows to help me get over my claustrophobia on long flights.
Congrats, Gas. Here is to 20 more years!
Musician Duff McKagan, who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and has his autobiography due out later this year, writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com.