The McCourt-Dodgers meltdown could have an unusual and for-now unmeasurable impact on the A’s depending on one decision: Who will be brought in to oversee the team now that MLB has seized it? According to ESPNLA’s Tony Jackson, the shortlist has three candidates:
- Stan Kasten, former Nats president
- John McHale, Jr., executive VP within MLB
- Corey Busch, frequent MLB committee member and former team exec
Yes, that’s the same Corey Busch who’s on the A’s stadium panel with Irwin Raij and Bob Starkey. Busch has been all over the West Coast with his baseball involvement, including a key role in the ownership transition between Fox and the McCourts. Supposedly Busch was to stay on after the transition to become the Dodgers’ team president, but the job was offered to then-Red Sox front office man Mike Dee. Dee declined the position, got a raise, and eventually moved on to the Miami Dolphins in 2009. In 2005, Jamie McCourt became team president and executive VP. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was around the time the downward debt spiral began in earnest.
The commissioner’s appointee will have the tough task of sorting out the huge mess the McCourts made. Unlike Oakland, there will be no stadium study. Instead, it’ll be an effort to determine what abuses were made and what the team’s real fiscal health is. That’s important, because MLB will want to get as high a price as possible for the team once it finalizes its seizure. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Raij (law) and Starkey (accounting) brought in soon.
Problem is that the whole rigamarole would take at least a year, probably two. The McCourts’ divorce proceedings are in recess and aren’t scheduled to begin again until next year. Meanwhile, Frank McCourt is considering a lawsuit or injunction against MLB. That would be interesting since as we all know that teams (and owners) are prevented from suing each other or MLB thanks to the covenant known as the ML Constitution. If McCourt sues and a judge decides to allow his lawsuit to move forward instead of dismissing it early, the action would effectively challenge both the commissioner and baseball’s antitrust exemption together in one fell swoop. Which would be, well, is it 2012 yet?
The best thing for Frank McCourt would be to see the writing on the wall, take his lumps, and give up the Dodgers. That would speed everything else up.
Short term, what does this mean for the A’s? It could be interpreted as two possibilities. Either the panel is done with its work, or Selig has seen fit to put the A’s on the backburner while the Dodgers mess is cleaned up. Or both. The crazy thing about this is that the whole strategy about keeping the A’s and Rays in limbo for the upcoming CBA talks has been pretty much blown out of the water thanks to the much scarier impact of the Mets’ and Dodgers’ woes. Neither of those will get fixed before the next CBA is ratified. So, Bud, how about getting the “easy” stuff out of the way first?