Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times reports that Frank McCourt's bid for the Dodgers has been added to the agenda of the January 14-15 ownership meeting. McCourt needs the approval of three-fourths of the owners, which may prove impossible even with Czar Bud in full "I Am the Law" mode.
The Commissioner reportedly wants the deal to close as a favor to the Dodgers' current owner, News Corp. News Corp. owns the FOX network, MLB's TV partner, and the various Fox Sports outlets which carry most clubs' local cablecasts. As one anonymous insider told Newhan, "I think the ownership committee would have already thrown out the McCourt proposal if any other entity than News Corp. was involved."
With good reason. In flagrant disregard of MLB's debt rules, McCourt plans to borrow nearly the entire purchase price. Bank of America and News Corp. would loan him big chunks of money, and Aramark, the Dodgers' concessionaire, would receive equity in return for charging the club less for concessions. Even under McCourt's own optimistic projections, the deal would violate MLB's debt rules, and would continue to do so for years to come.
Waiving the debt rules for the Dodgers would create yet another conflict of interest for Selig. How long would the waiver last? Could the Dodgers be forced to slash scouting and player development expenses to improve their short-term bottom line? Nobody knows, except the Commissioner/ Brewers owner/de facto owner of the Expos. With effective control of one club in each NL division, how long before Bud decided to add a few AL clubs to his portfolio?
On the bright side, as of today the Commissioner's term has less than three years to run.