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Dodger fans rejoice as McCourt era comes to an end

November 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Dodgers' McCourt era began in 2004 amid smiles and cheers. Eight seasons later, the East Coast parking lot magnate is on his way out with few smiles and plenty of jeers.

The last two Dodger seasons were filled with turmoil: a very public and ugly McCourt divorce, the brutal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in the stadium parking lot, low paid attendance and what many consider to be team mismanagement.

"We saw the silent boycott last year," said Marcellus Wiley, co-host of "Max & Marcellus" on 710AM ESPN Radio. "Attendance was down, we didn't see the product on the field we wanted to see, the payroll was not at the level it should be for a team in this market."

On Tuesday night, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement to sell the team, one of the sport's most storied franchises.

While no buyer has been determined, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making it clear it better not be someone from out of town.

"It absolutely has to be someone from L.A., somebody who loves this town and believes in this city and understands that the Dodgers aren't just a team, they're a collective community asset," the mayor said.

Talk to fans, though, and some say they are not concerned about where an owner comes from but how well they will run the team.

One name consistently bandied about is that of Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

"I think Mark Cuban would be good," said Robert Morales of Glendale. "He's used to running teams. I think he's a good leader."

The Los Angeles Times reported that Cuban inquired about buying the team a few months ago but felt the asking price was too high. Cuban reportedly remains interested in buying the Dodgers should the price come down.

Whoever the buyer is, that person better have deep pockets. McCourt is reportedly seeking at least $1 billion in the auction for the team he bought for $420 million. In addition to the team and media rights, the sale is also expected to include Dodger Stadium and its parking lots.

Though ten figures may sound excessive to some, Marcellus' radio co-host, Max Kellerman, said it's a steal.

"That team should be worth three times that," Kellerman said.

McCourt has been mired in bankruptcy proceedings for months now in Delaware. He also recently settled his divorce proceedings with his estranged wife, Jamie McCourt.

In bankruptcy court, MLB's attorneys raised the point that the McCourts allegedly looted millions from the team to support a lavish lifestyle. According to divorce documents, they took out more than $100 million in loans from Dodgers-related businesses for their own use.

The Dodgers organization has been in turmoil for the past year, dealing with the McCourts' ugly divorce and the brutal opening day beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in the stadium parking lot.

The McCourts were locked in a dispute over ownership of the team, but Frank McCourt eventually won that battle.

A joint statement issued by Commissioner Bud Selig's office and Frank McCourt stated the Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process.

Dodger fans say the sooner it happens, the better.

Clara Yokogawa of Glassell Park said she hopes the new owner will turn around the franchise for fans like herself. She said her interest in the team has gone down with all the drama, and she attended only one game this season.

An auction of the team must be approved by the bankruptcy court. A timeline of the sale has yet to be announced.

Fans are planning a rally to celebrate the news that McCourt is selling the team at 6 p.m. Wednesday.


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