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McCourt's Cheap Approach Is Ruining Dodgers

Chris Pisar |
November 19, 2010 | 4:21 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Dear Frank McCourt,
It has been almost seven years since you took the helm of one of the most storied franchises in all of baseball.

In that span, the Dodgers have won three division titles and two playoff series and had 13 selections to the All-Star team -- all despite you, not because of you.

You run the Dodgers like one of your parking lots in Boston: taking everyone’s money at the entrance and delivering a less than adequate product for the price.

What may be acceptable in a city where losing has become the status quo -- Pittsburgh and Kansas City immediately come to mind -- just doesn’t cut it in the City of Angels.

Your team is the proud winner of five world championships, but none since 1988, which has left the city hungry for more.

And in case you didn’t know, the Dodgers have very passionate fans.

They are passionate to the tune of 25,762,038, or the number of Dodger faithful to hit the turnstiles since you took over in 2004.

Even in a year such as 2010 where the Dodgers finished two games under .500 and were out of the playoff hunt with a few weeks left in the season, you still had the third-highest attendance in Major League Baseball -- behind only the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.

That’s a lot of revenue, especially considering that you raised ticket prices 2.5 percent before the start of the 2010 season alone.

And that’s not even counting the plethora of Dodger Dogs consumed, the merchandise, or the $15 parking.

But that money hasn’t found its way back on the field in the form of a talent-laden roster.

You inherited a bevy of young talent from the previous regime, budding players like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, but you have failed to sign high-profile stars to complement them.

Every year comes and goes with the Dodgers failing to make any real significant acquisitions, the one exception being the trade for Manny Ramirez at the 2008 trade deadline, even though it didn’t cost you a dime.

In your defense, you did pony up the cash to re-sign him but only because you would make a lot more money than you would spend.

They say you can’t buy a championship. Try telling that to the Yankees.

The Dodgers’ long-time rival took home the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2009 with a payroll near $201.5 million and the offseason signings of C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.

Thanks to you, the Boys in Blue weren’t even a player in those negotiations.

Sure Sabathia came at the hefty price of $161 million over seven years, but he also anchored a pitching staff that helped carry the Yankees to a World Series title. Besides, you have to play the lottery to win it.

Instead, your pending divorce with your soon-to-be ex-wife has handcuffed general manager Ned Colletti and, in turn, has limited his ability to acquire the ace that the pitching staff has needed the last two years in the playoffs.

Even with the big contracts of Ramirez and Jason Schmidt off the books, there is still nothing doing.

So do Dodger fans a favor and worry less about the bottom line and more about fielding a team that resembles the major-media market it calls home.

Go after a big name arm like Cliff Lee to solidify the top of the rotation. Add a veteran presence to the starting lineup for the younger players to lean on or to provide some consistent power.

By all means, do everything in your power to put the best team forward.

After all, this is a business, and if you were running it properly you could have your cake and eat it too.   




To reach reporter Chris Pisar, click here.



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