It's only been a week and quite a bit has happened with regard to the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt. A brief foray into court last week showed where MLB and Frank McCourt stood and it also sets up a four day hearing that begins on Halloween, October 31, 2011. McCourt is claiming that MLB commissioner Bud Selig bent his own rules in order to get McCourt out as owner of the team and essentially dealt a death blow to McCourt by denying him access to a multi-year television deal with Fox that would have solved a lot of his financial problems. MLB simply wants the court to force the Dodgers to be sold. That week of court should be an interesting one to Dodgers' fans.
In other Dodgers news, Frank and his ex-wife Jamie have reached a divorce settlement. The big piece of the settlement is where she gives up her piece of the team for $130 million and it takes away one obstacle in Frank's way. Now it'll be between Frank and Bud in court. While the settlement hasn't been finalized yet, it looks like Frank won't have to pay Jamie immediately. It also looks like if Frank has ownership of the team in the spring and Frank hasn't paid Jamie, then he has to put the team up for sale.
Sternberg lightens tone to season ticket holders
Last week, I talked about how Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg talked about how the Rays would be “vaporized” if they didn't get a new stadium. Now he's taken his tone down a notch or two because he wants to sell some tickets. In an email to season ticket holders, he said he wasn't complaining (open to argument) but that he was concerned about the precarious situation of the team.
He also talked about how he wasn't blaming anyone and that he didn't mean to be ungrateful to his fans. Of course at no point does he lay the blame at his own feet which can be partially attributed to the Ray's fire sale last off-season. Probably one of the more unusual arguments he makes is when he talks about how having such a good season might have hurt the team because now others can make the point that the Rays can win and compete in their current stadium.
Astros ownership struggle continues
About five months ago, Jim Crane agreed to buy the Houston Astros for $680 million. Since then, the sale has been put on a hold for a few rumored reasons. War profiteering was one of the issues, but now the realignment that would be necessary to push MLB's new expanded playoff slate is becoming an issue. There's speculation that the Astros have been pegged as the team that's going to move from the National League to the American League.
This apparently has Crane thinking twice about the purchase, but it looks like he might seek compensation before he walks away from the table. The next owners' meeting is November 15 and 16 and the speculation is that both the decision of which team will flip leagues as well as the Astros' ownership situation will be resolved at that time.
Minor league wrap
The New York Yankees locked up one of their minor league affiliates for an additional four years. The Yankees deal with their Single-A affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs, was set to expire at the end of 2012 but they recently agreed to an extension that lasts through 2016. The RiverDogs have been the Yankees' affiliate since 2004.
In other news, the Casper Ghosts are leaving Wyoming and they're expected to play in Grand Junction, Colorado. In order to get out of their lease, the Ghosts will pay the city of Casper $200,000. The Ghosts played in Casper since 2001.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.