Tom Schieffer On Monitoring The Dodgers “We want the team to be on the sports page, not the financial page.”May 2, 2011 – 7:15 am by Steven Cuce
The bitter divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt has become a major headline in the baseball world over the last two seasons in terms of who really owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and runs the organization. Multiple reports have surfaced that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had personally borrowed $30 million from FOX to meet payroll obligations for his club in April.
Commissioner Bud Selig has become so concerned by the Dodgers financial situation that he appointed Tom Schieffer to monitor the organization. Schieffer has a baseball background as he ran the day-to-day operations for the Texas Rangers from 1991-99. During his time in Texas, the Rangers made the playoffs three times and set attendance records, thus laying the foundation to move into their current ballpark in Arlington. Schieffer wants to make sure everyone knows he is not the owner of the Dodgers. Frank McCourt is the owner. McCourt may not be pleased by Selig’s action, but Schieffer’s job is to figure out what are causing the problems in L.A. and let the players just play. For a once proud staple of the baseball universe the Dodgers just want this black cloud to disappear.
Tom Schieffer joined ESPN Radio Los Angeles with Mason and Ireland to discuss his thoughts on overseeing the Dodgers, the primary reason for why Bud Selig felt it was necessary for him to monitor the Dodgers, if it’s fair to say that the MLB is running the Dodgers, anything being different at Dodgers Stadium now that he is overseeing the organization and will baseball step in to help pay for the Dodgers payroll.
It seems like you stepped into a hornets nest here with the Dodgers financial situation. What do you think about that?
“I think it’s a difficult situation otherwise the Commissioner [Selig] wouldn’t have acted in the best interests of baseball to take control of the franchise, but having said that I think what you have to do here is sit down and listen to folks, try to determine what the facts are, and move on from there.”
What was the primary reason that Commissioner Selig felt it was necessary for there to be a monitor of the Dodgers?
“I think the Commissioner felt there was some difficulties within the franchise that were making it difficult for it to function and I don’t want to go into all of those right now because I think in fairness to everybody we need to do more research on some of those items before talking about them publicly, but obviously they’re serious or he wouldn’t have done what he did and I wouldn’t be here.”
Is it fair to say that Major League Baseball is stepping in to run the Dodgers?
“Mr. McCourt is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Everybody understands that. The Commissioner has the power under the law and under the rules of baseball to step in when he thinks it’s in the best interests of baseball to do that. That’s what he’s done. As a result of that I’m his representative here and we’re going to try to sit down and listen to people. I hope I have the chance to talk to Mr. McCourt and we can take the emotion out of it and just let the facts speak for themselves.”
Is there anything immediate that a fan is going to notice about their experience at Dodgers Stadium that will be different under your rule?
“I hope that what the fans will notice is what the Dodgers are doing and when I say the Dodgers I’m talking about the team that’s…we want the team to be on the sports page not the financial page and we’re going to do everything we can to see that that happens.”
Will Major League Baseball step in to help pay for the Dodgers payroll?
“The Dodgers have a lot of financial obligations and we’ll have to see what they are and than we’ll have to see how we are going to meet them. That’s just part of the process that we are going through and that’s part of the process I’m here to learn. I think one of the nice things that coming from outside of baseball, I’ve had experience in baseball, I haven’t been inside of baseball in several years, it gives me an opportunity to come fresh into the situation with no preconceived notions and just try to determine what the facts are. Once we determine what those facts are then that will help us make the judgements that need to be made after that.”
Listen to Tom Schieffer on ESPN Radio LA here (Interview starts at 8:00 into the podcast)