Los Angeles Ashes
So if anybody deserves to be beaten into a coma by Dodger fans, it’s Frank McCourt. The guy who makes Rupert Murdoch seems like a responsible, locally involved owner needs a fist right in his smug, buff-shined face, and needs it badly, needs it today. The Dodgers’ bankruptcy filing this morning — just another couple of steps in the team’s long tumble down the stairs — unfortunately won’t be the last embarrassment in his disastrous reign. It’s just the latest.
Frank McCourt is to the Dodgers as Sherman is to the South, as Sarah Palin is to rational political discourse, as a particularly virulent strain of coprophage is to your lower intestine. He doesn’t own the Dodgers so much as consume them, extract what he can and leave the husk broken and bleeding by the side of the road.
The creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing read like an ugly, on-field parallel to the McCourt’s own free-spending, weak-thinking ways:
Twenty million dollars is owed to that lazy cheat Manny Ramirez, who fled the game rather than get banned from it. Twenty million! After a year and a half with the team. That’s roughly a dollar for every boo he earned during his sluggish, half-hearted stay. The humiliation of this single, shattering fact — the true legacy of the McCourts — has the potential to out-do the embarrassment of the dreadlock wigs that they used to sell at the stadium.
Eleven million is owed to the thundering zero that was Andruw Jones, a big-bat who spent his pathetic year with the team either sub-.200 or on the DL. And who is now a Yankee, making $500K.
Twenty million is owned to Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jon Garland, Jonathon Broxton, Chad Billingsly and Matt Guerrier, the last of two of whom have the distinction of being the only active pitchers on the top half of creditors list who have managed the towering achievement of actually winning half their games. Kazuhisa Ishii is owed three million and he hasn’t played since 2004.
Even Vin Scully — national treasure, god among men, and someone who has out-performed everybody else on the Dodgers, front-office or on-field — is owed $150,000. I swear to God, if McCourt tries to cheat Vin Scully out of a single dime of his money, there is no place on Earth that he will be able to hide. I know a few parking lots in Boston that could be dug up and sealed over in a night.
Oh, hey, have I mentioned that the Dodgers are only ahead of the sad-sack Padres in their division, and by one lousy game? You spend tens of millions on disappointments who aren’t even contributing their meager skills anymore, and I guess you count that as a good showing.
And, actually, McCourt does. He said that during his tenure the Dodgers have been profitable and successful — which aren’t usually words that you associate with bankruptcy filing and basement dwelling. But, hey, nice haircut, Frank.
The one good thing that comes out of all this is that the McCourts won’t be able to go ahead with their divorce. I can’t think of a better punishment than Frank and Jamie McCourt being stuck with each other. I can only hope they do half as much damage to each other as they’ve done to one of the most iconic teams in baseball.
But a beating would be nice, too.