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Frank McCourt has lost control of the Dodgers franchise as Bud Selig and the Major League Baseball association has seized ownership.
It's not clear to me that big-time sports is a business in any meaningful sense of the term. It seems based on economic principles drawn from the pre-capitalist era, when circuses roamed the landscape and people put their faith in shamans. But the way the Dodgers/McCourt psychodrama is playing out here in LA has led me to revise my view. Major League Baseball isn't even charming in some retro-feudal sense. It operates like a backwater banana republic, ruled by the iron hand of a Maximum Leader, Commissioner Bud Selig.
The sports media seem to have accepted this yucky paternalistic arrangement, which is worrisome. Here's Bill Plashcke in the LA Times:
Bud Selig owes us. The baseball commissioner who allowed a seriously underfunded McCourt to take the team from desperate Fox in 2004 owes us a strong and viable owner this time.
Selig will pick the person, believe me. No sports commissioner has a stronger influence over who is allowed entry in his league. Selig will pick this owner like he has picked other owners, but never before has his selection been more important, more mandated, and more tied to his legacy.
Selig owes us. He owes Los Angeles a well-funded, competitive-minded businessperson who understands that the Dodgers are about a family experience, Hollywood entertainment and, most important, winning.