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Embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
KPCC’s Managing Editor, Nick Roman, has an elegant solution to The Dodger Situation. He writes:
Whoever winds up buying the Dodgers might have current owner Frank McCourt … as their landlord. Last Sunday, LA Times sportswriter Bill Shaikin reported that soon after Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers, he broke the Dodger empire into bits and pieces – Dodger Stadium here, parking lots there. So now, according to the Times, the Dodgers pay rent to play in Dodger Stadium, about $14 million a year. That’s more rent than any other team … seven times what the Angels pay to Anaheim to play in Angel Stadium. Shaikin was hinting that the notion of McCourt as landlord will frighten away potential buyers if Major League Baseball tries to sell the team. Maybe McCourt had that in mind all along. But what looks like a clever move by McCourt might not be at all. ... CLICK THROUGH for the whole story.
... Let’s say you buy the Dodgers without Dodger Stadium or the parking lots in the deal. All you have to do is make a phone call to AEG’s Tim Leiweke. “Hey, Tim. Instead of building a 75,000 seat football stadium that’s gonna get used a dozen times a year, why not build a 45,000 seat baseball stadium that would be filled 90 times or more?” Vin Scully Field at AEG Park would be pricey, but still cheaper than the billion dollars or so a football stadium would cost.
Let’s face it: Dodger Stadium is almost 50 years old. And nearly every major league baseball stadium built within 15 years of Dodger Stadium’s is gone, from Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium to Shea Stadium to Three Rivers Stadium to the Vet in Philly. Realistically, only Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium and Anaheim’s Angel Stadium still have years ahead as baseball home fields, thanks to major renovations that have made them two of the nicest ballparks around. Major renovations at Dodger Stadium would be difficult and expensive and Frank McCourt the landlord doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who can foot a nine-figure bill.
So go ahead and buy the Dodgers. Then give Tim Leiweke a call and tell him you’re ready to bring the team downtown. Then call Anaheim and get a price on rent for three seasons or so of Dodger baseball in Orange County while Leiweke builds a new stadium. Tell them you’ll match what the Angels pay: $2 million a year. What the heck! Make it $3 million. In an era of tight budgets, Anaheim will take it – and you’ll save $11 million a year in rent. That’s enough to buy a very good ballplayer – or make a nice down payment on Dodger Stadium renovations if you owned the stadium.
Now call Frank McCourt. Tell him you’ll buy Dodger Stadium and the parking lots. Tell him about your calls to Tim Leiweke and to Anaheim. Tell him you’re ready to move to Anaheim for three years so you can fix up Dodger Stadium, or so Leiweke can build a new ballpark four miles away. It doesn’t matter which. Now tell him the price you’ll pay for Dodger Stadium and the parking lots goes down every minute.
Remind him that if there’s no sale, he loses his sole tenant right now. Tell him when his property taxes are due.
Then hang up.