Dodgers file for bankruptcy

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt at a news conference at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt at a news conference at Dodger Stadium.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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The Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware – a move that keeps the team from being seized by Major League Baseball.

The Los Angeles Times reports that owner Frank McCourt said he had $150 million in interim financing lined up, which allows McCourt to keep control of the team during bankruptcy proceedings.

It isn't known where the $150 million came from, and ESPN's Molly Knight says she'll believe it when she sees it. "[McCourt] says a lot of things that wind up not being totally true."

"This is the end for McCourt," says Knight. Knight says that usually when there's a bankruptcy filing, it means giving up the team. "He might not think it's the end, but [Major League Baseball commissioner Bud] Selig's people will definitely step in soon. They've been hanging him out to dry, bleeding McCourt, hoping he'd die on the vine."

When Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks filed for bankruptcy last year, he didn't intend to come out of it as the owner, while McCourt does. "He's got no shot to keep the team," says Knight.

McCourt cites MLB commissioner Selig's interference with Dodgers club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday's bankruptcy filing.

He says the Dodgers have tried for almost a year to get the Fox deal approved, saying it would make the Dodgers one of the strongest capitalized franchises in Major League Baseball.

Fox Television has reportedly yanked its offer of a lucrative TV deal, which McCourt had counted on to keep the team solvent.

On top of that, team executive Steve Soboroff has resigned from his job after only two months. He was hired to improve the fan experience at Dodger Stadium.

In a news release, the team says Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will provide the Dodgers with a process to address its immediate financing requirements and obtain the capital necessary to ensure the franchise's long-term financial stability.

The Dodgers have a payroll to meet Thursday. "Baseball will cover it," says ESPN's Knight. "The players union makes it paramount that the players will get paid, because if they don't, they all become free agents." Knight said that would be the end of the Dodgers, so she doubts Major League Baseball will allow that.

The bankruptcy filing includes a list of the major creditors. "The creditors are the players," says ESPN's Knight. Number one is Manny Ramirez, who's owed $20 million. Knight calls the list "mind-bending."

Other Dodgers creditors include all of the current players, broadcaster Vin Scully, the Chicago White Sox, Continental Airlines and Bank of America.

The list even includes Marquis Grissom, who hasn't played for the Dodgers since 2002. Grissom is owed millions.

Audio: KPCC's Steve Julian speaks with ESPN's Molly Knight about the Dodgers bankruptcy.