November 26, 2014

Is Frank McCourt’s Greatest Injustice Yet to Come?

After reading the coverage of Frank McCourt’s decision to take the Dodgers into bankruptcy in a last ditch effort to retain control of the club, my heart sank.  If it proves anything, it proves that McCourt is willing to do preserve his ownership, no matter what the long term damage is to the organization.

Frankly, it sickens me to see a proud and historic franchise like the Dodgers dragged further into the mud.  Fans are clearly staying away from Chavez Ravine, and Frank has to be aware that the actions of the fans amounts to nothing less than a silent boycott of his ownership, right?

In the end, I just don’t see how McCourt wins (if there can even be a winner in such matters).  But regardless of who owns the team or how bad the baseball is on the field, I’ll always love coming to Chavez Ravine as long as the likes of Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda still walk the halls, reminding all of us of happier days and the promise of the future. 

But it could get worse.  My greatest nightmare is that these proceedings are so distasteful to the stately Scully that he silently walks away at the end of the season.  The fans need him more than ever to return for the 2011-12 season, ideally with a new owner in tow.  Vin Scully retiring now would deprive Dodger fans not only of one of the greatest treasures this franchise has ever had, and also an element of hope.  A light to see them through the darkness.  Scully leaving would send this silent fan revolt to a level we haven’t imagined.

I have no reason to think this will indeed take place (and certainly don’t believe Vin would ever discuss his personal feelings on the subject), but in my opinion, that would be the saddest day in Dodger history.  And Frank McCourt’s greatest crime of all.

Will MLB Enter the McCourt Divorce Fight?

Lots of great writing from around the web over the past few days.  Unfortunately most of this news isn’t all that positive, but that’s the way it goes some years, right?

– I’m a little late in getting to this, but Bill Shaikin had a thought-provoking look at the on the McCourt divorce saga in yesterday’s LA Times.  Very interesting to see that Commissioner Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation, but not getting involved at this point.  Also interesting to see the list of potential buyers should the Dodgers come up for sale (my money is on Dennis Gilbert, but that’s just a hunch).

– Ross Newhan has a great story on his blog, looking back at the reporting that was done by him and former LA Times Dodgers’ beat writer Jason Reid on the McCourt’s financial situation when they purchased the team, and what their plans were for the future.

– Tony Jackson from ESPN Los Angeles recaps Clayton Kershaw’s brilliant complete game shutout against the hated San Francisco Giants.  One of the true highlights of the second half of the season.

– Ken Gurnick at looks back at the life of Al LaMacchia, the longtime scout for the Dodgers and the man who is credited with Andre Ethier being in Dodger Blue.  Al passed away yesterday at the age of 89.  Old-time scouts are sadly a dying breed, and from all accounts, Al was a suberb baseball man.  Former Dodgers’ GM Fred Claire also wrote a great story on Al and the Ethier deal a few years ago.  Check it out…it’s one that I’ve always loved.

– Answer Dave over at Big League Stew has a rare Q&A with Vin Scully, where he discusses his love for Jolly Ranchers,  his thoughts on Elizabeth Montgomery (from “Bewitched”) and what the Seventh Inning Stretch means to him.  Terrific stuff.

– Jon Weisman gets a jump start on the 2010-2011 offseason and lays out the questions (and they’re big ones) that Ned Colletti & Co. face in the months leading up to Spring Training.  Yikes.

– There’s a lot more going on in Dodgerland, including Asst. GMs Logan White and DeJon Watson interviewing for the open General Manager position with the Diamondbacks.  Neither are rumored to be the current favorities, but the fine folks over at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness brought up a good point: what if Logan or DeJon gets the job and takes the other with him?  What if they take Kim Ng?  Losing one would would be really tough.  Losing more than one would truly be tragic.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Vin Scully to Broadcast for Dodgers in 2011

It’s now official – Vin Scully has announced that he will return to the Dodgers to broadcast their 2011 season. Scully has been signing one-year deals the past few years in order to give him flexibility in his retirement plans.

“I’m just honored and humbled to continue my association with the Dodgers, which has been a major part of my life,” said Scully. “I’m as thrilled as our fans that Vin will be returning,” said Dodger Owner Frank McCourt. “He is not only the greatest broadcaster of all time, but also a wonderful friend.”

Steve Dilbeck had a great write-up on the L.A. Times Dodgers blog that I’ve included in its entirety below. It brought a smile to my face and I wanted to share it with our readers.

Home is wherever Vin Scully is on the air; a scary moment turns celebratory as he announces his return
August 22, 2010 | 12:28 pm
And then, a giant sigh of relief.

A day that had seemed so ominous suddenly filled with an explosion of happiness.

Vin Scully is coming back.

Back to fill our summer evenings, to anchor a troubled franchise, to give us that one familiar, warm verbal embrace.

I have never been so happy to be so wrong about a gut feeling in my professional career.

Vin said Sunday he was embarrassed for any anguish he had caused with fans over the past day because he had left his decision oddly hanging for a night. I don’t understand the mechanics of it — if it was just going to be announced in a morning press release, why not just announce it Saturday and avoid all the Southland hand-wringing? — but right now it doesn’t matter.

What’s matters most is, Los Angeles’ greatest living treasure will return for at least one more season.

“I found in the deep recesses of my mind that I did not want to sever the relationship,” Scully said.

That’s a relationship with the team that goes back 61 years, and every season since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958. That’s a 52-year relationship with Los Angeles. That’s iconic.

It has to be hard to walk away from. Maybe Vin was going to, too, and then at the eleventh hour changed his mind. Selfishly, you want him to be with the Dodgers forever. But he’s 82 and long ago earned the right to do whatever it is that makes him happy.

And happily for Dodgers fans, this still makes him very happy.

“I just love it so much,” he said. “It’s like a very good marriage. I found when push came to shove, I just did not want to leave. My wife understood it, God bless her. She said, ‘If you love it, do it.’ So I love it and I’m going to do it.”

So the Dodgers win. Their fans win. Baseball wins. All of Los Angeles wins.

And, for at least one more season, we can all exhale.

— Steve Dilbeck

Time to rest easy Dodger fans!

Set Your TiVOs: “Scully & Wooden” Airs Tonight

As the remembrances for the great John Wooden slowly wind down, there’s one final moment that’s worth catching, and it’s the 90-minute discussion that former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully had with columnist T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 2008 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. 

“Scully and Wooden…for the Kids” was a one-time benefit for the Mattel Children’s Hospital and covered a variety of topics, but as Jon Weisman noted back in 2008, the conversation did not focus on the expected topics of basketball and baseball, but rather reflected on their lives, as well as more philosophical topics such as life and death.  Getting Wooden and Scully to participate in such an even at such a time in their lives is really quite something, and I believe this is the first time this program has been rebroadcast.

According to T.J. Simers, the program is scheduled to air on Fox Sports West immediately following the conclusion of tonight’s Dodger game.   Truly a “must watch” for Angelinos and sports fans everywhere.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Vin Scully’s Live Tribute to Coach John Wooden

Rest in peace, Coach Wooden!


UPDATE: “Scully & Wooden…for the Kids” will be rebroadcast TONIGHT (Monday, June 7th), following the conclusion of the Dodgers-Cardinals game.  This is a “must watch” for Wooden fans everywhere.