In a scene perhaps never to be seen again, Frank McCourt sits in his box seat at Dodger Stadium in April 2011. On the first day of November, MLB and McCourt had agreed to sell the Dodgers, with the club to be auctioned off in bankruptcy court. The franchise, which would include the team, Dodger Stadium and its surrounding parking lots, reportedly could fetch two or three times the $421 million Frank and Jamie McCourt paid in 2004.
A bumpy ride
Jamie and Frank McCourt were certainly all smiles when they purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. In fact, the only thing bigger than their grins may have been the hopes of Dodgers fans. In the nearly eight-year reign of the McCourts, which may soon come to an end with the agreement between Frank McCourt and MLB to auction off the franchise, there have been plenty of peaks and valleys, for fans and owners alike. Here are the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows of the McCourt era.
Jan. 29, 2004
When you take over the Los Angeles Dodgers, there may be no better way to make a first impression than to pose with iconic manager Tommy Lasorda at your introductory news conference. That is exactly what Jamie and Frank McCourt did. Of course, it did not take long for Angelenos to demand something long missing from Chavez Ravine: on-field success.
Oct. 2, 2004
And it did not take long for that success to arrive. Steve Finley capped the first regular season of the McCourt era — and earned quite a footnote in Dodgers history — with a walk-off grand slam against the hated Giants on the penultimate day of the season. Not only did it cap an amazing comeback, but it also gave the Dodgers their first NL West title in nine seasons and their first playoff appearance since 1996.
July 31, 2008
Perhaps no player epitomizes the McCourt era better than Manny Ramirez. Seldom can moves truly alter the course of a franchise. And perhaps more seldom can one player become the most loved and most loathed by a team's fans within a year. But that is exactly what happened with one mega-deal. After Ramirez arrived in Los Angeles in 2008, he went on one of the greatest tears in MLB history. Fifty-three games, 17 homers, 53 RBI, a .396 average, leading to the Dodgers' first postseason victory since Kirk Gibson was limping around the bases pumping his fist. In the offseason, the Dodgers built ticket packages around their superstar and anointed left field "Mannywood." But it all came crashing down in May 2009, when Ramirez was suspended 50 games for a positive drug test. He was never the same player and was waived by the Dodgers in August 2010.
Oct. 4, 2008
Then-budding superstar Matt Kemp and Frank McCourt took the Dodger Stadium field to celebrate the franchise's first postseason series victory since the 1988 World Series. In sweeping the Cubs in three games, the Dodgers appeared to usher in a new era in the team's history. But five games later, the Dodgers were eliminated by the Phillies in the NLCS and, after a repeat in the 2009 NLCS, the magic was gone.
Oct. 14, 2009
A day before the Dodgers began their NLCS against the Phillies, Frank and Jamie McCourt filed for divorce after 30 years of marriage. The proceedings would span a little more than two years, during which the Dodgers not only failed to make the playoffs but also never were much of a contender.
March 31, 2011
In one of the darkest moments in Dodgers history, Giants fan Bryan Stow (pictured with his children) was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the Dodgers' Opening Day victory over San Francisco. Stow survived but was hospitalized for more than six months and is currently in a rehab facility. The incident also led to increased scrutiny of the McCourts and increased security at Dodger Stadium.
June 27, 2011
The question of either of the McCourts' ability to maintain ownership of the Dodgers heated up over the summer with the filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. It also essentially marked the end of the owners' box at Dodger Stadium being populated by the owners. The case is still pending in court, but an agreement to sell the team could bring the case to its close.