Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig calls the Los Angeles Dodgers’ turbulent ownership situation ”historic,” and acknowledges that the league has stepped in to help financially troubled teams in the past.
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But for now, Selig is dodging speculation that Major League Baseball will have to help one of its flagship clubs meet upcoming payroll obligations.
”We’ve moved in in other places,” Selig said Friday, as he prepared to give a commencement speech to students at the Medical College of Wisconsin. ”This is historic. But I don’t really have anything else to say.”
Selig said he understands that Dodgers fans are concerned about the state of the club, and reassured them that MLB is doing what’s necessary to provide stability until a long-term solution is found.
”We’ve done what we have to do up to this point, and there’s no other comment,” Selig said.
Last month, Selig appointed former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer to oversee the Dodgers after questions arose about the team’s finances. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife are engaged in a court fight that leaves the team’s future in limbo.
Frank McCourt wants to keep the team, saying in various media interviews that MLB should approve a long-term television deal with Fox which could be worth more than $3 billion. He took out a $30 million loan from Fox earlier this year to keep the team afloat.
Ex-wife Jamie McCourt on Thursday asked a judge to order the sale of the team, saying her ex-husband has brought one of baseball’s most storied franchises to the ”brink of financial ruin.” Jamie McCourt, who filed for divorce in 2009, is the team’s former CEO.
There are concerns that Frank McCourt may not be able to make the team’s end-of-May player payroll.
A June 22 hearing has been scheduled in front of Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon, who will hear arguments about why he should order the sale of the team. Gordon presided over the former couple’s divorce trial and cleared the way for Jamie McCourt to seek half the team.
Despite having to deal with the Dodgers’ ongoing financial turbulence, Selig said he was looking forward to delivering his speech to graduates on Friday afternoon. Selig hoped to present an optimistic message amid tough economic times.
”I have to believe that it’s also a time of great opportunity, a time of great hope,” Selig said. ”They’re well-educated, graduating from a great institution, and that’s what I’m going to try to communicate.”