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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Execs Fired as McCourt Reorganizes Public Face of Dodgers
2005-04-01 16:58
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Tim Brown of the Times has the breaking story:

Dodger owner Frank McCourt fired two high-ranking executives and began the restructuring of the organization's top end this afternoon after becoming frustrated by what he said were numerous communications failures, both within the organization and with the public.

Team management was notified during a noon meeting at Dodger Stadium that McCourt's wife, Jamie, would assume responsibility for all business operations, Chief Operating Officer Marty Greenspun would oversee the marketing department, and that Lon Rosen, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, and Gary Miereanu, vice president of communications, would be let go. ...

As part of the general reorganization, McCourt promoted his 23-year-old son, Drew, to director of marketing, and will hire two new senior vice presidents, for marketing and communications. ...

"They certainly made some contributions while they were here," McCourt said of Rosen and Miereanu. "I wish them the best. But we're making the changes to address the problems we have. It's no secret we've had some issues in terms of communicating effectively. I'm taking the steps to address that. I'm taking full responsibility for it.

I've certainly been critical of the Dodgers' public personna under McCourt, but that predates the hiring of Miereanu. (Full disclosure: As some of you may know, Miereanu is a friend.) In fact, my criticisms recurred during McCourt's entire tenure, until about six weeks ago, when McCourt showed his first sign of humility or reflection. Around that time, the Dodgers contracted with an outside consultant, Sitrick and Co., "to address the organization's communication deficiencies," as Brown points out.

There are two principal threads in Brown's article: 1) McCourt feels that the positives of what he and his staff have done were not being communicated effectively, and 2) phone calls were not being returned.

It's a little hard for me to imagine that McCourt doesn't bear some personal responsibility for at least the first of those complaints, however little he appears to be taking. (Is "taking full responsibility" really taking full responsibility when you fire people but don't acknowledge any misbehavior of your own? Isn't there a difference between saying "other people made mistakes" and "I made mistakes?")

Of course, McCourt's overall goal to "share our thinking" with the fans is admirable. If, somehow, these firings allow him to do this, than Miereanu will have been sacrificed for a good cause. John Olguin, the director of public relations who with Miereanu helped me get Thursday's interview with Paul DePodesta, gets the promotion to to vice president of public relations.

But if the problem is higher than Miereanu, then ... what a waste.

The other question is that with Rosen gone, is Nancy Bea Hefley playing a jig?

Update: Rob McMillin has some interesting comments at 6-4-2:

So these changes give us no more information about the notoriously opaque Frank McCourt than we had before. And I really don't know -- and in some ways, don't even care -- how to evaluate them, so long as they don't take away from my enjoyment of the game on the field and in the park. The glass half-full says the Dodgers have lost a "marketing pinhead", and thus are better off; the glass half-empty says the Dodgers have accumulated a 23-year-old who inherited the job of marketing director by virtue of winning the genetic lottery. This latter feeds my insecurity about the club's long term ability to function; on the other hand, he has grownup supervision, and in any case, how much can the kid screw up? Giving out leftover Adrian Beltre bobbleheads? Handing out bats and complimentary hip flasks of Jack Daniels at a Giants/Dodgers game? For once, color me perversely optimistic on the overhaul.

I'm not sure how McMillin gets to the optimistic conclusion, perverse as it may be - because clearly if Lon Rosen can be a negative, so can Drew McCourt. But who knows? I certainly agree with McMillin's first 3 1/2 sentences.

Comments
2005-04-01 17:27:08
1.   scareduck
What in the sweet-lovin'-name-of-Jesus does Drew McCourt know about marketing?

Frank seems to be expecting everyone to comprehend the Dodgers' offseason moves here and understand just how brilliant they were immediately. (That is, assuming you think the Dodgers are above criticism, which I, for one, do not.) DePodesta plays some role in this, and I'm not certain he doesn't have a hand in this purge, indirectly via the signings mentioned in the article.

I sure hope they bring back Nancy Bea.

As you may know, my nose for disaster tends toward hair-triggery, and so I see horrors where none may in fact exist. I'm going to see a very funny play tonight, and maybe in the morning I can write something sensible about this change.

2005-04-01 17:33:24
2.   DXMachina
I don't know anything about any of the folks involved, but the fact that McCourt put both his wife and (especially) his 23 year-old son into high ranking positions really raises a red flag for me.

I agree with you that McCourt has to bear some of the responsibility for poor communications himself. Effective leaders usually don't have many problems having their message get through.

2005-04-01 17:49:45
3.   gvette
The bad news for the surviving Dodger execs is that the McCourts have more sons who will probably need jobs in the near future.

On the other hand, it's simply bad business to alienate your season ticketholders, be it that Plaschke sob story who is now four rows from the field, or our own Howard Fox. Maybe Drew's first job is to properly run a customer service phone bank.

Nepotism in sports is alive and well, just ask Joe Garagiola Jr, the Bucks, the Careys ,the Steinbrenners, and the Buss family.

2005-04-01 18:23:33
4.   Sam DC
So, Howard, do you have your tickets yet?
2005-04-01 18:27:20
5.   Screwgie
"This isn't simply a response to a piece of bad publicity or some bad press."

I think it is.

I'm glad they're getting rid of Rosen. The handling of the whole Ross Porter thing really put me off. Furthermore, McCourt's 23 year old son may be the right man for the job, but I hardly think hiring someone so young and experienced over more seasoned front office choices can be considered good publicity. Isn't that what this is all about?

2005-04-01 18:28:17
6.   Tommy Naccarato
April Fools?

If not, Sayonara Lon Rosen--you won't be missed! (Yes, I'm bitter about the lack of a return phone call as promised by his assistant. [secretary])

The hiring of Drew McCourt as the V.P. of Marketing proves that this organization is falling-off of a cliff fast.

Peter O'Malley, how could you allowed this to happen? Your Father is turning in his grave!

2005-04-01 18:33:52
7.   Screwgie
"McCourt's 23 year old son may be the right man for the job"

I meant that with all the sarcasm I could muster, by the way.

2005-04-01 18:40:39
8.   corey
Come on, people. You cannot be complaining about the new Director of Marketing. McCourt could name his dog Director of Marketing and I couldn't care less. Who was the Director of Marketing in '88? Oh, you don't know? I really don't think it mattered. As long as Depo is at the helm of the baseball decisions, everything will be just fine.
2005-04-01 18:48:39
9.   fernandomania
If I owned a major league team there wouldn't be one unemployed person in my family (or among my friends). This kind of thing is the prerogative of the owner of a business worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Let's at least give Drew and Jamie a chance to screw it up themselves before we go bashing these moves.
2005-04-01 18:51:19
10.   Dr Love
"Come on, people. You cannot be complaining about the new Director of Marketing."

I agree except the Director of Marketing in 1988 wasn't Walter O'Malley's 23 year old son. It's not that he is hiring his son--it's that he's hiring a totally inexperienced son. If Drew McCourt was 32 and worked his way up to some degree (as Peter O'Malley did), that would be one thing. But giving an exec job to a kid in college (at least, he's of college age), that's different.

2005-04-01 19:40:30
11.   Jim Hitchcock
There's really nothing wrong with nepotism...as long as you keep it in the family.

Now, if DePo's projections go to heck in a handbasket...then I'm gonna be Pyth'd.

2005-04-01 20:07:45
12.   Dodgerkid
Didn't McCourt personally hire Rosen? I figured this move would come eventually. Is this the kid who was a rocket scientist at MIT?
2005-04-01 20:17:41
13.   JoeFerguson
Wasn't Lon Rosen the guy responsible for releasing Ross Porter and hiring the current buncha monkeys who couldn't hold a candle to Porter?

It won't happen, but I would be a Drew McCourt fan if he corrected the problem.

P.S. Anybody else remember the Dodger-Card game late in the season of 2004 in which Drew McCourt's birthday was celebrated on the Dodger Scoreboard about 10+ different times? Maybe bobble-head McCourt Family dolls are next.

2005-04-01 20:20:28
14.   Jim Hitchcock
Yep, Rosen's the one.

"Maybe bobble-head McCourt Family dolls are next."

As long a they don't do commercials...

2005-04-01 22:12:59
15.   molokai
Good to see that McCourt recognized he hired the wrong man for the job (Rosen)and took care of it.

For the record Peter O'Malley took the helm of the Dodgers at the ripe old age of 31 in 1970. Not 23, but were talking the big job not some VP of Marketing. Drew has about 8 years to work his way to the top.

2005-04-01 22:46:10
16.   the OZ
Drew gets to pad his resume with a Director-level executive position for one year, maybe two, then it's time to apply to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton Business School.
2005-04-02 08:11:51
17.   Howard Fox
Thanks for asking. They overnighted tickets and parking for the Angels games and say they will get my tickets to me next week for the season.

I am not going to take responsibility for the two execs being fired, but I wrote a couple of blistering emails to various personnel at the Dodgers and finally got a return phone call. Apparently, I accidentally got one of the emails to the right person,, cause we were told it made the rounds and that people were not pleased with the way we were treated. Not that I care about the inefficiencies of their internal workings, as they say, bullshit walks...

They hire consultants to review operations and fire the VPs while making no changes to operations. They outsource their ticket printing operations to a company in Canada instead of doing it inhouse.

But they still don't get it. Either you run your business offering pure and simple customer service...its all about keeping the customer satisfied...or...you don't give a shit and here we are, take it or leave it...but you can't straddle the middle, it's one or the other...

And it's not only about fielding a quality team on the field, I have been a die hard since 1959, so I have seen a lot of good and bad. They have always thrived on customer service thru the years and that always made the Dodger Stadium experience great, even when the team sucked.

But then again....never mind....

2005-04-02 09:58:19
18.   Bob Timmermann
Howard,
Maybe you were the straw that broke the camel's back. Somebody had to be.

Or maybe Drew and Jamie were bored.

2005-04-02 10:12:52
19.   Howard Fox
I'd love to take the credit for shaking things up, but I suspect boredom was more like it...
2005-04-02 10:31:45
20.   Bob Timmermann
I remember working in my father's business. It taught me important lessons about life.

Such as the fact that I didn't want to run a convenience store for a living. And my father must have had a lot of patience to show up there every day.

2005-04-02 11:02:00
21.   Robert Fiore
Me, for the last eight months: LON ROSEN MUST GO! LON ROSEN MUST GO!

Me, today: LON ROSEN HAS GONE!

While the victory parade is getting organized, I must say that the tone the Dodgers have projected for the last year has been prevarication. That is, something unpopular happens, and the word goes out from Dodgerdom that Frank McCourt has nothing to do with it, even though this hardly seems likely.

And I'm wondering, are they now looking for the phone number of that renowned communications guy they fired before last season?

2005-04-02 18:04:10
22.   Tommy Naccarato
Howard,
I'm both dying to hear what happened, and sorry I missed-it when you originally shared the story.

Were you a victim like the guy in the Plaschke article whose had his seats for years?

2005-04-02 20:27:17
23.   Todd
Well if Rosen is the one responsible for the Ross (Porter) debacle, he deserves to go. That and, well, guys like Cora, Hernandez not being kept up-to-date on what's going on with them. I don't think he's necessarily responsible for all the poor communication with them, but he certainly dropped the ball in dealing with Ross. Who knows, maybe this son will do a good job. If we win, I certainly won't care.
2005-04-03 19:24:48
24.   JohnBoy
I don't know Lou Rosen from Lou Ferrigno, perhaps because I can no longer afford season tickets. I do know Gary Miereanu and his firing hit me hard. He is a class act, respected by all with whom he comes in contact, and the lone bright spot since the McCourts took over in L.A. He never even got a chance. The Dodgers had been loyal friends to our own community youth organization since the O'Malley family befriended us back in 1980s. Even with Fox at the helm, the highly respected Derrick Hall kept us, and others like us, on the Dodger radar screen. Since he departed, only Gary had kept a hand on the community that pays to see a McCourt real-estate aquisition that he masquerades as a team and sport he deeply cares about. Looks like Frank and Jamie are more interested in damage control and it's a good thing too. They'll spend most of this year focusing on that rather than a competitive ballclub.
2005-04-03 19:38:11
25.   JohnBoy
It would be more apropos to say I don't know "Lon" Rosen from Lon Chaney... which proves my point about Lou - I mean Lon.
2005-04-04 11:19:51
26.   ElysianPark62
I was glad to see Lon Rosen go. Not only did he let Ross Porter go in a shameful fashion and cut down on Nancy Bea Hefley's music, he instituted the use of more annoying "music" (rap, pop), idiotic contests, and movie previews they routinely show. His reason? "That is the way baseball is going. That is what our fans want to see."

This is part of what I call the homogenization of baseball. Dodger Stadium does not provide the unique experience it once did. That was part of my pride in being a Dodger fan.

My family has held season tickets since 1962, and I don't recall being asked what I wanted to hear/see. If I want to hear Ashlee Simpson embarrass herself "singing," I can tune into the radio. BTW, I am in my 30's and enjoy all kinds of music (except rap), but I don't want to be blasted out at a game.

Rosen also broached the topic of a mascot, which fortunately fell by the wayside.
Good grief. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Rosen.

2005-04-04 22:23:21
27.   RahRah
In an LA Times article, they state that DePodesto was the one that messed up the Beltre deal because he did not return his manager's urgent phone call. Perhaps he should have been the one that was fired...since not returning phone calls was one of McCourt's reasons for firing Rosen and Miereanu.

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