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Ross Newhan Is Playing Ping-Pong With My Brain
2004-01-20 08:19
by Jon Weisman

The Frank McCourt camp has its rally cap on today, and the Times has the latest. Here are the major grimaces:

Although Broad's emergence has provided baseball with a viable alternative a person who is highly respected in the community and requires no credit check the timing of his letter, coming late in the process, has almost seemed to increase support for McCourt.

What are we, seven years old? Is this some Afterschool Special where we're supposed to stick with the 98-pound weakling to defend our honor? Must our attitude toward alternative bids for the Dodgers be "better never than late?"

On Monday, a high-ranking baseball official said McCourt was being "prejudged unfairly" by Los Angeles media, which has raised questions about his leveraged proposal and operating resources if approved.

The media is reporting the facts of McCourt's bid. If anything, the media has refrained from prejudging McCourt - they've been almost silent on what would happen if his bid succeeds. They've only gone as far as to calculate from the debt he would be carrying that he'd have trouble making ends meet. More likely, it's baseball that would be unfairly prejudging McCourt if they approve him.

The official said reports that he has had his "fingerprints all over the Dodgers' off-season operation" are not true.

Baseball insiders have said on the record that the Dodger payroll is being frozen if not cut, as a result of the status of McCourt's ownership bid. And up to now, no one has denied that the tenuous state of McCourt's bid kiboshed the Dodgers' pursuit of Vladimir Guerrero.

"I know the deadline is Jan. 31, but it could be Feb. 10 or March 4. If it's a delay caused by baseball requiring certain clarifications, I can't imagine there'd be a problem getting an extension."

That's a quote from an unnamed MLB owner. Next to Broad's proposed alternative, the best thing Dodger fans have had going for them during McCourt's evaluation process has been the deadline a week from Saturday. How fun will this be if this is still dragging on by the time pitchers and catchers report to Vero Beach?

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