MLB takes over operation of LA Dodgers

Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to a homerun against the St Louis Cardinals. (April 17, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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The Mets' financial troubles are well known, and it's possible that the team someday may be taken over by Major League Baseball, as occurred to the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday.

But MLB's actions on the Dodgers reflect once more the advantage that Mets ownership has over now-deposed owner Frank McCourt: a strong relationship with Bud Selig.

The commissioner didn't simply announce a change in power on the Dodgers; an MLB-appointed representative (to be announced shortly) will run the club's day-to-day operations. In a statement, Selig ripped into McCourt in a way he simply would never do to Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, his longtime friend and ally.

"I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball,'' the statement read, in part. "My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership.

"It's hard to imagine it would happen somewhere like the Dodgers, but there's crazy stuff going on everywhere," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "You're seeing monster major banks going down, so obviously it can happen."

As first reported by SI.com, Selig was extremely annoyed to read of McCourt's extensive spending on personal luxuries -- as detailed in the divorce trial of Frank and Jamie McCourt -- while the Dodgers were cutting payroll. Selig refused to allow McCourt to take a loan from Fox that would've given the owner financial breathing room, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

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The Mets, on the other hand, received a $25-million loan from MLB in November. Selig has spoken of his relationship with Wilpon and expressed optimism, albeit vaguely, that the Wilpons and Saul Katz can make it through their current travails.

The Mets are looking to sell a non-controlling interest so that they can get a cash infusion. However, doubts persist -- in the baseball and business world -- 1) that a party will be willing to pay some $200 million without any sort of juice, and 2) whether the Wilpons and Katz, facing a lawsuit from Bernard Madoff trustee Irving Picard, could survive long term even with such a bailout.

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