A collective sigh of relief could be heard all throughout the Los Angeles area on Tuesday night as embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt finally agreed to sell the team. Major League Baseball says that this is an irrevocable commitment, which means no backing out for McCourt. If the nightmare is truly over, who will end up buying (or more importantly, who will be allowed to buy) the Dodgers?
In an email to espnlosangeles.com on Wednesday morning, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said: "It all comes down to price. It's important to have more than enough money to pay players and invest in the organization."
Well, that's refreshing. Frank McCourt didn't even have enough cash to buy the team in the first place.
More than enough money to pay players and invest in the organization? Not even an afterthought for McCourt. Remember when he couldn't even afford to pay Vin Scully?
Mark Cuban is a whole different animal. According to Mavericks fans, not only does he have the money, he has something far more important in an owner. Passion. Even fans of other teams can clearly see this.
Message boards and comment sections of news articles across the Internet are filled with Dodger fans begging for Cuban to step in and "save the team." Rival fans are begging equally hard for it not to happen because they say it will make the Dodgers a consistent contender. Since baseball fans seem to agree that Cuban would be great for one of the most storied franchises in baseball, it would follow that he would be good for baseball itself. If he makes the highest bid, this is an obvious no-brainer, right?
Unfortunately, not necessarily on commissioner Bud Selig's watch.
Mark Cuban has tried, unsuccessfully, to buy both the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers in the past. MLB (read: Selig) cleared Cuban to participate in the bankruptcy auction for the Rangers, but not as a partner who would have a controlling interest. That's no surprise to anyone who has followed the "illustrious" career of one Allan Huber "Bud" Selig.
Cuban is known for heavily criticizing refs and speaking his mind about rival teams and players. He's been fined several times by NBA commish David Stern. We already established that he has passion, so that's to be expected. Couldn't baseball use a little of that to start to remove some of the crusty "good ol' boy" image that is clearly hurting the sport?
Not in Bud Selig's baseball. He's proven time and time again that no one will question his authority—not players, not owners, not even fans.
This is "his" league.
You play by his rules or you don't get invited to the party. Did he make a huge mistake in approving Frank McCourt as an owner, even though he was breaking his own rules on prospective owners' financial stability? Without question. Would Mark Cuban be good for the storied franchise that Selig had a hand in dragging through the mud because of his mistake? Most baseball fans seem to say yes. Will it happen? I hate to say it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Fortunately for Dodger fans, there are other exciting options. An investment group led by former Dodger greats Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser is preparing a proposal. The team should be in good hands there. Even former owner Peter O'Malley is interested. The Dodgers back in O'Malley hands? Could it get better than that for a Dodger fan? Possibly (with Cuban), but who knows?
I, for one, highly doubt that Bud Selig will open the door for us to ever find out.
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