In 2004 as I was driving home from work while listening to the press conference that introduced Frank McCourt as the new owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I pulled the car over and sat for 20 minutes listening to this out-of-towner speak about our beloved franchise and its history. To me, this press conference was more important than any State of the Union address the President could ever give because leading up to that moment, every media report, local and national, every talking head on the radio, and any blogger with a keyboard painted this guy to be poor, evil, and incompetent. After all, that same off season the Dodgers had a chance to sign the biggest free agent on the market, Vladimir Guerrero, but couldn’t because his salary wouldn’t have worked for the financials the accountants drew up to make the sale work and as a result, Vlad went to our hated rivals?? (That’s another blog) the Angels, who themselves just months before introduced their new owner who was the complete opposite of McCourt. There were reports that he would cut the payroll, turn Chavez Ravine into a mini mall with condos, move Dodger Stadium downtown or move the entire team to Boston leaving us with nothing but memories. According to media reports McCourt was to be our version of Brooklyn’s Walter O’Malley. Fast forward to the present and not only is the payroll higher, Chavez Ravine has no condos, Dodgers Stadium is still standing, and the team still calls Los Angeles home. McCourt has embraced the city and made several charitable contributions while also creating the Dodgers very own foundation, Think Cure. He continues to honor the rich history of this franchise by bringing old legends back and having special events celebrating key moments in its past. Don’t get me wrong, McCourt has made his share of blunders and has had a quick turn around in personnel but he is nothing like the person he was painted to be back in 2004.
I bring this all up because last week I read a story how LAUSD wasn’t going to be able to have its championship games at venues like Dodgers Stadium and the Coliseum because due to budget cuts they couldn’t afford to pay the rent fee. I immediately said to myslef, “McCourt won’t allow it he’ll find a way of making it happen”. Sure enough in today’s Dodgers report in the LA Times, I read this:
Proposed budget cuts affecting the Los Angeles Unified School District could deprive the district of the money it needs to rent facilities such as the Coliseum, Sports Arena and Dodger Stadium for City Section championship games. However, the Dodgers and chief operating officer Dennis Mannion, whose responsibilities include stadium operations, said Wednesday they are looking for a way to solve the problem regarding their facility, including the possibility of allowing the district to use the stadium rent-free.
Not bad for a poor, evil, incompetent out-of-towner.