Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Of deadline acquisitions, flyovers, and mints.

Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts wonders how Frank McCourt might try to win his way back into the fans' good graces should he prevail in the spring's litigation. Jon suggests:

[I]f that happens, what do you think are the odds that Frank (via his minions and Mannions) tries to repair his relationship with the fans with a grand gesture in the summer of 2010? And what would that grand gesture be?  A trade deadline acquisition? (I probably think that's more likely than most people do.) A Navy flyover? Mints?
The answer, in my mind, is that winning is the closest thing in sports to a true panacea; a cure-all. So what does that mean in mid-June? Well, it could certainly mean a splashy trade. It could also mean figuring out a way to keep Kemp in the fold long-term. It could also mean, very quietly, making a huge dent in the organization's debt load. 

Look, we want the Loge level renovations to be completed. Portable concession stands aren't the answer. But Dodger Stadium isn't like everywhere else. Sunset at Chavez Ravine makes up for the lack of some amenities, you know? What we want is a healthy organization.

The dark side of things is that even a win for Frank is something of a loss. He's out a couple hundred million bucks of property, and his personal income is reportedly capped as a term of the private placement. I'm not sure that prevailing on the post-nup issue is going to leave him feeling particularly generous.

What's more, it's clear that Frank's focusing his efforts on developing the Chavez Ravine acreage. Because he's handcuffed on the TV issue and can't really mess with Dodger Stadium, Frank's search for additional revenue streams is likely to lead to commercialization of the space around the ballpark. How do you all feel about this?

Personally, I like the oasis-like feel of Dodger Stadium. I don't need restaurants and shopping and entertainment. As a Los Angeles ex-pat, I'm struck every time I fly in by how long you're over developed land before you touch down. It's a solid 45 minutes. I like that going to Dodger games feels like an opportunity to breathe a little.

Also, at The Hardball Times, I ran the first part of a three-part series on fan happiness. The Dodgers didn't make the first tier.


  1. +1 Say NO to turning DS into a theme park! Our only hope is a new owner. I know the rich people come first, but it has really grinded my gears that every other Upper Deck i've been to in the state has LCD HDTVs while ours don't! That's only a few grand, so that on top of learning he gave away a prospect instead of paying Casey Blake an extra 2-3M and not paying Cliff Lee concinved me he really is Mr. McCheap.

  2. All the parking lots around Dodger Stadium - the first thing you see - are very ugly, like parking lots always are. I wouldn't mind if Frank wanted to develop the parking lots, putting up multi-story structures; and a theme park in whatever is left over. Leave the rest of it alone, aside from a Cantor's at Loge level.

  3. Frank McCourt isn't going to develop "Dogertown" or go ahead with "Next 50" because he doesn't have the money, he doesn't have the financing, and he isn't going to get any commercial property developers or property management or lease management companies interested in his "dream".

    If you look at McCourt's history in Boston with his Seaport District properties of 23-24 acres. He never got far from the presentation phase. He had constant battles with the Pritzkers who had the Fan Pier properties adjacent to the McCourts. Frank McCourt had constant battles with the City of Boston, who never saw eye to eye on zoning.

    Frank like many Real Estate Developers, is going with the business plan with leveraged debt to finance the development of "Next 50", and pray that the rents and year around parking will pay well after the project is done..

    The last reason why Frank McCourt won't develop the 300 acres that he owns in Chavez Ravine. He never played well with other. There is no way he is going to get real estate partners to develop his "Next 50" project..