Friday, May 28, 2010

On Chicago, and assorted thoughts.

Had a terrific time yesterday on my first trip to Wrigley Field. I don't know about you, but I love 1-0 games. I was floored by Ely's approach, but was less happy about only getting to see one Manny at-bat. Special thanks to Tom and Dominic Volini for hosting my brother, Chris, and I. 

When looking around for divorce news upon my return, I found this Bomani Jones item on ESPN. Discussing Jon Lovitz' and others' debts to the Dodgers, Jones writes:
And these guys thought they weren't going to have to pay up? Not even Richard Pryor in his prime -- let alone the 2010 model of Jon Lovitz -- was funny enough to joke his way out of this one. You'd have an easier time borrowing $100 from Eddy Curry than skipping out on a debt to McCourt at this point.
Even Mike Tyson thinks McCourt has a cash flow problem.
First of all, I dislike the premise; don't we want Frank (and the club) aggressively pursuing its accounts receivable? Isn't that a good thing? And what's more, if cash flow was ever an issue here, it would have happened in the offseason. You know, when people aren't buying walk-up tickets, food, beer, and merchandise.

I also disagree with the hyperbole; while we've spent a lot of time discussing the impact the divorce is having on team spending, there's been no suggestion Frank or the Dodgers have had any trouble paying bills as they come due. Indeed, if the rumors about silent partners with convertible bonds are true, Frank's been paying those guys as scheduled at the peril of losing some interest in the team.

I believe the divorce may be affecting spending, at least in the short term. I don't believe Frank (or the Dodgers) to be insolvent, however, and we're not at the point that characterizing them as such brings anything to the table. 

While the piece, which ran on ESPN's irreverent 'Page 2', might have been meant mostly in satire, I think the joke is too close to the truth to be all that funny. Many probably do think Frank and the Dodgers are indeed in serious financial trouble as a result of his obligations to Jamie and the debt-heavy way the team funds its operations. I'm not one of them. While the long-term future of the team is surely up in the air due to the divorce, I don't think the team is in any sort of immediate jeopardy. 

Taking on salary in a trade, though, would go a long way toward assuaging concerns. I'm just not sure this guy is the answer. And, of course, I would certainly not advocate making a move for the sake of making a move. That never ends well. Everything must be about advancing the cause of the team. All other concerns are secondary.


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