The Los Angeles Times reported that there is an offer on the table to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for 1.2 billion dollars; roughly 400 million above what Forbes Magazine deems the franchise is worth. What makes this offer so amazing is that A) it's all in cash and B) it's from the Chinese Government.
The "group" looking to buy the beleaguered team is headed by local businessman Bill Burke, founder of the Los Angeles Marathon. He is being backed by "Certain state-owned investment institutions of the People's Republic of China." State-owned. The government.
As amazing as this is, what makes it more amazing is that I just finished listening to a local sports radio call in show and the majority of fans would rather have the Chinese government run the Dodgers than current owner Frank McCourt. What makes this even more amazing is that even though we're talking about 1.2 billion (with a B!) dollars, the clueless McCourt would only pocket about 200 million after paying the enormous debts he's run up, alimony, lawyers fees and a cash settlement to his wife in the now most expensive divorce case in United States history.
What makes this even more amazing still is that Major League Baseball might take this offer into consideration, however they absolutely refuse to even entertain the thought of United States citizen Mark Cuban buying the team. MLB would rather do business with the Chinese than Cuban!
To say that McCourt has run the Dodgers into the ground is an understatement. Yesterday the Dodgers had a "Businessman's Special," a midweek day game against the San Diego Padres. In years past these midweek games were automatic sellouts. Yesterday the teams played to a practically empty Dodger Stadium. Although the tickets-sold count was around 24,000, only about 8,000 humans showed up for the game on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. Sixteen thousand people made the conscious decision to eat the cost of their tickets rather than pay for parking and food and give more money to McCourt. This is not only the smallest crowd of the year for the Dodgers who used to lead the league in attendance year in and year out, but also the smallest crowd ever in Dodger history.
Perhaps the Chinese Government would put more money into free agency so the Dodgers can field a competitive team. Maybe they'll replace the fabled Dodger Dogs with wonton soup. Their triple A minor league team will be the Peking Ducks. (The Dodger bats are so anemic, it already seems like they're using chopsticks instead of bats.) One thing is sure, there will be more of a security presence at Dodger Stadium, thus discouraging cretins like the fans who beat Giant fan Bryan Stow within an inch of his life in the parking lot on opening day. (McCourt dumped the security because he needed all the cash he could get his hands on to pay for his lawyers in the never-ending divorce case.)
This is what this once proud franchise has become under the stewardship of the McCourts. Owning the Dodgers used to be a license to print money. Going to see a Dodger game used to be one of the most enjoyable sporting experiences in America. Frank and Jamie McCourt have killed baseball in Los Angeles with their greed and incompetence and now they'll need the Chinese government to bail them out. What a mess. What a disgrace.
As Casey Stengel used to say, "Amazing, amazing, amazing!"