Selig, McCourt meet; no timetable on TV deal
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month.
Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office. Selig last month installed former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer as the Dodgers’ monitor, and Schieffer must approve any expense of $5,000 or more.
Baseball officials believe the Dodgers don’t have enough cash to make their end-of-May payroll. McCourt has said the television deal would give the club about $300 million up front.
“Nobody is using the Dean Smith four-corner offense. We’re trying to move as fast as possible,” Selig said Thursday.
Since becoming commissioner in 1992, Selig has become known for moving slowly on most matters, trying to build consensus. Baseball’s law firm and staff are examining the Dodgers’ finances since McCourt bought the franchise in 2004, including allegations that came out during McCourt’s divorce trial during the offseason that he and wife Jamie McCourt used the team to finance a lavish lifestyle.
If McCourt is unable to make payroll, MLB would step in and pay the players, who earn about $8.25 million twice a month. Baseball might then start the process of trying to force a sale.
“We’ve done this with a lot of thought, very carefully, painstaking even in the selection of Tom Schieffer, who I have great faith in,” Selig said. “Let’s just say we’re very comfortable where we are.”
While it appears baseball is content to let McCourt run out of cash and start the sale process, Selig denied baseball has made any decisions.
“We wouldn’t have to go through all this work if it were predetermined,” he said. “We’re doing this because I think it’s the right thing to do.”
McCourt has criticized Selig for not approving the television deal, which the team first presented in various forms last year. McCourt took a $30 million loan from Fox earlier this year.
“I gave up worrying about owners complaining about 18 years ago,” Selig said.
Also at the meetings, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan was approved as the controlling owner of the Texas Rangers.
Chuck Greenberg and Ryan led the group that bought the team from Tom Hicks last August in a deal valued at $590 million. Greenberg became chief executive officer, then left on March 11 and sold his ownership stake.
Ryan, the team president since February 2008, took over as CEO