Small Wonders: The Frank McCourt cancer is gone at last

Dear Frank,

It pains me to write this.

Last year I wrote to you, pleading with you to give us back our Los Angeles Dodgers and show yourself out of town. On behalf of all Angelenos who bleed Dodger blue, I implored you to do what you knew in your money-loving, American Express Black Card, bankrupt heart was best, and make a few hundred million dollars for yourself and your ex-wife by selling our team.

And this week, you did it.*

So here’s the hard part.

(deep breath)

Thank you.

Give me a second while I hurl.

Thank you for selling our team and taking just the first step down the long road toward restoring the Dodgers to their former glory; for restoring them to a position of respect and dignity in the community you’ve called your luxury playground for only eight years, but the rest of us have called home since we were born.

Thank you for finally admitting that it was never about your love of the game, your respect for this storied franchise, or your desire to give fans something worthy of the overpriced tickets, hot dogs and beer we get mugged for at the stadium. It was always about money for you.

Thank you for knowing when enough is enough, and for making Bud Selig look like the wisest man in baseball. I didn’t know that was possible.

I have to hand it to you, though. On a business level, you did quite nicely for yourself. While most of us scoffed at the $1.5 billion asking price, you ended up with a reported sale of $2 billion. Not bad for a team you cooked books and borrowed only $430 million to buy.

Maybe $2 billion is enough to cover your so-called investment, your divorce settlement, and the debt you incurred driving the team into bankruptcy, as well as continuing to pay Manny Ramirez’s salary while he plays for the Oakland A’s, and still have a handsome chunk left over for yourself.

But to be frank, I don’t want to know what your profit will be. Money at this level over a game is the height of absurdity. It makes me angry to know that you profited from all this, and I am doing my best to put your tenure behind me and get back to rooting for my team.

I missed doing that last year. You may have noticed the empty seats in the stands. I have a feeling they’ll be full again this year.

Smart move choosing Magic and company (i.e. the Guggenheim, Kasten and Johnson group) as new owners. Obviously they had the money, but you knew we wanted an L.A. hero to be the new face of the Dodgers, and he comes with big-buck investors behind him. Honestly, I don’t expect Magic to stick around more than about five years. But I’m glad he’s on board to see you off.

I know things will change at Chavez Ravine. New ownership means new philosophies and strategies, some of which we may not like. I know that very soon our beloved Dodger Stadium will undergo “creative” changes meant to enhance our experience and increase profits.

Though I already hear cries of dissent and dismay, I am preparing myself for the day naming rights get sold and we’ll be told to call Dodger Stadium “Union 76 Stadium,” “Kardashian Kommons” or “Facebook Field.”

I'm ready. So long as we don’t have to call it property of Frank McCourt.

We know that new ownership doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing. After all, we celebrated when you bought the team from Fox. But we’ll take our chances with Magic for now.

The asterisk above is for this: I know you’re not really going anywhere. Guys like you don't walk away when they smell money left on the table. The small print in all the news stories shows that you retain rights to a choice piece of Chavez Ravine for “future development.”

You’ll want to build condos or an entertainment center in the parking lot overlooking the City of Angels; or erect one of your trademark 10-story parking structures blocking our view of “Think Blue.”

So I am wary.

But spring is in the air, and a lot of us just got a little more excited about the upcoming season.

So thank you, Frank, for performing life-saving surgery upon this suffering team of ours and removing the cancer that was eating it alive.

Namely, you.

PATRICK CANEDAY is still, and always will be, a Dodger fan. Reach him at patrickcaneday@gmail.com. Friend him on Facebook. Read more at www.patrickcaneday.com.

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