Though some outlets are reporting Major League Baseball looking at a new downtown ballpark for the Los Angeles Dodgers should the franchise be seized, the truth is far more pedestrian — and no, there’s no replacement ballpark on the horizon.
SportsByBrooks reported that two sources had reported Major League Baseball had approached facilities giant AEG about building a new downtown Los Angeles ballpark adjacent to Staples Center and the LA Live entertainment complex. The response both from AEG and MLB was swiift: No, there’s been no talk at all about a new downtown ballpark, something confirmed by the most wired man in Los Angeles, Bill Shaiklin. Which makes sense: yes, there are some interesting legalities that could come down the pike in terms of ownership of the Dodgers vs. ownership of Dodger Stadium should MLB make a play to basically reposses the team, but no legal expert we’ve consulted thinks we’ll get to the point where MLB owns the team and is paying rent to Frank McCourt. MLB’s bylaws clearly allow the commissioner to seize the franchise and all related entities — and McCourt agreed to this provision when he bought the team.
After checking with a few insiders close to the Dodgers and some other industry types, here’s what we think really happened: there was at least one exploratory discussion between an AEG offficial and someone close to Major League Baseball about the possibility of AEG managing Dodger Stadium if MLB ended up with the team and the ballpark. That such a discussion would happen is not a surprise: facility-management companies approach potential customers every day. Most fans don’t realize how many meetings and discussions happen before a deal is struck, and how many meetings occur when nothing happens. There’s a load of money to be made off of Dodger Stadium; at one point McCourt proposed an entertainment district outside the Dodger Stadium games, and entertainment districts happen to be a specialty of AEG. After the gossip mill got done churning things and amplifying them a la Party Line, it became a tale where AEG was going to spend a billion dollars on a new ballpark. To that end, we think Brooks accurately reported on what he had been told — but what he was told wasn’t accurate. Talk of a new Dodger Stadium may be a short-term boost on the page-view front, but in practical terms, it’s such a nonstarter it’s not funny.
RELATED STORIES: Dodgers: Selig was unfair toward us; McCourt files for bankruptcy on Dodgers, Dodger Stadium; Selig: No to proposed Fox/Dodgers TV deal; McCourts reach tentative divorce agreement, allowing Frank to keep Dodgers — maybe; Could McCourt lose Dodgers and keep Dodger Stadium?; Gloves are off for McCourt: Selig has no right seizing Dodgers; Schieffer new Dodgers monitor; McCourt response to Selig: strong words, no lawsuit; Selig seizes Dodgers from McCourt; Stow still in critical condition; No arrests at Dodger Stadium with new security system in place; Dodgers scrap half-price drink promotion; All quiet at AT&T Park last night; Security tight for tonight at AT&T Park Dodgers-Giants tilt; Dodgers up security; will it be enough?; Giants fan severely beaten in Dodger Stadium parking lot; suspects sought; Selig shoots down Fox loan to Dodgers; Messy McCourt divorce takes another turn
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see features before they’re posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.