Over objections from Major League Baseball, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross approved the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodger Stadium and other assets to Guggenheim Baseball Management for $2.15 billion.
The objections to the sale rose from inconsistencies between the sales agreement and MLB rules, according to MLB attorney Thomas Lauria, who added that MLB didn’t want to kill the sale — just receive clarifications about some of the provisions. Gross addressed that issue by saying the involvement of mediator Joseph Farnan, who will work with Frank McCourt and Guggenheim on post-sale issues but would not be involved in baseball issues not part of the sales agreement.
According to Bill Shaikin, the court proceedings were surprisingly contentious; in a bankruptcy settlement overseen by a mediator, a judge is presented with a done deal, albeit with some issues that need final disposition. Let’s be honest here: MLB and McCourt have had major differences; McCourt has said he’s felt like he was forced out of baseball (and he’s right; he was after Bud Selig refused to approve a new broadcasting contract for the Dodgers that would have provided the franchise with badly needed capital) and Selig has disapproved of the way McCourt has run the team, putting virtually none of his own money into the Dodgers and taking out tens of millions at the same time the team was in danger of not making payroll. Both sides are right. But both sides will need to make peace: McCourt will still be involved peripherally with the Dodgers as the co-owner of the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium.
With the approval of the sale, you can put mark some dates on your calendar. Barring something unexpected, the sale should close April 30, with the Dodgers’ first home game under new ownership May 7 — with the San Francisco Giants in town.
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