Monday, May 7, 2012
Rachel Robinson criticizes McCourt
LOS ANGELES -- Rachel Robinson, the widow of arguably the most iconic player in the franchise's history, openly criticized former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt on Monday night. Robinson, wearing a Dodgers jersey with Jackie Robinson's universally retired No. 42 and still using the pronoun "we'' when referring to the Dodgers, was at the ballpark as a guest of new owner Magic Johnson on the occasion of the team's first home game since an investment group headed by Johnson finalized its purchase of the team from McCourt last week.
"First of all, I'm thrilled with the fact we have new ownership and we have a chance to revitalizing the franchise in terms of the organization, the team and the fans,'' said Robinson, who will turn 90 this summer. "I am just thrilled about that, because I was very unhappy with the fact we have had so much trouble.''
Asked if she was referring strictly to the fact the team spent much of the past year in bankruptcy, Robinson said she was referring to "the McCourt era.''
"It's just what I read,'' she said. "I don't have any inside information. From the way I saw things developing, it wasn't in the tradition of the Dodgers.''
Robinson then was asked specifically about the fact Johnson becomes Major League Baseball's first African-American owner.
"It is significant,'' she said. "But what overrides it, or I should say complements it, is the fact it's new ownership. But I'm thrilled he is a part of that because he is a good man and a good businessman.''
Robinson said she has known Johnson for "a long time,'' although she couldn't put a specific number of years to it. She also said it was fair to compare Johnson's groundbreaking new role to her husband famously breaking baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947.
"If you're asking if it's like when Jack broke it, you might make that comparison in some ways,'' she said. "(This is) 68 years later, and there still is room for improvement.''