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Monday, June 27, 2011
Dodger fans fail to get bankruptcy protection from McCourt


A source close to Jamie McCourt told ESPN The Magazine's Molly Knight that she is not happy with Monday's filing.

"She is exasperated," the source said. "She has been trying to settle this for two years now, most recently by asking the judge to sell the team. She recognizes that a sale is best for the community but Frank refuses to let this go."

ESPN.com news services

We're exasperated. We're exhausted.

Are we defeated?

We knew Frank McCourt would not go anything but combatively into that good night, with one of the few remaining mysteries being whether he would take his fight to court after Major League Baseball seized the team, or make a preemptive move. Answer: preemptive move.

Today's bankruptcy filing does not prevent MLB from taking action to seize the team, but it could prevent that move from having any legs to it, at least for some time, if the bankruptcy court rules to supersede MLB's actions.

If that happens, the $150 million financing the Dodgers received will carry the team forward in the short term. But as miserable as the 2011 season has been, the real concern has never been about the short term. It's been about the damage McCourt would do to the Dodger franchise if he were to retain Dodger ownership.

The financing only adds to the unfathomable level that McCourt has mortgaged himself and this team in order to retain his fraying hold on his empire, like some B-movie dictator from a made-up foreign land. The Dodgers would not cease to be if McCourt remains in charge. They might not even cease to compete. But their fans would go to sleep and wake up each morning knowing with certainty that things could be better, if not for their foot-shooting owner.

Though it's not legally significant, there's something symbolic and poetic about how many Dodger names were misspelled in the McCourt bankruptcy filing: "Kazuhisi Ishii." "Jonathon R. Broxton." "Chad Billingsly." At the end of the day, McCourt's impatient needs are more important than getting it right with the players on the field. No one's asking McCourt to be an altruist, but his desperate insistence that he's the best person for the job is an insult, and a harmful one at that.

It's also hard not to see the name "Vincent E. Scully" listed in this morning's filing as a creditor and absolutely marvel at how the road we have traveled.

But McCourt does have rights, the limits of which he continues to test, in the same way he tests the will of this community. The bankruptcy filing changes the game, a game that you can be excused for thinking will have no winner. How about a nice game of chess?