Friday, September 17, 2010
McCourt defiant on Dodgers' sale
By Ramona Shelburne ESPNLosAngeles.com
Frank McCourt isn't selling. Not now and not anytime soon.
The Dodgers owner reacted strongly on Friday to former owner Peter O'Malley's public call for him to sell the franchise amid what's become an increasingly bitter divorce trial, saying he has no intention of ever selling the organization.
"I have a very, very strong instinct that I'm going to own this team for a long, long time and then someday, God willing, my boys will own the team," McCourt said, when asked about the growing public pressure on him to sell the storied franchise.
"It's probably going to happen until the [divorce] trial is over and that's just the way it is. When people ask, I'm going to say the same thing and that is, 'The team is not for sale, I'm not selling it. I'm going to own it for a long long time.'"
Asked whether he had any comment directly on O'Malley's statement, McCourt said: "I have no comment."
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Asked whether he had any opinion on the normally reclusive O'Malley's call for him to sell the team, he shrugged his shoulders and said: "Of course I do. But I have no comment."
McCourt has made few public comments since his high-profile separation from his estranged with Jamie McCourt and their subsequent divorce proceedings began.
He chose to speak Friday at the news conference announcing that Don Mattingly would succeed Joe Torre as the Dodgers manager in 2011.
"Don's ready," McCourt said. "You can see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. That's the one question I had for him, and he was very, very clear on that. Maybe a few years ago he wasn't. Could he have done it? Yeah. But maybe he wasn't quite as ready. Now he's really good to go."
McCourt said his divorce trial and the uncertainty surrounding the team were not affecting the Dodgers day-to-day operations in this disappointing season, and were not a factor in Torre's decision to step down.
"We have really done a great job, certainly as good a job as can be done, to separate that [the divorce proceedings] from what goes on here," McCourt said. "It really doesn't have the same day-to-day bearing in terms of what goes on on the field and in the clubhouse as you'd think. I know people talk about that, but it really doesn't.
"We approach things the same way. I'm proud of everybody here who has worked really hard and kept their head down.
"Of course, nobody wants to get past the personal situation more than me, but it really doesn't impact the team and certainly it had no impact on Joe's decision.
McCourt said he was committed to spending "whatever it takes" to field a championship contender next season.
"We're going to have plenty of financial flexibility," he said. "We're going to do what it takes, just as we have every offseason, to bring the talent in here to win."
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow her on Twitter.