Thanks largely to legions of disgusted fans, one of the most tumultuous stewardships in sports history came to a merciful end on Nov. 1, with a two-sentence statement announcing that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball had agreed to auction the team. L.A. fans reacted as if traffic had been eradicated. "There is a huge sigh of relief," former owner Peter O'Malley said.
After selling the Dodgers in 1998 to News Corp (from whom McCourt bought the club in 2004), O'Malley is now arranging a group to reclaim them. Other possible buyers include Mavs owner Mark Cuban and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, co-owner of the Penguins. Whoever submits the winning bid, likely over $1 billion, will be feted mainly because he's not Frank McCourt.
He won three NL West titles in eight seasons as owner, but McCourt also drove the team into bankruptcy, and MLB accused him of taking $189 million out of the club to fund his lavish lifestyle. In the past year he waged legal battles for team control against ex-wife Jamie McCourt and commissioner Bud Selig.
A sale won't be completed for at least six months. The first orders of business for a new owner will be re-signing Matt Kemp, restoring the team's Latin American presence and winning back a fan base that has discovered its power.
ROBERT BECK (MCCOURT)