Frank McCourt, owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2004, has won approval to sell the team, despite having gone to court twice to retain them.
McCourt and Major League Baseball will ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to sell the Dodgers, the team and league said in a statement. Up for auction now will be the team and Dodger stadium, along with the team's licensing agreements that McCourt spent $421 million on. The package could sell for twice as much as McCourt paid for it. Whoever buys the club will be the third owner since Peter O'Malley sold the team to News Corp in 1998. The team had been in O'Malley's family since 1958 when they moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
The proposed sale marks the end of a troubling year for the Dodgers, one that saw an opening day fight in the Dodger Stadium parking lot result in San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow being beaten into a coma. Furthermore, the league had charged McCourt with taking $189 million of the team's money for his own use.
Many times during the season, the stadium was only half full, and McCourt declared the team bankrupt in June. The announced sale of the team is surprising because McCourt had said before that he would win sole control of the team and not sell it. McCourt had been in a heated divorce during the bankruptcy, and McCourt's now ex-wife Jamie told the judge she was half-owner of the Dodgers.
Possible suitors for the team include Mark Cuban, who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and Dennis Gilbert, an executive in the Chicago White Sox organization. Cuban already tried to buy the Texas Rangers last year, as did Gilbert. Alan Casden, a businessman with ties to pro sports, tried to buy the team when McCourt did, and may also try again.
Let us know in the comments if you think a new owner could help the Dodgers chances of winning the pennant next year.