STEVE CHIOTAKIS: As you may’ve heard this morning, Major League Baseball has taken over the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The league says a cash shortage has affected team performance and stadium security. Historically, few teams — of any sport — have been taken over by their leagues. So this has some pretty big ramifications.
Marketplace’s Janet Babin is with us live this morning. Good morning Janet.
JANET BABIN: Good morning Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: How is it that the league can come in and just usurp the owner and executive director just like that?
BABIN: Yup, leave it to sports right? In the rarified diamond of baseball, the League Commissioner can swoop in and take over a team. The league just has to invoke its ‘special powers’ — in the name of what’s in the best interests of the baseball!.
It famously suspended Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the 1990s, and it’s moved against other owners, but this action, is more radical. It really would take pretty much all power away from Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
CHIOTAKIS: So is this temporary, Janet?
BABIN: Well, it seems to be temporary, and the League will come in and take on some expenses of the Dodgers. It’s going to have to meet payroll. Now Frank McCourt will try to fight the league in court, but Eric Fisher with Sports Business Journal says for McCourt, this is like he’s in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs.
ERIC FISHER: He’s just so heavily leveraged in debt. He just doesn’t have the money to buy his way out of these problems right now.
Long term, the league will have to find a new owner to buy the team.
CHIOTAKIS: All right. Marketplace’s Janet Babin. Thanks Janet.
BABIN: Thank you.
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