Tripon in the post below linked to this story in the LA Times and I recommend everyone read it. I don't want to do a FJM piece on these boatload of quotes because that would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Let's take a look at what they had to say and see what is behind them.
"If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?" Jamie McCourt asked in an interview at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. "That's what we're trying to figure out. We're really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We're really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?"
Obviously most Dodger fans would say they would rather spend the money on the team. This is step one in lowering expectations that they will be spending big money on free agents. This is a clumsy way of going about it as any fan with a pulse can see right through this. They aren't asking the fans if they would rather have a 30 Million contract or lower ticket prices which is within the McCourts grasp. They are trying to tie it into the community but the Dodger reach is to vast for this to have any meaning to the Dodger fan. What do they care in San Bernandino if the Dodgers put some money into East LA to build some parks when they would rather be playing soccer on those fields.
"I think, oddly enough, maybe if things weren't guaranteed, then we could pay for it," she said. "If people can't play anymore, it's like, 'Oh well, see ya.' Different story. Whatever money they are guaranteed could be money that we could otherwise have given to community."
Now this is pure frustration bubbling over from the fact they watched 33 Million dollars last year do nothing but enrich the players and agents involved. It was not Jason Schmidt's fault that he was on the DL but it surely was Andruw Jones fault that he did not come ready to play for the most money he had ever been paid in his lucrative career. If you think we are frustrated with this lack of production from these two, think of the frustration level of the family writing these checks. This is the cost of doing business in baseball as every organization will have plenty of hit and misses but the McCourts are new to the business. Of course this bed is of their own making, Depo didn't have these non - performing contracts other then when Drew broke his wrist which I think is different then signing a pitcher who probably knew his shoulder was shot and had been pitching through pain for several years.
Frank quickly put to rest that there was conflict between the Dodgers operating budget and the Dodger charitable foundation as he tried to repair the comments by Jamie.
Frank McCourt said that while he and his wife contribute money out of their own pockets to the Dodgers' charitable causes, the team and its foundation are separate entities and the funds to pay for the fields won't be taken out of the team's operating budget. But he, too, said the Dodgers had to re-examine their priorities.
He then continued the path of lowered expectations with these final comments.
Frank McCourt said the Dodgers' top priority remained to field a winning team. He said the team's payroll, which was around $120 million this year, hasn't been determined for next season.
So things are in flux in Dodgertown. I would expect most teams know their budget for the coming season. The fact we are in late November and the budget is in questions says that there are variables in play that will determine the amount of the budget. What those are, only the McCourts know.
I've said all along that the McCourts would not be increasing their budget in 2009 and I doubted they would even match the 2008 budget. These comments are reinforcing my opinion that the McCourts are not happy with the contracts they are paying and Ned is only still here because he has a contract. He is a lame duck GM and anything he attempts to do will be scrutinized like never before by the McCourts before any stamp of approval hits the paperwork.
I wonder what Joe Torre thinks of the sentiments expressed by the McCourts today? I expect Josh Rawitch is biting his nails as he figures out how to respond to the LA Times article.