While some of you are on your way to work, a hearing with multiple attorneys earning hundreds of dollars per hour will be in front of Judge Kevin Gross to resolve a crucial point for Frank McCourt.
I could bore you with a review of the legal arguments and strategy but it boils down to this, Frank McCourt is intent on doing one thing, keeping the Dodgers and if he has to drag down MLB to do that, so be it.
The filing of the Chapter 11 action really doesn't matter to McCourt because the worst case, he walks away with parting gifts and a ticket out of town. But if he wins, not only does he keep his team, he ends with the last laugh over Commissioner Bud Selig.
A little detail about what is being discussed today, it is not about MLB taking over the Dodgers and pushing McCourt pursuant to the MLB Constitution and Bylaws. Today's hearing is what is known in litigation as a Motion to Compel. Motions to Compel are filed by a party who is requesting the Court to order a party or other witness to produce evidence, either documents or oral testimony. As a rule, Courts don't like to see these motions, they would rather the parties work things out on their own. But once the Court makes a decision, it is generally the last word, appellate courts will almost always defer to the trial court on these issues.
The Court could sidestep the Motion to Compel by ruling that the issues raised by McCourt are premature and the only matter in front of the Court presently is the DIP financing issue so all discovery (documents turned over, depositions) will be limited to that.
But I think the Court realizes the magnitude of what is going on and it may decide to either end this fishing expedition or they will decide that it wants to see more information. If that happens, Bud may not show up in Phoenix because he will be busy prepping for a deposition.
Both sides have hired the top lawyers in both bankruptcy matters and sports law. Two of MLB's lawyers represented the group that eventually won the rights to buy the Texas Rangers. Not only does McCourt have some of the top bankruptcy attorneys, one of his lawyers is probably one of the five best sports law attorneys in the country, he has represented the three major player's associations while also being the lead lawyer in some of the most important antitrust cases in the last 35 years.
As much as I would enjoy seeing MLB squirm about turning over the requested information, the Court finding for MLB will probably force McCourt to make a last ditch move when the time comes for MLB to take over the team. He/ll never have a better chance than what he has now with Judge Kevin Gross. But I think Kevin Gross has one more win for the fans of the Dodgers.