J. Thomas Schieffer to run Dodgers
MIAMI -- Former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer was appointed by baseball commissioner Bud Selig to oversee the Los Angeles Dodgers' business and financial operations, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.
Selig announced last Wednesday that due to increasing concerns about owner Frank McCourt's finances and ability to run the club, he would be appointing someone to oversee the club's finances in the near future.
Schieffer, younger brother of "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, took over immediately. In seizing control of the franchise, MLB told the Dodgers that any expenditure of $5,000 or more would have to be approved.
"We are very fortunate to have someone of Tom Schieffer's stature monitor the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers on behalf of Major League Baseball," Selig said in the statement. "Tom is a distinguished public servant who has represented the nation with excellence and has demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout his career. The many years that he spent managing the operations of a successful franchise will benefit the Dodgers and Major League Baseball as a whole. I am grateful for Tom's acceptance of this role."
Schieffer currently is senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the same position held at the firm by New York Yankees president Randy Levine.
"I love baseball and baseball called," Schieffer said in a statement issued by the firm. "I look forward to helping Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers through this difficult period."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the appointment wouldn't affect his team's approach.
"It has nothing to do with us. It doesn't change anything about what we do or how we get ready, making pitches, making plays, being in the right spot, playing baseball," Mattingly said before Los Angeles played at Florida on Monday night. "This is kind of year two of it. The fact MLB came in doesn't really change anything for us."
"I don't know if it's going to have any effect on moves we're able to make or not able to make. I don't know that. But the one thing we know is we've got control down here," he said.
The Dodgers took a 12-11 record into their game against the Marlins.
"We talked all spring about being a club that's ready to play and our responsibility to the fans and the game of baseball, playing hard every day, being ready to play and giving it everything you've got without making any excuses about any situation, whether it's travel or weather or umpires, whatever it is," Mattingly said. "And this is another one of those areas -- it's an area we can't use as any kind of excuse."
Schieffer served the Rangers as president from 1991-99 and also served as the team's general partner from November 1994 to June 1998. The team reached the postseason for the first time during his tenure, winning the American League West in 1996. As the president of the Rangers, Schieffer was a member of several significant MLB committees and boards, including Selig's 1999 Blue Ribbon Task Force on Baseball Economics.
Schieffer originally joined the Rangers as an investor when the team was purchased in 1989 by an ownership group that included future U.S. President George W. Bush, who at the time had yet to enter politics himself.
Schieffer, 63, previously had served three terms as a Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives. He later served in Bush's White House administration for its entire eight-year run, first as ambassador to Australia and later to Japan.
Once one of baseball's most powerful franchises, the Dodgers have been in near constant turmoil since October 2009, when Jamie McCourt filed for divorce a week after husband Frank fired her as the team's chief executive.
"I think everyone is of the mind that we really aren't going to react to it," Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake said. "Just show up here and prepare ourselves like we do every day to do what we do, and that's play baseball and win games, and things will take care of themselves."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.