McCourt: Divorce won't affect Dodgers
Owner grants interview; Torre meets with special committee at owners' meetings.
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- Major League Baseball's quarterly owners' meetings didn't produce much in the way of news. Commissioner Bud Selig's newly formed special committee didn't create any major changes, at least not yet. But Dodgers owner Frank McCourt did give his first interview since news broke three months ago of his on-going divorce with his estranged wife and former team president Jamie McCourt.
He had done that the day before, back in Los Angeles.
"I'll catch you later, guys,'' McCourt said to a couple of reporters as he briskly left the final gathering of these meetings between Selig and the game's 30 owners. "I can't do it now. I have to run.''
But McCourt did grant a lengthy interview on Wednesday with the team's official Web site. He said that his divorce was having no effect on the team's finances, that he remained committed to putting a winning team on the field and that he was certain he would emerge as the Dodgers' sole owner even though his wife is claiming an ownership stake in the club, an issue that is expected to be decided in a May 24 court hearing.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Angels manager Mike Scioscia also arrived at the meetings for the final session, in which Selig met with a newly formed committee consisting of four managers (Detroit's Jim Leyland and St. Louis' Tony La Russa were the others), several team executives and league officials and syndicated columnist George Will.
That committee was formed to address a number of concerns, most notably the number of off-days built into the postseason schedule. One possible solution would be to lengthen the first round to a best-of-seven format to match the league championships and World Series, a change Torre supported before the meeting.
"I still think you work all season [to get to the playoffs], and chances are [in a best-of-five series], the better team loses, even though it's not always going to happen,'' Torre said.
After the committee met for 3 1/2 hours, neither Selig nor any of those in attendance would reveal what was discussed, although Selig did say 15 to 20 topics were raised.
"It was a good meeting,'' Torre said. "But please don't ask me anything else. I don't want to be eliminated from the committee on the first day.'' Although the next owners' meetings aren't scheduled until May, Selig said the committee will meet again next month and that some changes might be implemented before the start of spring training. He didn't specify what those changes would be.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.