A revolutionary way of thinking from an unlikely source
December 2, 2008
The most uplifting news I’ve read in months came from the L.A. Times last week, a story headlined “Frank and Jamie McCourt have a question for Dodgers fans.”
Seems the owner of the Dodgers and his wife are thinking twice about chasing some of this year’s premier free agents, because they think that in this fragile economy, the tens of millions of dollars they’d end up paying the players for non-guaranteed on-field performance (a la Andruw Jones and Rafael Furcal) might be better spent on local youth baseball fields.
I couldn’t make this up, because to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t fathom a major pro franchise’s owner doing such a thing in the first place. Especially the people who own the Dodgers, whose payroll last season was $120 million.
In the story, which ran last Wednesday, Jamie McCourt said to the Times reporter: “If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you? 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?”
This is a revolutionary way of thinking, but it’s still business ” exceptional business, at that. The McCourts understand that when people cut costs, expenses such as spending $500 to take the family to a Dodgers game are probably going to be high on the list.
They are still trying to do what is best for their franchise, but in even considering how such lavish free-agent signings might negatively affect their image in their fans’ eyes, they are bucking a trend that very rarely gets bucked.
If they do opt to stay away from the star players, and then their team stinks it up on the field next year, you can bet there will be those who question their sanity. Either way, it’s pretty cool to see such powerful people thinking on such a humane level. …
Broncos fullback-turned-featured back Peyton Hillis, all 250 pounds of rookie, ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, as the Donkeys cooled off the Jets. He will never be the 1,500-yard-season guy that so many of Denver’s no-name rushers in the past have become, but he represents the magic just the same. …
I love the fact that Giants wideout Plaxico Burress is considering pleading not guilty to possessing a concealed firearm without a permit.
Because when you examine this ludicrous situation, Burress DID have a concealed firearm (which slipped down his pants leg and fired into his flesh when he went to retrieve it) and he DOES NOT have a permit to carry one in New York. Where does “not guilty” fit in to that equation? …
Jay Cutler should stop saying he thinks his arm is stronger than the rest of the animal kingdom. First John Elway, then Brett Favre? Come on, man. Just sling it and hush. …
If Notre Dame does not own up to its hiring biff and send Charlie Weis tromping back to irrelevance with his millions in buyout money, the Irish will be sending a message to their fans, alumni and recruits that saving money is worth more than winning.
Right now, that may be the only signal more putrid than their pathetic play the last two years. …
Did Hermann Maier, who will turn 36 on Sunday, really win a World Cup super-G last weekend? How unfairly we doubted thy staying power, Herminator. …
What a matchup we’ve got in the SEC Championship game this weekend, with undefeated Alabama ” the most boringly good “best team in the nation” I can remember ” facing scary-fast Florida, whose only loss came at home to Ole Miss early this fall.
It’s tough to pick against flash when the alternative is so mundane, but in this case I will take the top-ranked Crimson Tide to advance to the national title game, 28-25.
Don’t think it’ll be as close in the Big 12 championship, where Oklahoma is at least 30 points better than Missouri right now. Sooners, 56-25. …
In parting, if you are anywhere near Beaver Creek from Thursday to Sunday this week, do your best to make it to one of the four World Cup races on the Birds of Prey track. Not only is attendance (and parking) free, but the races provide one of the coolest sporting atmospheres in America that nobody outside the ski racing bubble knows about.
” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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