LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers general manager
If the Dodgers do not think divorce can affect them, they need only look 120 miles to the south, to a franchise that was paralyzed by the split between owner
A variety of factors contributed to their decline -- injuries, underperforming players, questionable personnel decisions -- but none more than divorce. California divorce law stipulates that all assets must be split in half, and since Major League Baseball requires that each team has a principal owner, John Moores decided to sell.
In order to make the franchise more appealing to recession-era buyers, he stripped it down until there was virtually nothing left, besides the new downtown ballpark. After '07, the Padres declined to re-sign starting outfielders
With Moorad in charge but Moores still involved, the Padres finally traded Peavy, fielded offers for first baseman
The Dodgers, currently the cream of the NL West, will be subjected to similar rhetoric in the months ahead. Their fans, who have already endured two ownership changes in the past 12 years, will not mourn if McCourt sells. After all, he is still viewed in many circles of Los Angeles as a Boston transplant who is not willing to make the sacrifices that Lakers owner
No matter how the lawyers spin it, the NLCS did not start well for the Dodgers, in the owner's box or elsewhere. They lost Game 1 to the Phillies, and to keep from falling down 2-0, they are depending on starting pitcher
At this point, it is much too early to panic, either about the series or the separation. All the Dodgers can do is study what happened to their division rivals in the past two years and brace themselves. They are better equipped to handle this situation than the Padres, thanks to a bigger TV market, a broader fan base and a richer minor-league pipeline. But divorce has already changed baseball in Southern California once. Now it is threatening again.