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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

MLB: Torre resigns, to explore bid to buy Dodgers

Major League Baseball announced today that Joe Torre has resigned from his position as Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, effective immediately, to explore opportunities with a group that will pursue ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Torre was appointed MLB’s Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations in February, overseeing areas that include Major League Operations, On-Field Operations, On-Field Discipline and Umpiring. Torre has been the Office of the Commissioner’s primary liaison to the general managers and field managers of the 30 Major League Clubs regarding all baseball and on-field matters.

With Torre’s departure, the Baseball Operations functions of the Commissioner’s Office will be led in the interim by Senior Vice Presidents Joe Garagiola, Jr., Kim Ng and Peter Woodfork. Torre appointed Garagiola, Ng and Woodfork to their positions in March. A permanent replacement will be named at a later date.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: “Joe has been an invaluable resource for me and all of us at Major League Baseball this year and has splendidly communicated with our on-field personnel, general managers and the umpires. I understand his desire to pursue an opportunity in Los Angeles. Joe has been a life-long friend and I know that will continue in the future. While I will miss having him in our office, I have the utmost confidence in Joe Garagiola, Kim and Peter.”

Thanks to Parky

Repoz Posted: January 04, 2012 at 10:19 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Stormy JE Posted: January 04, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4028598)
Would Torre have resigned from his post had it not been clear that his ownership group would be a favorite to win the bidding process?
   2. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4028610)
Would Torre have resigned from his post had it not been clear that his ownership group would be a favorite to win the bidding process?
Possibly, it isn't like Torre is hard up for cash (I assume) or likely to have trouble finding other work if the Dodger bid falls through. I agree he probably feels confident he'll be part of the group that wins, but I don't think there's too much to be read into it.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4028737)
Any word on who's behind his ownership group?


One presumes Satan, but that has not been confirmed.
   4. TerpNats Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4028761)
The Times reports it's the Rick Caruso group (Farmers Market).
   5. phredbird Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4028788)
if its the rick caruso group, that could be interesting. caruso is a very savvy guy who knows how to get things done. of course, he wouldn't be a billionaire if he wasn't, so duh. but he's the force behind the grove and the americana mall in glendale, both of which have turned into licenses to print money. i think he'd know how to run a baseball franchise in the way they need to be run these days. what worries me is if he looks too much like a headstrong, independent type. i don't think bud likes those guys (mark cuban).
   6. phredbird Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4028795)
terpnats, caruso does not own the farmers market, by the way. its adjacent to the grove but i believe its still owned by members of the gilmore family, descendants of a.f. gilmore, the original founder.
   7. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4028806)
(double post)
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4028807)
caruso is a very savvy guy who knows how to get things done. of course, he wouldn't be a billionaire if he wasn't, so duh.

Come know, you can't underestimate the rewards of simple theft.
   9. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4028810)
With this news, there are at least three groups fronted by a guy with Selig connections (Stan Kasten, Joe Torre, Dennis Gilbert), plus two more groups fronted by Dodgers legends (Orel Hershiser/Steve Garvey; Peter O'Malley).

As far as I can tell, all of these groups would need a substantial amount of debt to buy the team. Picking a favorite seems difficult even before factoring in the bankruptcy court's supervision of the process and the likely involvement of unknown bidders.

I haven't read much about Rick Caruso's plans. As a real estate guy, I wonder if he's one of the bidders who might care more about the land than the team.
   10. phredbird Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4028825)
Come know, you can't underestimate the rewards of simple theft.


well ... is any fortune 100% honestly gained? a thief can be 'savvy'. i'm not endorsing his candidacy for sainthood.
   11. phredbird Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4028831)
With this news, there are at least three groups fronted by a guy with Selig connections (Stan Kasten, Joe Torre, Dennis Gilbert),


you've also got steven cohen, who's working with steve greenberg, who has selig connections.

it looks like a bunch of contenders, each building his credentials.
   12. phredbird Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4028833)
I haven't read much about Rick Caruso's plans. As a real estate guy, I wonder if he's one of the bidders who might care more about the land than the team.


before mccourt went kablooie, he unveiled an ambitious plan to build a retail development around the stadium; that's something that is right in caruso's wheelhouse, so yeah. but he'd still want the team to be a draw.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4028839)
well ... is any fortune 100% honestly gained? a thief can be 'savvy'. i'm not endorsing his candidacy for sainthood.

No, behind every great fortune there is a great crime (at least one). Hell, both Apple and Microsoft were built on the GUI they flat out stole from Xerox.

OK, savvy in that sense.
   14. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4028846)
it looks like a bunch of contenders, each building his credentials.

It looks like most of these bidders are in a race to add Dodgers people and/or Selig people, but I wonder if this could be a rare time when such connections mean little or nothing (or are even counterproductive). Unless one of these allegedly preferred groups also offers the clear top bid, why would McCourt care who MLB wants buying the team? A lot of the bidders named thus far have been taking potshots at McCourt for years. Money has a tendency to heal old wounds, but I have to believe McCourt has been keeping score.

before mccourt went kablooie, he unveiled an ambitious plan to build a retail development around the stadium; that's something that is right in caruso's wheelhouse, so yeah. but he'd still want the team to be a draw.

It was called "The Next 50" and it looked interesting. As for Caruso, the L.A. Times reported today that Caruso has no immediate plans to develop the adjacent land, but that's likely a negotiating stance, since McCourt doesn't even need to sell the land per his agreement with MLB. But unless Caruso has plans to move the Dodgers out of Chavez Ravine (like a couple other rumored bidders), it's hard to imagine a real estate guy like him is getting involved because of a sudden interest in baseball.
   15. Swedish Chef Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4028847)
I haven't read much about Rick Caruso's plans. As a real estate guy, I wonder if he's one of the bidders who might care more about the land than the team.

In his deal with MLB, McCourt still has the option to hang on to the parking lots though. I think it's safe to assume it will be expensive to wrest them from him.
   16. zachtoma Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4028887)
WTF LOL!
   17. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4028897)
In his deal with MLB, McCourt still has the option to hang on to the parking lots though. I think it's safe to assume it will be expensive to wrest them from him.

Right, but from what I've been reading, McCourt needs a minimum of $800 million just to pay off creditors, his ex-wife, and various tax liabilities. Since the $1 billion to $1.2 billion sale estimate includes the land, McCourt would likely still be underwater if he retains the land. He'd not only need to find someone willing to buy the team without the land, but buy the team for north of $800 million. Both of these seem unlikely, at least from what I've been reading.
   18. God Posted: January 04, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4028931)
A lot of the bidders named thus far have been taking potshots at McCourt for years. Money has a tendency to heal old wounds, but I have to believe McCourt has been keeping score.

Not sure specifically who you're referring to here, but I don't believe any of the Dodgers-related personnel involved in the bidding (Hershiser, Garvey, Torre) has ever taken a potshot at McCourt, certainly not publicly at least.
   19. TerpNats Posted: January 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4028936)
before mccourt went kablooie, he unveiled an ambitious plan to build a retail development around the stadium; that's something that is right in caruso's wheelhouse, so yeah. but he'd still want the team to be a draw.

It was called "The Next 50" and it looked interesting. As for Caruso, the L.A. Times reported today that Caruso has no immediate plans to develop the adjacent land, but that's likely a negotiating stance, since McCourt doesn't even need to sell the land per his agreement with MLB.
Developing the land around Dodger Stadium for year-round retail/entertainment use makes perfect sense, particularly if it could be coupled with some sort of mass transit spur from either Union Station (Red/Purple lines) or Chinatown (Gold line). It was one of McCourt's few good ideas under his Dodgers reign.
   20. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4028947)
Not sure specifically who you're referring to here, but I don't believe any of the Dodgers-related personnel involved in the bidding (Hershiser, Garvey, Torre) has ever taken a potshot at McCourt, certainly not publicly at least.

Not a potshot, per se, but Steve Garvey started aggressively pursuing ownership of the Dodgers while employed by McCourt, which was a very public slap in the face. Meanwhile, Dennis Gilbert's bidding partner, Larry King, ripped McCourt no more than a month or two ago. (And, of course, Torre worked for MLB at the same time MLB tried to take over the Dodgers.)
   21. Ron J Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4028951)
Snapper, the first big break for Microsoft was MS-DOS. But that's pretty much CPM (with a teeny bit of UNIX on the side) so your overall point stands.

Of course they got the bulk of the word processing market because of Word Perfect 6.0 which was a crime of a different sort. Suicide by a competitor never hurts (Hell they only got the operating system contract because of stupidity by the CPM folks)
   22. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4028956)
No, behind every great fortune there is a great crime (at least one). Hell, both Apple and Microsoft were built on the GUI they flat out stole from Xerox.

Apple didn't steal anything. They licensed the PARC stuff.

And Microsoft got MS-DOS by buying it from another company as well.
   23. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4028962)
stupidity by the CPM folks


With hindsight it was stupidity, but was it so clearly stupid at the time? As I understand it, Kildall wanted to be paid per machine sold with the operating system, rather than in a lump sum. (I should say, I think that's the most believable story. Nobody that smart would be stupid enough to refuse to sign a non-disclosure agreement.) There were dozens of warring platforms then, and no reason necessarily to think that the IBM platform, IBM though it was, would crush them all. And CP/M was used on a lot of them. But that's just what I've read in Wikipedia. Personally, I'm pretty sure I would have said "it can only help my company to have my operating system on IBM's computers" and agreed to the deal they offered. On the other hand, that would have pissed off all the other companies that were licensing it from me, so that would have factored into the decision, too. It's complicated.
   24. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4028969)
CP/M was certainly run on a lot of systems, but my (imperfect, like anyone's) memory tells me that many computer manufacturers were worried about the prospect of IBM entering the fray, because it was such a business heavyweight. Nevertheless, I'm sure that Kildall felt that there was no real benefit to changing his revenue model so drastically just for one customer, even if it was IBM.

On the other hand, credit Microsoft for being willing to accept a lump sum instead of per-machine pricing so long as they were able to retain ownership of the OS and license it on other machines. IBM, of course, felt that the real money was in the hardware, not software.

IBM's success made MS-DOS popular, which then turned into Microsoft's success as the clones started arriving.
   25. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 04, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4029011)
Tim Brown (Yahoo! Sports) just said on Twitter that "insiders" expect 30 bids for the Dodgers. I've only seen about a dozen named people or groups, so there must be a whole lot of action behind the scenes.

If Brown's sources are correct, a lot of the Dodgers and/or Selig people mentioned above might not even make the first cut. The people getting the most attention thus far seem to have some of the shallowest pockets, and McCourt likely will have the bankruptcy court and creditor's committee on his side if MLB rejects deeper-pocketed bidders.
   26. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: January 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4029019)
If Brown's sources are correct, a lot of the Dodgers and/or Selig people mentioned above might not even make the first cut. The people getting the most attention thus far seem to have some of the shallowest pockets, and McCourt likely will have the bankruptcy court and creditor's committee on his side if MLB rejects deeper-pocketed bidders.


Most of the shallow pocket people are front men for groups backed by a billionaire.
   27. phredbird Posted: January 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4029027)
No, behind every great fortune there is a great crime


... is a poor paraphrase of what balzac actually said.

Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu'il a été proprement fait.

which is more about unexplained wealth. but i'll cop to being reflexively skeptical about the rich.
   28. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: January 04, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4029074)
I don't see Torre quitting unless he believes his group has the inside track to ownership. He probably knows the ins and outs of all the bids, has had a few "hypothetical" conversations with Selig et al., and is satisfied that he didn't throw away his remaining years on a pipe dream. Of course, the bankruptcy procedings might throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans, and all that...
   29. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 04, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4029093)
No, behind every great fortune there is a great crime


Famous untrue statements. It's extremely rare that real crime is behind any fortune.

Bill Gates bought MS-DOS from Seattle Computing out of panic fearing he'd lose a huge opportunity to sell many copies of his languages when Kildall skipped the IBM meeting and his wife/lawyer refused to sign IBM's NDA.

Steve Job's worked a group of engineers nearly to death to make all the disparate ideas that had grown together over decades to create the concept of the GUI interface into an actual usable and economically valuable computer, fitting it within 128k of RAM through some feat of wizardy or drug induced marathon programming sessions.

Xerox shipped a bunch of over-priced hardware that never found a market.

Typically the very rich had an idea for producing new economic value that might seem very obvious in retrospect, but that others thought risky or unworkable or simply dumb. And their idea had to be built and grown from easily obtainable sources of capital, or the founder/investor would have been forced to give away so much of the ownership that they'd never be left with enough to achieve super rich status.
   30. Adam Starblind Posted: January 04, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4029118)
Joe, can I interest you in a lightly used New York National League Baseball Club?
   31. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4029310)
Most of the shallow pocket people are front men for groups backed by a billionaire.

Not per the reporting thus far. Peter O'Malley is trying to put together a group, but I haven't seen any billionaires associated with him in news reports. Same is true with the Garvey/Hershiser and Dennis Gilbert groups.

The only two groups with Dodgers and/or Selig ties known to have big-money backers are the Torre/Caruso and Kasten/Magic/Walter groups (and Caruso is a real estate billionaire, so it's possible his assets are relatively non-liquid right now).

I don't see Torre quitting unless he believes his group has the inside track to ownership. He probably knows the ins and outs of all the bids, ...

I don't see how this is possible. The initial bids aren't due until Jan. 23 and they're non-binding.

More likely? The resignation is more like a 90-day leave of absence. I'll be surprised if MLB fills the position before the sale is over.

Either way, Torre turns 72 next summer. It's not like he's 35 and ditching a career on a lark, and the next few generations of Torres should already be retired. (And for all we know, Caruso could be paying Torre more than he was making at MLB just to front the group.)
   32. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 05, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4029319)
the founder/investor would have been forced to give away so much of the ownership that they'd never be left with enough to achieve super rich status.


And the rest of us would be playing the world's tiniest violin for him. The fact is that with technological development, the same or similar ideas usually emerge at around the same time from several different progenitors, and whichever one of them gets the most funding behind the idea winds up seeing it developed into what it could be. In order to maintain control of the idea, and thus the financial windfall that can come of it, the progenitor needs to team up with a source of capital rather than be swallowed into a pre-existing organization, and even then it's difficult to avoid losing control.

The rich get richer not because they're smarter or even better at business than everyone else, but because they already have the capital. It's possible to get rich in the first place through business acumen, though even then there has to be some amount of capital that's higher than what a whole lot of people could ever get their hands on. Getting richer, though, takes no particular skill at all. It takes a lack of total idiocy, but that's another matter.
   33. Ray (CTL) Posted: January 05, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4029328)
Am I the only one who finds Word to be utterly retarded with no redeeming value, while WordPerfect is 1000 times better, as Wordperfect is simple and easy to use?

   34. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:44 AM (#4029346)
And the rest of us would be playing the world's tiniest violin for him.


You might have emotional issues if you thought a summation of the recipe for bootstrapping success into super-rich status was intended to evoke sympathy for the merely rich.

The fact is that with technological development, the same or similar ideas usually emerge at around the same time from several different progenitors, and whichever one of them gets the most funding behind the idea winds up seeing it developed into what it could be. In order to maintain control of the idea, and thus the financial windfall that can come of it, the progenitor needs to team up with a source of capital rather than be swallowed into a pre-existing organization, and even then it's difficult to avoid losing control.


This is sort of true, but not always. It ignores the scores of poorly funded startups that have dominated far better funded competitors through superior operational decisions. Facebook vs. MySpace comes to mind as a possible example.

The rich get richer not because they're smarter or even better at business than everyone else, but because they already have the capital. It's possible to get rich in the first place through business acumen, though even then there has to be some amount of capital that's higher than what a whole lot of people could ever get their hands on. Getting richer, though, takes no particular skill at all. It takes a lack of total idiocy, but that's another matter.


Now you are just being delusional, and conflating the trust fund rich like John Kerry with actual entrepeuners. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, the Facebook guy, Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, etc, etc for hundreds of entrepreneurs worth hundreds of millions or billions, all started with no more capital that almost any working American could scratch together.
   35. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4029741)
Interesting column from ESPN LA's Ramona Shelburne re: issues discussed above:

Frank McCourt has final say in L.A.
   36. Something Other Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4029948)
The rich get richer not because they're smarter or even better at business than everyone else, but because they already have the capital.
Agreed. Making the second million is often the consequence of scooping up cheaply the wreckage created by folks trying to make the first million.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: January 05, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4029967)
I don't see Torre quitting unless he believes his group has the inside track to ownership. He probably knows the ins and outs of all the bids, has had a few "hypothetical" conversations with Selig et al., and is satisfied that he didn't throw away his remaining years on a pipe dream. Of course, the bankruptcy procedings might throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans, and all that...


I don't see why Torre wouldn't quit, there is a very good chance that even if he doesn't get the bid, that the job will still be waiting for him or another one.
   38. Something Other Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4030882)
The rich get richer not because they're smarter or even better at business than everyone else, but because they already have the capital. It's possible to get rich in the first place through business acumen, though even then there has to be some amount of capital that's higher than what a whole lot of people could ever get their hands on. Getting richer, though, takes no particular skill at all. It takes a lack of total idiocy, but that's another matter.



Now you are just being delusional, and conflating the trust fund rich like John Kerry with actual entrepeuners. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, the Facebook guy, Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, etc, etc for hundreds of entrepreneurs worth hundreds of millions or billions, all started with no more capital that almost any working American could scratch together.
It's hard to credit specific individuals. The American version of late corporate capitalism is a star system. It's not that the cream rises to the top, but rather someone rises to the top. Sam Walton didn't work harder and wasn't any smarter than a thousand other guys, hell, ten thousand other guys, but there are some raw ingredients it's tough to get around, and those include hard work, a source of capital, a modicum of intelligence...
   39. The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4030885)
Frank McCourt has final say in L.A.
Umm, huh. Probably woulda kept negotiating as MLB when McCourt made that offer.
   40. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4030904)
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, the Facebook guy, Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, etc,


I acknowledged situations like that:

It's possible to get rich in the first place through business acumen


Jobs, Gates, and Allen were smart engineers. They probably weren't any smarter, though, than Gary Kildall. They might not have been as smart as him; I don't know enough to know. They were just better at business.

And what Something other said, too, pretty much.


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