Watch the travails of Frank McCourt as he fumbles away the Dodger franchise and you're seeing a man who has achieved infamy shared by a select few.
Frank in just a few short years has become a member in good standing of LAST (Los Angeles Sports Tyrants), a group that has infuriated and frustrated local fans for decades.
It takes a special person to be LAST. But Frank qualifies on so many levels.
There are two questions that immediately come to mind:
Is he the worst franchise owner in Los Angeles history? Does he rank right up there with fellow LAST members Donald Sterling, Al Davis, Phil Anshutz, Rupert Murdoch? Can he match the antics of Georgia Frontiere and Jack Kent Cooke?
And, second, what did we do to deserve this plague of obstinate ownership?
McCourt briefly was a hero in town when he purchased the Dodgers from Rupert Murdoch, that crafty Aussie media mogul who led the team to mediocrity. Of course, Charlie Sheen would have been preferable to Murdoch.
But the fact that the McCourt purchase was financed mostly by debt raised more than a few eyebrows even at the outset.
Alas, our worst suspicions were confirmed. He allegedly spent much of the proceeds from the club on a lavish lifestyle and left the team circling the drain.
He and his wife are now divorcing and the attorney fees could retire the national debt.
A lack of money leads to a lack of talent and the Dodgers are
nobody's World Series pick this year. The fans are staying away in droves.
Now, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has taken control of the organization and replaced McCourt with some George Bush sidekick. The Dodgers, historically one of the premiere franchises in baseball, are in shambles.
Also in the running for worst owner:
Jack Kent Cooke: Cooke will be best remembered for building the Forum in Inglewood and owning the Lakers. Under his ownership, the Lakers made it to the championship finals seven times and won it all in 1972. But Cooke, a Canadian, also gave us the Los Angeles Kings, a hockey franchise that has gone 44 years without a championship. He personally ran the club, making trades, hiring and firing coaches and general managers, all to no good end. Even though he sold the Kings in 1979, they continue mired in mediocrity, thanks in no small part to his stewardship, which made them the Cubs on Ice.
Phil Anshutz: The current owner of the Kings (and Staples Center) continues in the tradition of Jack Kent Cooke. Despite a loyal fan base and a lot of self-congratulatory talk about an improved franchise, the team continues to go nowhere while their absentee owner hides out in Denver and counts his billions. Is this the guy we want to woo the NFL?
Georgia Frontiere: Georgia made her fortune the old-fashioned way: She married it. After five previous marriages, the former nightclub singer landed Carroll Rosenblum, an NFL owner. When he drowned while swimming off a Florida beach, she became majority owner of the Los Angeles Rams, a team with a storied history here that dated back to 1946 when they became the first major professional team in town. Under her leadership, attendance declined and she hit the road, first to Anaheim, then to St. Louis. Irony of ironies, when she died in 2008, she was buried in Los Angeles, the resting place of the hearts of many a Ram fan.
Al Davis: I'm not sure many football fans in Los Angeles wanted Al and his Raiders to relocate here. But he did anyway. After some initial success, Al had more lawsuits than wins and a fan base that looked like a casting call for a zombie movie. Mercifully, he moved back to Oakland in 1995, but not before fleecing Irwindale out of $10 million.
Donald Sterling: He is the LAST word in losing. His Clippers of the NBA have lost more than 1,400 games since they moved to L.A. in 1984, nearly twice as many as they have won, and have made the playoffs four times in 27 years. So he's had a little bad luck. But it's hard to love a guy who once refused to pay for prostate cancer surgery for his coach (the players chipped in paid the bill).
Honorable mention: Henry and Susan Samuel, who, when they bought the Anaheim National Hockey League franchise, kept the name. Thus, we have a team named after a dreary suburb in Orange County and an animal most closely associated with one-liners and cartoons. Let's hear it for the Ducks.
Honorable mention also goes to Arte Moreno, who changed the name of his baseball team to to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He may be onto something. Maybe we could do away with all this football stadium talk by just calling the nearest NFL franchise the Los Angeles Chargers of San Diego.
Who has your vote?