Longtime readers of SoSG know that one of Frank McCourt's leadership lackings is his ability to disappear from public eye at the first sign of controversy or negative comment. New parking system for Dodger Stadium? He's there. Parking system creates mass mayhem and gridlock on opening day? He's gone. Joe Torre or Manny Ramirez signing? He's there. Non-photo opportunity? He's gone.
So I suppose I should take it as a positive step that McCourt, in his latest game of stare-eyes with Scott Boras and Manny Ramirez (McCourt is using one eye for each player), is front and center for a change, right? I mean, things aren't going well, and there's McCourt, playing the hard-nosed businessman holding out in order to cut a fiscally responsible deal, on behalf of the wallets of Dodger fans everywhere.
Except that McCourt's poor handling of the Ramirez deal has actually contributed to the reason why the Dodger slugger hasn't been signed, and we still have Juan Pierre "covering" left field for us (as MSTI adeptly pointed out, Pierre is hitless this spring with one CS). And now that McCourt and Manny remain far apart and the lies of McCourt's press release have been laid open for a press feasting, McCourt has resorted to pouting like a toddler who didn't get his way:
Because he said so.
That was more or less the reason Dodgers owner Frank McCourt gave Sunday morning for refusing to consider a proposal made to him by Manny Ramirez's agent, which differed from an offer the Ramirez camp made last week only in the timing of the payments.
McCourt said the latest phase of negotiations ended the moment agent Scott Boras made him a counterproposal instead of simply accepting or declining an offer the Dodgers made Wednesday of a two-year, $45-million contract with much of the money deferred without any added interest. By Thursday evening, Boras had made two counterproposals, the second one asking for two years at $45 million with an opt-out clause Ramirez could exercise at the end of the first year, only with no deferred salary.
McCourt on Sunday called that counteroffer "too little too late" and said negotiations would resume with "a fresh start." He said he stressed to the agent that he had wanted a resolution by Friday because he didn't want the negotiations to dominate conversation Sunday, the day the Dodgers opened the gates of their new spring training ballpark.
But why not consider the offer when the two sides appear to be so close?
"Because we're going to start from scratch," McCourt said.
But why start from scratch when you're so close?
"I answered it twice," McCourt said.
He looked away from the reporter who asked the question and didn't say another word until another question was asked by another reporter.
McCourt chooses to play this drama out in the press, then gets burned when it boomerangs back at him, and then can't handle the heat in a press conference. Somewhere, Boras is laughing a hearty laugh.
Frank, Frank, Frank. Boras is the devil and you've made him into a martyr. You played the victim card in your hand, but he has stolen it into his. And now, you're cornered into a position where you can't walk away, not when the two offers are so close.
Put your ego aside and do what's right. for the team (if they want to have a chance at winning) and the fans (if you want to have a chance at seeing any next year). Split the difference, sign the ManRam, and let's all move on. It may feel like a loss now, but believe me, you'll feel like a winner in the end.
You've already allowed this circus to overshadow opening day at Crowdless Camelback Ranch. Don't let your ego cast a stormcloud over Monday, April 13, too.