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FROM THIS EPISODE

This is Kevin Roderick with LA Observed for KCRW.

It's a good thing that Los Angeles is much more mature as a city than it was in 1958.

Back then, the arrival from Brooklyn of the Dodgers gave Angelenos a collective ego boost. The Dodgers made LA major league. Added some substance to the claim that Los Angeles was on the way to being a world city.

That city – which didn't have any high rise buildings except for City Hall, and that still burned trash in backyard incinerators – would have been devastated by the recent news about the Dodgers.

The saga of Frank McCourt's ownership just keeps getting more terrible -- and more sad.

The Dodgers in bankruptcy? And facing a takeover by Major League baseball? Who'd a thunk it during all those decades when Dodger Stadium led baseball in attendance.

Just look at how quickly the picture has changed.

It was just two seasons ago that the Dodgers were in the playoffs. They eliminated the Cardinals in the first round of post-season play and were set to begin the next round against the dreaded Philadelphia Phillies.

The night before the first pitch, the entire plot around the Dodgers shifted.

The early headlines seemed almost benign: Frank and Jamie McCourt had separated after many years of marriage. The flacks tried to sell the idea that it was an amicable split.

But nobody who knew anything about the McCourts believed that. Certainly not the staff at Dodger Stadium, who been witnessing icy relations between the team's two bosses – and a public charade of togetherness -- for far too long.

In their heart of hearts, those who live at the stadium all summer -- and wear their loyalty to the team on their faces -- had to know that the jig was up.

Soon we all found out that the two sides had lawyered up for an epic fight.

Then we found out about the couple's obscene spending, the eccentric behavior and, worst of all, the precarious situation of the Dodgers' team on the field.

Matt Kemp, the outfielder, has led the league in home runs most of the year. He's a great story. But all season long, Frank McCourt has had to borrow money to pay him.

This July 4 weekend, instead of playing for a possible shot at the World Series, the Dodgers are battling just to stay out of last place. They landed in the cellar last week, behind even the rebuilding San Diego Padres.

And they are in bankruptcy court. All because Frank McCourt wants to hold on to the team, over the wishes of baseball itself, and many of the fans.

Last week, columnist Bob Ryan in the Boston Globe wrote how happy that city was to be rid of the McCourts – and how he felt sorry for LA and its Dodgers.

It's hard to imagine a more disastrous stewardship of a major league team, Ryan said, heaping pity on us. Everyone, he said, would benefit from the McCourts leaving baseball completely.

Sadly, sometimes it takes the dispassionate view of an outsider to point out something true.

For KCRW, this has been Kevin Roderick with LA Observed.

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