3rd and Long for the McCourts

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This is Kevin Roderick with LA Observed for KCRW.

In a couple of days the calendar will roll over into fall. And in much of the country that means football.

I almost never think about football, either the NFL kind or the college variety. But this fall even I'm curious which teams are starting the season on an up note and who's cold.

I'd like to say that my new interest is because I've become educated about how enormously popular the NFL is right now. TV ratings are through the roof, and the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl is just a great story.

But LA doesn't even have an NFL team, and hasn't really missed the teams that left town in the 1990's – the Raiders and the Rams.

No, for me tuning in to football is more a statement about how unstable the situation has become around Frank and Jamie McCourt and the Dodgers.

Frank and Jamie's divorce trial resumes today in a Downtown courtroom, after a two week break.

In that time the Dodgers' national profile -- and the couple's civic standing -- have been sacked for big losses.

On the field, the team that went to the playoffs the last two seasons is basically falling apart. Only a truly terrible team in Arizona is keeping the Dodgers out of last place, and by next season even that may not be enough.

Manny Ramirez, the heart of the lineup, forced a trade to Chicago by being a jerk.

Other trades swapped youngsters for aging journeymen who didn't help out. The Dodgers' brightest young hitting star, Matt Kemp, also might want to flee L.A.

And on Friday Joe Torre announced he'll step down as manager at the end of the season.

The bigger blows to the Dodgers image have come off the field, though.

For months we've been hearing how Frank and Jamie plundered the team to buy houses and dream up development schemes.

Now baseball's commissioner, the game's highest official, has become dismayed at the spectacle of the storied Dodgers being dragged down.

There's talk of pressure on the McCourts to settle the team's confused ownership status. And maybe take on a co-owner or two to bring some stability to the stadium.

ESPN ran a brutally frank column on how screwed up the Dodgers are. And the former owner, Peter O'Malley, broke years of silence to call the McCourts a civic embarrassment who should sell and get out of town while they can.

That's what you call a bad PR month.

Maybe the divorce trial will end with some kind of Hollywood-style, uplifting reconciliation. Not between Frank and Jamie, but between the bickering McCourts and the citizenry of Los Angeles.

But I wouldn't count on it.

Frank McCourt's best hope may be for the NFL to award a Los Angels franchise to an owner who's even more ill-suited to the public spotlight.

It's all enough to get even a football agnostic like me to think about pigskins and long spirals and tailgate parties.

I even thought about sitting down this weekend to watch the closest team to LA, the San Diego Chargers, play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jags are one of the teams mentioned as a possible tenant of the new LA stadium, if one is ever built.

But, just my luck, the game was blacked out by the NFL. Not enough tickets sold.

Go to KCRW.com/LAObserved and tell me what you think, about this or any column.

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