Mad Mel and the McCourts

Hosted by

This is Kevin Roderick with LA Observed for KCRW.

Will Mel Gibson's embarrassing rants at his ex-girlfriend end his long film career?

I don't know and I don't care. I'll leave that for the Hollywood pundits to hash out.

Let's pose a new question instead. And that is, which juicy local story will end up meaning more for Angelenos: Mad Mel's offensive threats or the dirt we're slowly learning about the Bickering McCourts of Dodger Stadium.

We all certainly know more about Gibson. His racist anger has been all over TV and the web, usually broken up by a string of bleeps.

For those of us in the media the shock value of Gibson's outbursts has been a great boon in a slow season for news.

The website Radar Online has been manipulating the story masterfully. The site has the girlfriend in its pocket and a lucrative half hour of Gibson on tape in a locked drawer somewhere.

They're releasing the Gibson Tapes a little at a time, just enough each day to keep the public coming back to hear the latest new outrage.

Not that the ex-girlfriend is an innocent in any of this. Her voice is in on the tapes too, and there've been suggestions that her side has done some editing.

But it's Gibson's screaming and panting that we'll all remember.

If only the McCourt story had sound effects too.

To catch you up briefly, Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the Dodgers six years ago and moved from Boston to LA.

They swept in hoping to be A-list Westside celebrities. A little like Gibson, maybe.

They bought mansions in Holmby Hills and Malibu, hired drivers, entertained politicians and put their kids on the payroll.

That is, they acted like they thought a model LA celebrity couple would. And the media ate it up, right up until last year's baseball playoffs.

Just before the Dodgers were eliminated, Frank and Jamie lawyered up and began attacking each other. It's been open warfare ever since.

This week's new disclosure, from ESPN's magazine, is that the happy couple portrayed in the media has been a sham all along.

The normal people who work at Dodger Stadium saw right away that the McCourts more or less hated each other. The employees love working in Chavez Ravine and dreaded the day that the truth came out, knowing it would change everything.

And that it has. About half the staff has been fired. Frank's gotten rid of anyone even remotely suspected of being loyal to Jamie.

Revelations leaked from both sides make the McCourt's look, in the end, like ridiculous bumpkins. Like a 21st century version of the Beverly Hillbillies.

It's all kind of amusing in a sitcom sort of way, just like the Mel Gibson tapes can be entertaining if you're not one of the people being slurred.

But Dodger fans aren't laughing. They see their team as a civic treasure not to be trifled with.

In fact, when the McCourt divorce goes to trial next month, I wouldn't be surprised if the cheers at Dodger Stadium are drowned out by BLEEP and BLEEP.

To tell us what you think of Mel Gibson or the McCourts, go to to post a comment.

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