- Associated Press - Saturday, August 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The local headlines blare almost daily with new details about their impending split. Court documents are rife with he said, she said disagreements and details of lavish personal spending. Yet around the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ clubhouse, the ugly split of Frank and Jamie McCourt barely registers a blip.

“It doesn’t exist to me,” said catcher Russell Martin, whose season ended earlier this month because of a hip injury.

“I don’t think anybody in here even thinks about it unless the question’s asked. It’s not like a direct impact on our team and how we play or what we do. Frank’s not going to help us throw strikes or make a nice play on defense.”

The McCourts filed for divorce last October. They haven’t agreed on much of anything during several months of expensive, high-profile legal wrangling.

The trial to decide ownership of the Dodgers is set to begin Monday in Los Angeles, with Frank McCourt claiming he’s the sole owner and Jamie arguing she owns half of the team.

Instead of Dodger baseball, the courtroom drama is likely to dominate the local headlines during the final weeks of the regular season.

“I don’t resent it,” manager Joe Torre said. “I worked for George Steinbrenner. I worked for Ted Turner. Those people didn’t necessarily pick an off day to say things.”

Maybe the team will make some news on the field, too.

The Dodgers have clawed their way back into the NL wild-card race. Their playoff hopes could be decided next week when they host contenders Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Under Frank McCourt, they’ve reached the postseason four of the last six years and played within one step of the World Series each of the past two, falling to Philadelphia in the NL championship series both times.

“That’s not easy to do,” general manager Ned Colletti said.

Outside of celebrating postseason wins, neither McCourt has had a presence in the clubhouse, leaving Torre and his coaches, along with Colletti, to run the team.

“They just handled the business side of it,” outfielder Andre Ethier said of Frank and his soon-to-be ex-wife. “It hasn’t been any of our business all year. That’s the way we’ve tried to keep it.”

Fox Corp. ran the Dodgers for six years, and the team never made the playoffs. The team hadn’t won a playoff game since the 1988 World Series before McCourt took over in 2004.

But this season has been a whiplash ride of injuries and inconsistency with the starting rotation, bullpen and defense.

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