- Associated Press - Monday, June 27, 2011

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court Monday, blaming Major League Baseball for refusing to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal that owner Frank McCourt was counting on to keep the troubled team afloat.

The Chapter 11 financing permits the Dodgers to use $150 million for daily operations and buys time for the team to seek a media deal and ensure the team’s long-term financial stability, the Dodgers said in a news release.

“There will be no disruption to the Dodgers day-to-day business, the baseball team, or to the Dodger fans,” the statement said.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced last week that he wouldn’t approve a Dodgers television deal with Fox Sports that reportedly was worth up to $3 billion. That left McCourt cash-starved and facing the prospect of missing the team payroll this Thursday, leading to an MLB takeover.

**FILE** A man leaves the gift shop at Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, on June 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (Associated Press)
**FILE** A man leaves the gift shop at Dodger Stadium, home of ... more >

McCourt defended his running of the team, saying he had made it profitable and successful. He also said the Dodgers have tried for almost a year to get Selig to approve the Fox transaction.

“He’s turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today,” McCourt’s statement said.

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney did not immediately respond to an email message. McCourt spokesman Steve Sugarman said Frank McCourt would not be available to comment Monday.

Among the 40 largest unsecured claims listed in the bankruptcy filing are former Dodger slugger Manny Ramirez at nearly $21 million; Andruw Jones at $11 million; pitcher Hiroki Kuroda at $4.4 million; and the Chicago White Sox at $3.5 million.

According to the bankruptcy filing, the Dodgers began experiencing “cash flow difficulties” last year due to declining attendance, paying about $22 million in deferred compensation and revenue sharing.

The team’s vice chairman, Jeffrey Ingram, said in court documents that the Dodgers are “on the verge of running out of cash, the result of a perfect storm of events.”

“He’s clearly running very low on options right now,” said David Carter, executive director of USC Sports Business Institute. “What seems to be the case is a high-stakes chess game Frank McCourt and MLB, and he’s running out of pieces. This is one of the uglier weeks in Dodger history.”

McCourt had hoped Selig would sign off on the transaction that would have provided him with $385 million up front and was vital to a binding settlement reached between him and his ex-wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt.

The McCourts have been embroiled in a contentious divorce where their lavish spending habits were detailed in court documents. The former couple took out more than $100 million in loans from Dodger-related businesses, records show.

In April, MLB took the extraordinary step of assuming control of the troubled franchise. Former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer was appointed to monitor the team on behalf of Selig, who said he took the action because he was concerned about the team’s finances and how the Dodgers are being run.

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