Local Developer Hangs Up His Dodgers' Cap Two Days before Owner Files for Bankruptcy
■ Had Hoped to Make a Difference In Resuscitating Embattled Los Angeles Baseball Organization
Prominent Malibu commercial developer, area civic leader and Los Angeles politico Steve Soboroff signed up for a job in late April that many a fervent baseball fan fantasizes about—a major official of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Soboroff's tenure as vice chair of the Dodgers organization ended almost two months to the day after it started when he announced his resignation from the post last Saturday.
The self-described lifelong Dodgers fan had publicly indicated that he was blindsided by the Major League Baseball organization decision to take over the team the day after Soboroff came on board.
But he took up team owner Frank McCourt's cause until McCourt readied to file for Chapter 11 to try to salvage his tenuous ownership or drive the last nail in the corporate coffin.
Despite Soboroff's renowned reputation as a "doer" and a "fixer," even the most diehard Dodgers fans and sports commentators were increasingly voicing approval of the MLB takeover, largely because of a perception, rightly or wrongly, that the Mc- Courts' personal lives and lifestyles have had an adverse effect on the team.
Soboroff wrote McCourt last weekend in a communication posted on the team's website, "It is not possible for me to effectively work on the initiatives and contributions that you had hired me to implement."
Soboroff, 62, shared a note with everyone on his email list from Patrick Escobar of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics Organization that may have summed up the feelings of many.
Escobar said, "Thanks for even attempting to help the Dodgers for the benefit of our great city. On to other challenges."
What happens next? The L.A. Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday that might buy McCourt some time.
Last week, Major League Baseball rejected the team's proposed TV deal that is interwoven with the McCourts' divorce settlement.
In a statement on Monday, team spokespersons said Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection should enable the organization to address its immediate requirements.
As for the long-term, it depends who one asks, when one asks, and, even then, all answers come with a disclaimer.
BY ANNE SOBLE