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But baseball has never had a situation quite like this. In the case of the Montreal Expos, MLB purchased the team in 2002 from Jeffrey Loria, who in turn bought the Florida Marlins from John Henry, who in turn headed the group that acquired the Boston Red Sox. And last year, Selig dispatched MLB executive vice president John McHale Jr. to Texas in a behind-the-scenes move to assist the sale of the cash-strapped Texas Rangers from Hicks to a group headed by Nolan Ryan.
"It had a great ending," Selig said. "Everybody walked away happy."
Selig has broad power to act under the Major League Constitution, the agreement that binds the 30 teams. Article II states his functions include "to investigate, either upon complaint or upon the commissioner's own initiative, any act, transaction or practice charged, alleged or suspected to be not in the best interests of the national game of baseball."
While his power over players is limited by the union and its labor contract, he has full authority over teams and management employees.
"It is true when people come into baseball, they do sign a document that they will not sue baseball. That's been true forever," Selig said.
Some have tried, including George Steinbrenner of the Yankees and Charlie Finley of the Oakland Athletics.
"Yeah, and they've lost," Selig quickly added.
Team executives have speculated over the next Dodgers head. Among the candidates mentioned were McHale, former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals chief executive Stan Kasten, former Giants executive vice president Corey Busch and former San Diego Padres president Dick Freeman.
They will have a mountain of debt to climb out of: $384 million of long-term debt on the team and $73 million on the Chavez Ravine land where Dodger Stadium sits, a lawyer familiar with the Dodgers' financial arrangements said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced those figures.
Fans primarily care about one number: wins. They see McCourt's ouster as a positive.
"He's out! Great news!" season-ticket holder Martin McGinty said, giving a thumbs-up.
"I was hoping something like this would happen. Everything they've done has been terrible," he said of the McCourt family. "They didn't spend money on anything."
For those who say they bleed Dodger blue, the descent of the team has been upsetting.
"I'm saddened by the whole issue. And I think I'm in shock about the whole issue," said former pitcher Don Newcombe, now a special adviser to the chairman. "I don't know where I'd be or what I would have been without the Dodgers.
"I was playing in the Negro Leagues in 1946," Newcombe said. "The Dodgers in that era were unique. It was different than any other sports entity. And they became the biggest entity in major league sports, and were responsible for so many things happening. The Dodgers really started the civil rights movement."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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