Originally posted on Dodgers Rumors  |  Last updated 2/24/12

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Frank McCourt leaves Los Angeles County Superior Court after day one of a non-jury divorce trial on August 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The trial, being presided over by Judge Scott M. Gordon in California Superior Court, is to decide whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team or his estranged wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt still has ownership stake in the team. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

I know we are all counting down the days until we can rid ourselves of Frank McCourt. I don't want to get into the McCourt groove too much here because frankly I am trying to have a really good day and talking about Frank will screw that plan in every which way possible. It's funny to me though, you know, how little we actually hear or have to talk about McCheap these days. We are about to start the seventh inning stretch folks, as we are about sixty days away from having a new owner in place. With that being said the original list of nine bidders is expected to be cut to five possibly by the end of today, and as of now we know that list is already down to six.

Peter O'Malley the former owner of the Dodgers has officially withdrawn his bid to purchase his former team. O'Malley who recently partnered up with the multi-billionaire South Korean company E-Land to bolster his bid and secure the financial backing he needed. For reasons not quite known yet, O'Malley has bowed out. O'Malley said recently that he was concerned that even if he placed the highest bid he did not think he would be able to pull out a win. Puzzling right? Did Selig have a heart to heart with O'Malley? Did McCourt threaten his life? Did E-Land change their mind? Who knows? I gotta believe there is more than meets the eye here and I doubt we ever really find out. I will say that this is likely not the end of O'Malley, as he may partner up with one of the five finalists or as O'Malley recently told The Times, he remains interested in assisting the new owner.

So that brings us to eight right? Next up on the McCourt you can shove it block is Rick Caruso and Joe Torre. Yep they are also officially out of the running. I kinda like this, sadly as much as I like Torre I had some concerns about what would happen with him running the whole show. More notably Ned Colletti sticking around for another five years. So before all you Torre lovers explode, guess I should tell you why they bowed out. Ready for this? Parking lots. Caruso was simply not happy with the idea of McCourt not including the parking lots and so there you have it. Caruso and the other bidders were made to believe that the parking lots would be negotiable in the sale. For now Bill Shaikin says that Caruso could re-enter the bidding if McCourt includes the parking lots in the sale. Until then though you gotta assume that Caruso's decision to withdraw his bid means that Frank has every intention of keeping the parking lots and building God knows what on them. Fingers crossed. Yikes. Oh the mere thought of McCourt keeping the parking lots absolutely scares the hell out of me.

You think it would be simple right? A boycott McCourt theory. If none of the bidders include in their bid the ability for Frank to keep the parking lots, Frank would then be forced to sell them right? Well that would be all fine and dandy except it appears Frank has at least one bid in hand that allows him to keep the parking lots. Fail. So who is it? I got one hunch and one hunch only. Drumroll please...Stan Kroenke you may have just screwed this whole thing up buddy. Alright so why do I speculate (keyword speculate) that it's Kroenke? Simple, he's the only one with something to gain by allowing McCourt to keep the parking lots. As you may know it's been widely speculated that Kroenke is going to team with McCourt to build a football stadium to allow him to move his Rams back to Los Angeles. Now before you get any evil thoughts brewing, remember one thing, this is Frank McCourt. He's ultimately looking for the most money, period. He would sell his first born child to a sweat shop in a third world country if he thought it would pad his wallet a bit more. My guess is McCourt is trying to build the ultimate hand so that somehow someway he comes out ahead when the dust settles. I would not be surprised at all if one of the five finalists blows him away enough to include the parking lots and say deuces to Frank McCourt.

So now the number is 7, and well I hate to say it but I told you so. Josh Macciello is officially out of the running and he will not be one of the five finalists. Nothing personal but I never took him serious. By far the underdog in this whole thing, and as much as I love an underdog, I just don't think a marriage between Macciello and the Dodgers is what's best for the franchise long-term. He's obviously not happy and has plenty to say lately about being screwed, which he probably was. Oh well between McCourt and Selig this guy never really had a chance even though he was rumored to have submitted the highest bid.

And then there were six? One to go to get to the five finalists, that is of course assuming that the list of nine was accurate and there have not been any additional bidders added. I could speculate all day long as to who it could or should be, but ultimately I have no inside information or the slightest clue as to who it might be. I will say though that the Magic Johnson group is still looking solid and has to be the clear front-runner so far. So here's my list of the assumed six finalists.

1. Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten/Mark Walter
2. The Disney Family/Stanley Gold
3. Stan Kroenke (current Rams, Avalanche, Nuggets, and Arsenal owner)
4. Mark Utay/Leo Hindry/Tom Barrack
5. Alan Casden
6. Steven Cohen

It will be interesting to see if O'Malley, Torre and/or Caruso team up with any of these guys to create a powerhouse bid. O'Malley has been linked to the Disney group for months now so who knows? For now we wait. I will say that the best thing about this is the clock is ticking and McCourt has no way to weasel out of this one. Word should surface here hopefully in the next few days on who the five finalists are, until then be patient. A new day is on the horizon Dodger fans, see that light at the end of the tunnel yet?
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