Strike Zone

It’s clear now that Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is going to fight this week’s attempt by Major League Baseball to take over the operations of the troubled franchise. Just how that struggle may play out is far from clear.

But this much is certain: Peter Drucker, who loved baseball and once advised the Cleveland Indians, would have said that McCourt struck out long ago as a leader.

Strike 1: “To trust a leader, it is not necessary to like him,” Drucker wrote. “Nor is it necessary to agree with him. Trust is the conviction that the leader means what he says. . . . A leader’s actions and a leader’s professed beliefs must be congruent, or at least compatible. Effective leadership — and again this is very old wisdom — is not based on being clever; it is based primarily on being consistent.”

[EXPAND More]How consistent has McCourt been? He says he has been working with the neighbors around Dodger Stadium on security — an issue that has been in the spotlight since the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow on March 31 in a Chavez Ravine parking lot. But “If that’s so, why do so many residents feel ignored, and why were they telling me . . . that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears ever since McCourt upped the parking fee to $15 and drove hooligans into the neighborhoods?” Times columnist Steve Lopez has asked.

Strike 2: Anyone running an enterprise must “put the common good of the enterprise above his own self-interest,” Drucker wrote.

McCourt, for his part, has touted plans to pour money into the Dodgers. “I think it’s really important that the club invest in the long term,” he said. “There’s no question about that.” But in reality, according to the Los Angeles Times, he and his ex-wife, Jamie, “directed more than $100 million from team revenues toward a lavish personal lifestyle.”

Strike 3: Leadership “is mundane, unromantic, and boring,” Drucker wrote. “Its essence is performance.”

And how exactly have the Dodgers performed under McCourt’s leadership? McCourt needed a $30 million loan from Fox TV last week to meet the team’s first payroll of the season. What’s more, the Times reported, season-ticket sales have fallen from 27,000 in 2007 to barely 17,000 this year.

What do you think? Should MLB take over the Dodgers, or does McCourt deserve another turn at bat?[/EXPAND]