Major League Baseball’s appointment of J. Thomas Schieffer to monitor day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers will not have an impact on the team’s play, manager Don Mattingly said.
The selection of Schieffer, the former president of the Texas Rangers, was announced yesterday by Commissioner Bud Selig, who said last week that his office was taking over operations of the Dodgers because of “deep concerns regarding the finances” of the club.
The Dodgers were 8-10 before Selig announced on April 20 that he would appoint a representative to oversee the club’s front office. Since then, they’ve won four of six games.
“The fact MLB came in doesn’t really change anything for us,” Mattingly told reporters before last night’s 5-4 loss to the Florida Marlins. “It doesn’t change anything about what we do or how we get ready, making pitches, making plays, being in the right spot, playing baseball.”
Schieffer, 63, joined Washington-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a senior counsel in September and advises clients in global energy, trade, transportation, defense and intelligence industries, according to the law firm’s website. He is a former Texas state representative and U.S. Ambassador to Australia and Japan.
“I love baseball and baseball called,” Schieffer said in a statement posted on the firm’s website. “I look forward to helping Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers through this difficult period.”
Schieffer, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, was elected at the age of 25 to the Texas House of Representatives and served three terms as a Democrat before going to law school at the University of Texas and beginning a legal and business career focused on oil and gas, and investment matters.
He was an early investor with George W. Bush and Edward Rose in the group that bought the Texas Rangers in 1989. He served as team president from 1991 to 1999.
In 2001, President Bush appointed Schieffer as U.S. Ambassador to Australia, a post in which he served from 2001 to 2005. Schieffer then was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Japan and served in that capacity from 2005 to 2009. In 2009, he made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas.
‘Benefit the Dodgers’
“We are very fortunate to have someone of Tom Schieffer’s stature monitor the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers on behalf of Major League Baseball,” Selig said in a statement. “The many years that he spent managing the operations of a successful franchise will benefit the Dodgers and Major League Baseball as a whole.”
Baseball’s announcement last week that it was going to appoint someone to run the franchise came days after the Los Angeles Times reported that owner Frank McCourt took a $30 million loan from News Corp.’s Fox network to meet payroll.
Ownership of the team has been a focus of a fight between McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, who divorced in October after almost 31 years of marriage. The McCourts bought the team from News Corp. in 2004 for $430 million.