Is American Pastime Embracing Un-American Concepts?

Baseball has long been labeled as America’s pastime, but is the American pastime currently embracing Un-American concepts? “Un-American” is a pejorative term of United States political discourse which is applied to people or institutions in the United States viewed as deviating from U.S. norms.

The writer of this article is questioning the view that what may be happening to baseball in the Los Angeles Dodger bankruptcy case might be considered as nothing less than Un-American. Maybe the word is too strong, but a federal bankruptcy court judge last Friday rejected the Los Angeles Dodger’s plan to borrow $150 million from a hedge fund in order to pay-off its creditors. The judge instead ordered the owner of the Dodgers, Frank McCourt, to accept Major League Baseball’s (MLB) offer for a loan of the same amount but with better terms. Judge Kevin Gross stated the loan could not lead to the control of the team. 

MLB’s commissioner, Bud Selig, has been having a running battle with Frank McCourt since he bought the Dodgers in 2004. Selig has made numerous comments about McCourt and his wife’s extravagant lifestyle of luxury, and he has as much as accused McCourt of skullduggery. Selig’s accusations came when Fox television made a deal that would have solved the Dodger’s financial woes. The deal would have provided an upfront loan of $385 million. Selig nixed the deal saying the loan would enrich McCourt and his wife and their extravagant lifestyle, and the television deal was not in the best interest of baseball and the Dodgers.

Whether or not you agree with McCourt’s flamboyant lifestyle is a matter of personal choice, but if an owner of a business is not breaking any laws, is the way an individual private owner runs a business morally and legally subservient to a group? If McCourt has committed skullduggery, surely there is criminal laws that have been broken. Why is Selig not seeking prosecution of McCourt instead of seeking to gain control of the team’s finances?

The judge said the loan was not to lead to control, but who is going to monitor the level of control? Giving MLB the financial strings is already giving them a form of control in being able to ask how, when and why the money is to be spent. Nevertheless, control is not the main factor in this discussion of being Un-American. The economic philosophy behind the desire to obtain control is.

Whether or not it was the intent of the judge, the results in favoring the group of MLB over private ownership of the Dodgers can be perceived as a victory for collectivism. Collectivism is defined as any philosophic, political, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human in some collective group and the priority of group goals over individual goals. On the surface, the concept seems very much like a good idea for the group, but when the idea violates individual rights, in reality, the idea can be very Un-American.

MLB operates as a corporation. Corporatism refers to a form of collectivism that views the whole as being greater than the sum of its individual parts, and gives priority to group rights over individual rights.

The whole nature of the MLB is to promote the group as a whole, to protect some kind of perceived image the group must protect. The Commissioner has been hired by the group to protect its image so they can sell the image to the American people. The only thing wrong with that concept is that it is all about money and protecting a small group’s perception of what they think is right for the game. The group seems to care less about individual rights than it does about end results.

The two opposing philosophies in this case are diametrically working against one another. McCourt represents the American time honored right of private enterprise and Selig represents an opposing force which wants to absorb individual rights for the benefit of his group. In this case, collectivism just won a major battle.

To compensate for the move made by MLB on the television contract, McCourt used one of his individual rights by filing for bankruptcy protection. He lost his appeal to the bankruptcy court, hopefully, because the judge thought the best financial solution for McCourt’s business was the MLB loan.

 If you need a bankruptcy lawyer, contact us here and you will be directed to an attorney who can help answer any questions you may have about bankruptcy laws.


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