Battle of Los Angeles begins: Dodgers owner fires wife

Well that certainly didn't take long.

Less than 24 hours after the team was bounced from the NLCS, the battle for control of the Los Angeles Dodgers quickly escalated with the news that owner Frank McCourt has fired his wife, Jamie, as the team's CEO.

The couple recently separated and both had said they do not want to cede their roles with the team. Before being shown the door, Jamie McCourt had been baseball's highest-ranked female executive.'s Jon Heyman first reported the news of the firing on Thursday:

"Jamie McCourt was fired within the last two days, according to several sources. But this is not likely to be the last she's heard from, as she has said through lawyers that she intends to stake a claim to the franchise, which may be worth a billion dollars, or more.

"Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Frank McCourt declined comment."

There are a lot of definitions for the term "irreconcilable differences," but "husband terminated wife from job" has to be at the top of the list. We all knew this could turn very ugly when the split was made public last week and with Frank making such a dramatic move, it seems certain that it won't end amicably.

On Thursday night, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported that Jamie McCourt is "believed to be lining up investors for a possible effort to buy out her husband and gain sole control of the team." In addition, "she is believed to have started calling prominent baseball figures, with the intention of arranging meetings to discuss the direction of the team."

According to the latest franchise valuations by Forbes, the Dodgers are worth $722 million. Frank McCourt's attorney says that there are documents that prove Frank owns the Dodgers 100 percent. Meanwhile, Jamie McCourt's attorney says that ownership would fall under California's community property law, which would call for a 50-50 split of the team.

It remains to be seen who is right, but for the Dodgers, their fans and Major League Baseball, this just isn't a matter of a problem between two adults. As we saw with the recent situation in San Diego — the Moores' divorce eventually forced the sale of the Padres to Jeff Moorad— a marital battle over property can certainly hurt the on-field product as it becomes much harder to spend money on free agency or even existing contracts.

The Dodgers will almost surely feel the pain and, one offseason after the saga of the Manny Ramirez(notes) saga dragged on and on, it looks like they're entering a messy soap opera with a few more consequences on the line.

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