It's already been a rough season for the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans (on and off the field), and it looks to be getting even worse. Here's a breakdown of the you-know-what storm that's rained down on the team in just the past 24 hours.
Empty pockets: The ownership situation continues to get messier, as it becomes increasingly obvious that Frank McCourt folded his personal finances into the Dodgers' operating budget. McCourt is so short on cash that he reportedly can't fund the team's payroll for the second half of May. If he can't meet payroll, MLB would cover the expenses and almost certainly use that as justification to seize control of the franchise.
On Tuesday, McCourt appeared on sports-talk radio and took calls from fans, admitting that he lived "an excessive lifestyle" but repeatedly claimed that everything would be okay if Bud Selig would just approve that $3 billion TV contract with Fox. (The deal is reportedly worth about half that amount, however.)
Perhaps worse: MLB vice president Rob Manfred says McCourt is not cooperating with the commissioner's office as it investigates the Fox deal.
Closer crisis: Jonathan Broxton(notes) finally confirmed what many have long suspected. He's injured and it's preventing him from pitching well. On Wednesday, the Dodgers shut Broxton down and said he'll undergo a MRI exam. That is, if doctors can find a MRI tube big enough to accommodate the beefy reliever.
The night before, Broxton came in for the ninth inning of a 1-1 ballgame against the Cubs and, after retiring the leadoff man, couldn't find the plate; He walked two straight batters without throwing a strike, both runners came around to score, and the Dodgers eventually lost, 4-1.
Streak on hold: One highlight during this slog has been Andre Ethier(notes), whose hitting streak was extended to 29 games — two short of tying the team record — Tuesday night. But all of that swinging might have worn out Ethier's left elbow, as he sat out Wednesday's game versus the Cubs due to inflammation.
The team announced Ethier's scratch 40 minutes before game time, resulting in a lineup that couldn't have inspired much confidence among the Dodgers faithful. Jay Gibbons(notes) replaced Ethier at the No. 3 spot, and Jamey Carroll(notes) (.348 career slugging percentage) batted fifth after replacing Juan Uribe(notes). Minor league vet Russ Mitchell(notes) was the starting third baseman. Would it surprise you that this lineup scored only one run against Carlos Zambrano(notes) and managed six hits for the game?
Dodgers fans apparently sense a sinking ship and are trickling into Chavez Ravine in lower numbers. Yes, attendance is down throughout baseball, but the increasing amount of empty seats at Dodger Stadium are worth noting.
Did Tom Schieffer realize how deep of a mess the Dodgers were in when he accepted Selig's offer to run the team? That murky bog is only getting deeper.