Schieffer hopes to be positive influence in LA
Baseball veteran looking forward to managing Dodgers' operations
LOS ANGELES -- Tom Schieffer, the former president of the Texas Rangers chosen to monitor the Dodgers franchise, said Wednesday that he hopes to make a positive difference for the organization.
"I'll put in a lot of hours, and I've made the commitment to stay until the job is done," Schieffer said at a press conference in Los Angeles. "We don't want to be disruptive, we want to be helpful.
"I hope it will give some confidence that the instability and turmoil is coming to an end, and that we are getting to the bottom of whatever the problem is. Los Angeles and Major League Baseball need the Dodgers to be a healthy franchise."
Schieffer, 63, will be in charge of the Dodgers' day-to-day operations and finances of the club, and all related entities. He will report directly to Commissioner Bud Selig.
In his position, Schieffer will approve any Dodgers financial transactions that equal or exceed $5,000.
While he has not yet seen the Dodgers' budget, Schieffer said his first order of business is to meet employees and let them know he is here to help.
"I have been in a lot of different situations in my life, and one thing that I have always found helpful is to listen -- and that is what I intend to do," Schieffer said. "I felt like I needed to come out here, so people could see me and ask questions and try to find out what I was about."
Schieffer, the Rangers' president from 1991-99 and general partner from 1994-98, helped lead the charge to get funding for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and oversaw its construction. Under former President George W. Bush, Schieffer was also a United States Ambassador to Australia and Japan.
When he got a call from Selig on Monday, Schieffer said he was happy and honored to help.
"I can't run, I can't throw and I sure can't hit, but I have had some experience in building a ballpark and I think I know what it means to create a place that is safe and where a game can be played, which is a national treasure," Schieffer said.
Selig, in a release, said he believes Schieffer's successful time managing the operations of the Rangers will benefit both the Dodgers and Major League Baseball.
"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. "Tom is a distinguished public servant who has represented the nation with excellence and has demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout his career."
Joe Torre, the former Dodgers manager and current executive vice president of MLB's baseball operations, sat at Schieffer's press conference and will help him during his time in Los Angeles.
"Joe is a great baseball guy and has been in L.A., so I hope to pick his brain and get any thoughts he may have," Schieffer said. "If you have Joe Torre available, you use him, and that is what I intend to do."
Just minutes before Schieffer held his press conference, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt spoke to the media in New York.
While McCourt has had harsh words for Selig since Major League Baseball took over operations of the Dodgers last Wednesday, Schieffer said he hopes to talk with McCourt as soon as possible.
"I look forward to talking with him, having a nice visit and seeing what he is concerned about," Schieffer said, "but I am here to help the franchise get back on its feet and be successful again, and I think that is the Commissioner's biggest concern."
Schieffer is hopeful that little friction will occur between himself and McCourt and that they can have a working relationship.
"I'm not too concerned. I've dealt with the North Koreans," Schieffer joked.
Saying he will most likely be at Dodger Stadium on Friday when the Padres come to town, Schieffer believes that he has an advantage by coming into the situation from the outside.
"I don't know all the rumors and stories, and the facts will speak for themselves," Schieffer said. "We want this franchise to focus on baseball, and the more we can do that, the better I think it will be for the Dodgers."
Quinn Roberts is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.