When asked whether he was concerned about his dealings with Frank McCourt, the man appointed by Major League Baseball to oversee the Dodgers referred to his experience in international relations.
"I've dealt with the North Koreans," Tom Schieffer said Wednesday during his first LA visit since he was appointed to monitor the Dodgers. "I look forward to talking to Mr. McCourt and hopefully we can have a nice visit and see what it is he's concerned about.''
Schieffer was U.S. ambassador to Australia and Japan under former President George W. Bush and is now senior counsel at a law firm. Judging by McCourt's defiance, his negotiating skills might be useful as he begins his new role.
During his meeting Wednesday in New York with MLB execs, McCourt said Schieffer's appointment has created "chaos.''
"It's just un-American to me," McCourt said on a conference call with reporters. "No one handed me the Dodgers and no one is going to take it away from me. Sending someone to seize the Dodgers is absolutely wrong."
Schieffer listened to McCourt's conference call with reporters before his own news conference at LAX. The former Rangers president said his role is to monitor the Dodgers on behalf of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, whom he said is in charge of the team.
Selig was not at Wednesday's meeting in New York.
Asked if he anticipated any problems with McCourt, Schieffer said, "I hope that there won't be friction but that's really his choice."
MLB seized control of the Dodgers last week after it was revealed that McCourt had arranged a $30 million loan from Fox to meet payroll.
MLB, McCourt at Odds Over TV Deal
McCourt also discussed a pending television deal Wednesday with Fox, the team's television partner. McCourt claimed that Selig had vetoed the proposed TV deal with Fox, which he claimed would provide financial stability for the Dodgers.
Terms of the deal were not made public.
Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations, issued a statement correcting McCourt's account of their meeting, calling it "unfortunate'' that McCourt choose to publicize their discussion.
"It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourt's public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, commissioner Selig did not 'veto' a proposed transaction,'' Manfred said, referring to the proposed TV deal.
"Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances."
Manfred denied McCourt's assertion that the Dodgers had been seized, saying Schieffer has been appointed as a monitor and that McCourt was provided paperwork from Selig describing Schieffer's role.
"In our meeting, no one from the Dodgers asked a single, specific question about the terms of the document setting forth the monitor's role,'' Manfred said.