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LA Dodgers press to widen battle with baseball league

Oct 3, 2011, 11:14 a.m.
Los Angeles Dodgers batting helmets are seen in the dugout before the start of their American League MLB baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis June 27, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers said a bankruptcy judge has unfairly limited the team in its fight to prove Major League Baseball overstepped its bounds, according to new court documents filed on Monday.

The team and the league are battling for control of the Dodgers, which filed for bankruptcy in June.

The league is unfairly preventing the Dodgers from selling the valuable television rights to their games, according to the team. The Dodgers want evidence to show the league's commissioner, Bud Selig, treats other clubs differently and essentially discriminates against the team.

On Friday, Delaware bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross set aside four days of hearings and called on Selig and Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt to come answer questions about league rules and the sale of the television rights.

Gross also said the Dodgers will not be able to take discovery into other baseball teams to prevent the hearings becoming "a sideshow of all of MLB."

That decision could "unfairly impair (the Dodgers') ability to prove that the commissioner has not acted in good faith," the team said in court documents.

Some observers have said the Dodgers could gain leverage in the bankruptcy with the threat of airing other teams' financial troubles.

The Dodgers on Monday said it was critical that they be able to collect evidence on the league's dealings with other clubs.

"This will allow the court to determine whether the commissioner is using a different strike zone for the Los Angeles Dodgers than for other teams," the Dodgers said in a statement.

Gross' ruling on Friday also contained a warning to McCourt. The judge said he would strongly consider appointing a trustee to handle the team's bankruptcy if it is determined that the bankruptcy case was brought as a strategy to benefit McCourt, as the league has said.

The case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.

(Reporting by Tom Hals, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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