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McCourt far from blue

Failed bid nothing to be upset about

Frank McCourt loves Fenway Park. He grew up a Red Sox fan, but deep down he thought the best place for the Sox was on his beautiful property on the South Boston waterfront, where he would have built a new ballpark had he won the bidding for the team three years ago.

The consolation prize wasn't bad. He bought the Dodgers from News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group in January, and though he still has homes in the Boston area, his loyalty now is Dodger blue.

"You can't split your loyalties like that in this business," McCourt said. "We owe our unconditional loyalty to the fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and that's what we're giving."

Although McCourt hasn't made plans for the development of his Seaport property public yet, he said he never had negotiations concerning the real estate with current Sox ownership -- John W. Henry, Tom Werner, and president Larry Lucchino. McCourt and Sox ownership were seen at a Brookline restaurant just a few days after the Sox lost to the Yankees in Game 7 of last year's American League Championship Series.

"The week of the ALCS was actually the week we made our deal with Fox [to buy the Dodgers]," McCourt said. "Larry called me and said, `Congratulations. We'd like to get together with you and help you in any way we can.'

"On Friday, the day after the scene of the [Game 7] crime, Larry called me. I can't tell you how impressed I was. I said, `Let's meet for lunch out in Brookline.' We met [at a restaurant] with John, Larry, and myself. Believe me, if we were talking business, it's not the place we would have been discussing something like that."

McCourt has certainly moved on after his failed attempt to buy the Red Sox. "At the time we believed in it passionately," he said. "We felt it was the best plan and like I've said, we gave it our best shot. As my grandmother said, `It wasn't meant to be.' And really, to own a franchise with the storied history of the Dodgers is beyond my wildest dreams. Another door opened and it was the Dodgers. To be at the helm is amazing." The McCourts have bought a home in Los Angeles and their youngest of four sons is attending school there, while two other sons are in college in Boston.

Whatever happens to his waterfront real estate, McCourt knows this much: "Great site for a ballpark. We thought so. HOK [Sport in Kansas City, which builds ballparks] told me it was the single best ballpark site in America. And they designed Pac Bell. We believed it was a great site, but not everyone agreed. Having said that, I've got to tell you that John, Larry, and Tom have done things since they've bought [Fenway] that are fantastic. The fans really appreciate it."

Quick relief
As expected, Scott Williamson was activated prior to last night's game and first baseman/third baseman/catcher Andy Dominique was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket. Williamson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation May 21. He has a 1.69 ERA (three earned runs in 16 innings) in 14 appearances. Manager Terry Francona said Williamson will take his normal spot as one of the team's setup men.

Dominique experienced ups and downs in his stint in Boston, helping the Sox beat Seattle May 30 with a tying single in the eighth. But he made a critical error in an 8-1 loss to the Padres Wednesday night.

"It was an unbelievable experience," said Dominique of his six-game stint in which he hit .200 with one RBI. "I got to play with some of the best players in the game, alongside Hall of Famers." Dominique said that general manager Theo Epstein and Francona emphasized the tying hit when informing him of his demotion.

With the team about to open a series at Coors Field in Denver Tuesday, Francona wants to keep an extra pitcher, knowing the ballpark can eat up pitching staffs.

Two on, one off
Nomar Garciaparra got the night off after playing two consecutive days. Francona reported that his star shortstop had a "pretty good spot" on the side of his left knee, where he was hit by a pitch Thursday night. "That's his fault. He's got no fat," kidded Francona. Francona said Garciaparra was available for pinch-hitting duties . . . Ramiro Mendoza will face Florida State League hitters tomorrow . . . Bill Mueller, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 25 with right knee imflammation, is expected to meet up with the team in San Francisco next week to begin hitting. Mueller is expected to return to the lineup near the All-Star break . . . Trot Nixon went 1 for 3 with an RBI in his second rehab start in Pawtucket last night. Brian Daubach also had an RBI single in the PawSox' 5-2 loss to Durham. Nixon stroked his RBI single in the second inning and also walked in the fourth. He fielded only one ball in the outfield . . . Through the first four games of the homestand, Sox starters have teamed up to go 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA. That includes starts by Pedro Martinez (no runs, 8 innings), Bronson Arroyo (one earned run in five innings), Curt Schilling (two earned runs in seven innings), and Derek Lowe (no earned runs in seven innings last night) . . . Kevin Youkilis reached base twice last night and has reached in 21 of 22 games and his last 11 . . . The Sox are 32-0 when leading after eight innings . . . Dodgers great Sandy Koufax was seated in the first row near the Dodgers' dugout . . . Dodgers third base coach Glenn Hoffman was in Orange County, Fla., for his son's high school graduation. 

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