The Dodgers didn't have the money to give salary arbitration to pitcher Randy Wolf this offseason. But they did have a few hundred thousand dollars to hand to a Russian psychic, who was hired to help the team win by sending positive energy from his home in suburban Boston.
This is according to Bill Shaikin, who lavishes every crazy angle of this story with loving detail.
According to the story, Vladimir Shpunt was introduced to Jamie McCourt, wife of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, when she was suffering from a severe eye infection. He treated her using some sort of energy field he creates with his hands.
This worked well enough that Jamie referred Shpunt to Frank, who agreed to hire the guy to watch Dodger games on TV. He would send positive energy toward Dodger Stadium from three thousand miles away.
Frank and Jamie, who, you may have heard, are getting divorced, each say that it was the other's idea. But Shaikin has an email from Frank in which he seemed to credit Shpunt with helping the Dodgers make it to the playoffs in 2008:
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"pls pass along a special 'thank you' to vlad for all of his hard work"
The Dodgers could not say precisely how much they paid Shpunt, but Jamie's attorney, Bert Fields, told Shaikin that he was given a stipend plus a six-figure bonus when the Dodgers made the post-season.
Needless to say, this is not good for either McCourt, both of whom already have enough
problems. This is quite a bit worse than putting their sons on the payroll. That was merely venal. This is insane.