Day Two. The Dodgers are 5.5 games out of the wild card.

Frank McCourt took the witness stand late Tuesday, launching his campaign for sole custody of the Dodgers.

He is short, with a jutting chin and a reedy voice that betrays his Boston roots. Sitting straight-backed in the witness chair, he answered questions with the clipped efficiency of an experienced witness.

He must be the home team, because he started off on defense. He fielded questions from David Boies, who has a reputation for turning witnesses against themselves, for getting them to put the noose around their own necks and then step off the ledge.

In the first thirty minutes or so on Tuesday, Frank seemed more than up to the challenge.

It should not have come to this. No sensible person would put trust their entire fortune to a David Boies cross-examination. But Frank is a risk-taker, well used to taking absolutist positions and sticking to them until he wins unconditional victory.

After all, he made his fortune in court. He fought 11 long years to win ownership of 24 acres of Boston waterfront, which formed the basis for his highly leveraged purchase of the Dodgers. He is comfortable here.

He seemed almost robotic on the stand, volunteering almost nothing and answering questions with the precision of a good lawyer. Explaining why he couldn't remember certain events, McCourt said, “I was highly programmed at that point in time.” 

He seems to have meant “over-scheduled,” but the adjective fits. He does seem like a machine.

Remember the talk about how both Jamie and Frank wanted to avoid a trial for the sake of their sons? How they wanted to spare their sons the embarrassment? Well, forget that. At this point, they are beyond the reach of shame.

In fact, Frank must be eager to testify, to unburden himself after a long silence. Finally, he can defeat his wife, absolutely and completely, and get back to baseball.

Though he and Boies are only warming up, Jamie's lawyers claimed a couple of small victories Tuesday. It will take many more hours of testimony before it's clear how much Frank helps or hurts his cause.

Full McCourt coverage:

Day 11:

Wasser The Dealmaker Versus Susman The Carnivore

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Day 10:

Dodger Execs Circle The Wagons Around Frank

Mediation Day:

A Long Day Ends Without A Deal

Day 9:

A Settlement Looms As Silverstein's Agony Ends

Day 8:

The Screwing of Larry Silverstein

The Return of Silverstein's Boner, In Which Two Interpretations Are Explained

Day 7:

Silverstein's Boner

Reynolds Cafferata's Dodger Dreams

Day 6:

Frank's Four Self-Defeating Arguments

Steve Susman Sharpens His Knives

Jamie Dummies Up

Week 1 Wrap-Up:

The Desperate Hunt For Exhibit A, Or, How To Blame The Conquistadors

Day 5:

The Return Of Vladimir Shpunt

Jamie Takes The Stand

Day 4:

Boies Puts Frank On The Run

The Billable Hours Mount

Day 3:

Nervous? Frank McCourt Blinks 75 Times/Min.

Screwing The Fans

Day 2:

Steve Susman Goes On The Attack

McCourt vs. Boies

Day 1:

Trial Opens With A Win For Jamie

The Screaming Meanie

Even more McCourt:

L.A. Weekly cover story, Dodger Dog, from August 

LA Weekly