Sinatra estate steps to plate in Dodgers Chapter 11

WILMINGTON, Delaware Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:34pm EDT

Nancy (L) and Tina Sinatra, daughters of the late singer Frank Sinatra pose next to portraits of their father at the dedication of the Frank Sinatra Hall at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television in Los Angeles, November 18, 2002.

Nancy (L) and Tina Sinatra, daughters of the late singer Frank Sinatra pose next to portraits of their father at the dedication of the Frank Sinatra Hall at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television in Los Angeles, November 18, 2002.

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - The estate of Frank Sinatra, a long-time Los Angeles Dodgers fan, has joined four other season ticket holders to ask a bankruptcy judge for an official say in the baseball team's future.

Nancy, Frank Jr. and Tina Sinatra and the other ticket holders are seeking recognition as an official committee to advocate on behalf of Dodger fans who generally blame team owner Frank McCourt for its financial problems.

They did not specify their concerns or motives in a filing with the Delaware bankruptcy court. But an official committee would speak on behalf of all season ticket holders, and would have some or all of its expenses for lawyers and advisers paid by the Dodgers.

The family of the singer known for such standards as "My Way" and "New York, New York" and for acting in films such as "From Here to Eternity" has held season tickets since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York for the 1958 season, according to court documents.

"The season ticket holders are the voice of all fans and therefore deserve a seat at the table," said Anthony Sabino, a law professor at Tobin College of Business at St. John's University. "One could even say they are the lifeblood of a franchise."

In a statement, the Dodgers said there is no need for an official committee of ticket holders because their interests "will not be affected by the Chapter 11 cases."

Bankrupt companies generally work hard to get the support of official committees in order to successfully reorganize.

Sinatra, who died in 1998, was known for dropping by the team's clubhouse.

Among the assets reported by the Dodgers is a pencil drawing of Frank Sinatra and former manager Tommy Lasorda.

The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June after Major League Baseball nixed a $3 billion deal for future television rights. The deal would have provided the team a much-needed infusion of cash but the league accused McCourt of using the agreement to siphon off money for his personal use.

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 Richard Chang)