It's probably gauche to rank the relative awesomeness of divorces, but Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are having a really good one. Today the LA Times reports that the couple hired a now-71 year old man with three degrees in physics to transmit positive energy to the Dodgers from his home in the Boston suburbs. Vladimir Shpunt, a Russian expat who "knows next to nothing about baseball" and has only been to one Dodgers game, worked for the team for five years. Jamie's divorce attorney says he was given "a stipend, plus a bonus of 'certainly six figures and even higher' depending on whether the Dodgers won the National League West title and how far the team advanced in the playoffs."
Shpunt says he is not a magician, but while doing research in Russia he "discovered that his hands generated much more energy than the average person's," and later found he could heal the sick, even from a distance. He admits that his methods are not foolproof--his negotiator says he can increase the odds of winning by 10 to 15%. You do the math on the McCourts' first two seasons: the Dodgers made the playoffs in 2004, but lost 91 games the next year. In an email to Jamie at the end of that terrible 2005 season, Shpunt's negotiator wrote "V believes without his help this team would have lost about 15 more games."
Shpunt stopped working for the Dodgers in 2008, and the LAT says his employment was "hidden even from the team's top executives." And of course: "Through their representatives, Frank said it was Jamie's idea to hire him and Jamie said it was Frank's." [Pictured: fellow Russian healer Rasputin]
· Dodgers tap into 'V energy' [LAT]