Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fight For Your Right To Own

What a crazy day in Rangers history. The 14-hour court auction to determine the new owner of the baseball team ranks just behind the 10-cent beer night fiasco in Cleveland during the 1970's (where drunk Cleveland fans stormed the field to party causing such a fiasco, the game had to be stopped) in terms of unstable moments for a franchise.

Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan had both been planning on leading a group to acquire the Rangers and most people thought the ownership group would move into place at the beginning of the season. Greenberg was even on local sports radio talking about his philosophy about owning a team.

Then the poop flew right through the fan.

Turns out the previous owner Tom Hicks had taken a few liberties in his financial dealings including leveraging the Ballpark in Arlington (home of the Rangers) as one of his holdings during business moves. The problem is, Hicks didn't actually own the ballpark.


Now Hicks was declaring bankruptcy and trying to sell off the Rangers without consulting all of the creditors he owed. Naturally, that did not sit well with those whom Hicks owed money to.

The following months, also known as the 2010 baseball season, turned into such a mishmash of back and forth ownership proceedings, it's a wonder that the baseball team could actually play games.

But play the Rangers have and with the help the of mid-season trade for Cliff Lee (NO idea how that was able to happen with a team technically owned by Major League Baseball), Texas is now the overwhelming favorites to win the AL West and go to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Yesterday, Greenberg and Ryan went to court to legally attain that team they'd been waiting to get for a year. Alas, a new problem arose.

Mark Cuban had decided he wanted the team.

Oh yeah, Mark Cuban, the crazy, intense, pontentially explosive owner of the Dallas Mavericks wanted to get into baseball. He had tried once with the Chicago Cubs, but had been denied by the other frumpy baseball owners who were no doubt frightened of what kind of change Cuban might bring to their stubbornly evolving sport.

So like a jilted lover, Cuban was going to go after another team and dare the owners to try and vote him down again. And therein lay the issue:

Cuban is a smart businessman, but he's also a very emotional owner. If he had made up his mind that he was going to get the Rangers, there might be no way to stop him because he'd possibly pour his entire fortune just to win the bidding. He'd been denied and this was his chance to thumb his nose at the baseball boys club by resurfacing.

It took 14 long hours of court bidding before Greenberg and Ryan threw out a bid that Cuban refused to top. By the time the new owners were celebrating, only people on the west coast would have been awake to hear the news.

And that's what I love about this process. Greenberg and Ryan didn't just walk up and purchase a team with ownership trouble. They fought for this team. You don't get into a bidding war unless you really want something and they went to the wall to hold off Mark Cuban. As a Rangers fan, I'm beyond happy because I see an ownership group that are proud to own this team. When you're proud of something you tend to take care of it.

I would have been happy with Mark Cuban too, he's already proven what he can do by taken a joke of a Mavericks team (previously owned by scumbag buisnessman Ross Perot Jr. who only owned the team to finalize a real estate deal and make a gazillion dollars) and turned that pile of garbage into an NBA contender. But Greenberg and Ryan wanted the Rangers longer.

Greenberg has been visiting the Rangers clubhouse for the better part of a year to get to know his players. He really wants to be a part of this thing. Now he is. And it's about damn time. Finally, the Rangers can look forward instead of running in place.

Oh the times, they are a changin'.

1 comment:

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