WHAT A MESS!

Today the bankrupt Texas Rangers are to be auctioned off in court. The two remaining bidders are the team of Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and Rangers’ President Nolan Ryan and the team of Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane.

So which group should the team go to? Without a doubt the Ryan/Greenberg team.

Even though Ryan grew up in Houston and originally owned the nearby Round Rock Express, the AAA team of the Astros, he is an icon in Dallas having some of his best years in a Rangers uniform including firing his incredible 7th no-hitter while with them. In addition, Ryan has proven to be just as effective as a club official. Under his direction, the Rangers’ are comfortably in first place this year on their way to the playoffs. His young General Manager, Jon Daniels, has repeatedly made the kind of moves that turn around a franchise and keeps them there. At the trade deadline, he acquired Jorge Cantu to fill a gaping hole at first base and Crisitian Guzman who will capably caddy second base until Ian Kinsler returns.

The one major weakness, pitching, has been shored up through an organizational revamp led by Ryan and effective handling at the major league level by Mike Maddux. (Heat that, Doug Melvin?) One of the most important decisions made by Ryan was to retain manager Ron Washington after he admitted taking drugs. I’m sure there were some very direct behind the door discussions with Washington about the matter.  Having to change managers when the team was finally winning would have been a major distraction. The players like Washington and who knows how they would have responded to a new manager.

Then there is the Cuban team. Remember Cuban reportedly offered $1 billion to the Tribune Cos. to buy the Cubs before the team was awarded to the Ricketts family. There’s no doubt that Cuban has deep pockets and will probably outbid the Greenberg team. But his ownership would throw the team into chaos. Ryan will almost certainly resign and Cuban, with no baseball experience, will hire his own people thus immediately beginning the process of dismantling what took many frustrating years to finally reach their current level of success.

The main reason Cuban wants to buy the team is to feed his ego. While he will not purposely intend to ruin the Rangers’ his actions and inexperience will ultimately do just that.

Major League Baseball ownership does not have to accept the highest bid. So even if the Ryan/Greenberg team bid doesn’t win, they probably will still end up the owners. That will be good for the game and it will be good for the long-suffering Rangers fans who deserve better than the irresponsible Tom Hicks era.

By the way, whoever does win control of the team is still liable for the $205 million still owed to creditors including the $24.5 million still due Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod should do the team and its fans a favor by agreeing to waive this debt. It’s not like he needs the money,

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