August 05, 2010
Hall of Fame right-hander Nolan Ryan tossed 222 complete games over the course of his major league career.
That he would go the distance to buy the Texas Rangers should come as no surprise.
In what was described as a dramatic, contentious and seemingly endless auction process, a group led by Ryan and Chuck Greenberg beat out a group led by deep-pocketed Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the wee hours Thursday morning.
The winning bid — $593 million, including $385 million in cash — came in right after midnight Central time. Just as they might have done during one of Ryan's seven no-hitters, observers cheered and applauded inside a federal bankruptcy courtroom in Fort Worth, Texas.
The haggling has been going on for months, actually. From AP:
"It was an emotional roller-coaster," a smiling Ryan said between hugs with colleagues and well-wishers in the courthouse. "You go to court one day and it didn't go your way, but you go back another day and it would. It's a relief."
Major League Baseball, too, got what it wanted. It endorsed the Ryan-Greenberg group, which has been trying to buy the Rangers since January, when Tom Hicks' financial troubles put the team at the mercy of creditors. The Rangers, solidly in first place in the AL West, would not have been allowed to make deadline trades — such as adding left-hander Cliff Lee(notes) — without MLB's blessing.
[Related: Rangers still owe A-Rod $25 million]
And Cuban, who also looked into buying the Chicago Cubs before the Ricketts family bought them, was turned away again. His group seemed to make a higher bid — $598 million, including $390 million in cash — but it was deemed less valuable because of how it was structured. Look at it like deferred money in a player's contract, I suppose.
If you haven't already, go back and read the Twitter timelines of Anthony Andro of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram; Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News; T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com; and Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball. Some of it is pretty riveting.
It's what the guys pictured above were doing.
Cuban (right) was a good sport about losing — counterintuitive though it sounds. Hopefully, he tries to buy his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, should they become available. Having him own an MLB team would be entertaining.
It's hard to know if Greenberg — the man on the big hook financially — will be any more viable than Hicks when it comes to ownership.
But the Rangers do seem much better off with Ryan as president; it's reflected in their record since he took over before the 2008 season. Rangers players seem to want Ryan to stay in charge, and were pleased when his group won the bid.
Also worth noting: The team's value increased $84 million as it was playing the Mariners in Seattle.
Via the Star-Telegram:
"This is a big day for the Texas Rangers on the field and off," third baseman Michael Young(notes) said. "As players, we're all excited for Chuck and Nolan. We know that they've put in tons of hard work to get this done, finally, and we're going to do our best for them."
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