As you all are probably getting sick of me reminding you, Tom Hicks is busy trying to figure out a way to make the Hicks Sports Group’s creditors happy so that the Rangers sale to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan can go through. So he probably didn’t need this: The Royal Bank of Scotland — to which Hicks and his fellow Liverpool FC owners owe 100 million pounds — has given him until April 6th to pay back the money. Most people thought he had until at least July. Nope. He needs the dough now.
In the meantime, some New York investors known as the Rhone Group — who are obviously no dummies — have offered Hicks exactly 100 million pounds for a controlling interest in Liverpool FC. Assuming he accepts the offer within the next 20 days, that is. According to this article, Hicks rejected offers of as much as 500 million pounds for that stake just two years ago, however, and it’s an open question what the EPL would think about a guy torpedoing franchise values so severely in one fell swoop, so it’s possible that they wouldn’t allow the bargain basement sale to the Rhone Group to even happen.
The baseball point? As Maury Brown has astutely reminded me, the real hiccup in the Rangers deal is not the creditors accepting anything new from Greenberg. It’s the creditors making their peace with Hicks (i.e. the man whose business ran up the debt). Specifically, Hicks needs to kick in more cash from his take of the sale, or else the creditors won’t sign off. Only now it seems that Hicks has to kick cash all over the place lest he lose his soccer team in a foreclosure proceeding or, at best, take a royal bath on his investment.
Can Hicks print money? If he’s going to sell his baseball team and keep his soccer team, he’d better figure out how to. Here’s some irresponsible advice for Hicks: take the 100 million in cash, kick the dough into the Rangers sale, and when the Royal Bank of Scotland comes knocking on the door for their money pretend you don’t speak British.
You can have that one for free, Tom.
Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.
For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.
So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?
The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.
I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.
Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.
But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.
United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.
Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.