The Rangers sale is getting uglier

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The basic dynamic of the sale of the Texas Rangers has been (1) Tom Hicks trying to settle his issues with his creditors; (2) Chuck Greenberg and Major League Baseball getting increasingly annoyed at Hicks for not doing so; and (3) everyone speaking optimistically all the same.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram, Tom Hicks has changed the dynamic, at least rhetorically-speaking:

“This will be resolved one way or the other,” Hicks said. “I’m
concerned about it. We’ve received information that as things stand it
will not be approved.”

Hicks distanced himself from responsibility for getting the deal
done, saying it’s up to Greenberg and Major League Baseball to find a
way to satisfy the lenders who are holding out. Monarch Alternative
Capital is leading the holdouts.

I’m sure that’s all news to Greenberg and Major League Baseball who (a) didn’t run up the big debt in the first place; and (b) aren’t the ones insisting that Hicks realize tens of millions of dollars free-and-clear from the deal despite the fact that he owes money to people all over the world.  For Major League Baseball’s part, it issued a statement last night that, while it could be construed as a warning to the creditors, calls out Tom Hicks by name:

“As part of the Texas Rangers sale process, Tom Hicks selected the
Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group as the chosen bidder on December 15,
2009 and entered into an exclusive agreement with that group. Major
League Baseball is currently in control of the sale process and will use
all efforts to achieve a closing with the chosen bidder. Any deviation
from or interference with the agreed upon sale process by Mr. Hicks or
any other party, or any actions in violation of MLB rules or directives
will be dealt with appropriately by the Commissioner.”

That “deviation” is likely referring to Hicks’ deviation from being the one responsible for making the creditor problems go away.  A responsibility which he’s now apparently punting.

But this is not really a surprise. The level of Hicks’ irresponsibility with respect to the Texas Rangers over the years has been astounding.  He has crippled the franchise with bad contracts and debt and now, just as a new ownership group is poised to invest in the team and to try and make it a winner, he’s all but sabotaging the sale with his intransigence, his insolvency or both.

Oh, and his delusions too. I mean, this is the guy who thinks he’s going to get a billion and a quarter dollars for his debt-laden soccer team despite all indications that such estimates are inflated. There’s no telling what he thinks is going to happen with the Rangers sale.

Two weeks ago the parties pointed to this week — the week of April 19th — as when they think the deal would be closed. With Hicks pointing fingers like he is, apparently unconcerned that a few dozen creditors want to take the team into bankruptcy, I don’t think anyone will be making more predictions on this score anytime soon.

Odubel Herrera flips his bat on a fly ball, gets benched for lack of hustle

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been a polarizing figure in his young career. He’s talented and at times has shined, inspiring the Phillies to give him a long term contract this past offseason. At other times, however, he’s aggravated the snot out of his manager, his teammates and his team’s fans. Last night, in the Phillies-Astros game, he did the latter and was the subject of mockery of the opposing team to boot.

In the first inning he hit a long fly ball to center. He thought it was going out but . . . it didn’t. When the ball came off of his bat, however, he flipped his bat like he went yard. You know our view about bat flips — who cares? Flip away! — but you flip at your own risk. Just because you’re allowed to flip it whenever you want doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get mocked if you flip prematurely. That’s what Herrera did, and he was mocked for the flip by the Astros from the dugout:

If that was all that happened in the game, life would go on just fine. I mean, it’s just a bat flip. But later in the game he committed a more substantive transgression: he failed to hustle in a hustle situation.

In the sixth inning Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball. The catcher didn’t hold on to it, though, and the ball went in the dirt. Herrera didn’t bother to run to first base and Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from the game in a double switch right after that. Asked if Herrera was benched for not running that ball out, Mackanin said “It had something to do with it . . . I’m going to talk to him tomorrow.”

If you’re a veteran and you have hamstring issues or something you can take a dropped strike three off and no one is gonna say anything. If you’re hitting like Herrera has been hitting of late (i.e. pretty well) and you otherwise have no issues with your manager along these lines, it’s doubtful anyone will hold that sort of play against you either as long as it’s an isolated incident.

Herrera is not in that position, however. He’s raised Mackanin’s ire in the past for ignoring signs and taking what Mackanin believed to be a lackadaisical approach to the game. Whether that’s a fair assessment of Herrera or not — we can’t fully know everything about their interaction from the outside — is sort of beside the point. He has to know by now that Mackanin is going to get after him for that stuff and he has to know that him not being in the game is neither good for the Phillies or for Herrera.

Are these growing pains or a signs of a growing problem? That, it would seem, is up to Odubel Herrera.

Video: Minor leaguer bounces a home run off of an outfielder’s head

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Jose Canseco hit 462 homers, was the 1986 Rookie of the Year, the 1988 MVP and played for 17 years in the big leagues, winning two World Series rings and making the playoffs five times. Yet he’s not remembered for any of that. At least not very often.

No, he’s remembered for his ignominy. For his role in participating in and, subsequently, exposing baseball’s PED-fueled world of the 1990s. For his continued insistence that he was blackballed by Major League Baseball and his continued attempts to play via the independent league route. For his crazy post-playing career antics in which he spent a few years tweeting about aliens, conspiracy theories and non-sequiturs of every stripe.

Mostly, though, people remember Canseco for one random play: the time he helped the Indians’ Carlos Martinez to a home run when a fly ball bounced off of Canseco’s head and over the wall back in 1993:

 

Well, Canseco now has a friend in infamy. That friend: Zach Borenstein of the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. Yesterday Borenstein pulled a Canseco on what should’ve been an Alex Verdugo F-9:

Borenstein’s glove may have gotten a piece of that — the announcer seemed to think so anyway — and I have a hard time figuring that his head would give it that much bounce. I mean, look how far he was from the wall! He wasn’t even to the warning track. That’s a serious assist.

Still: gonna rule this a Canseco anyway. It’s too good not to.