The Rangers bankruptcy decision: maybe not as bad as it seemed yesterday

2 Comments

As I admitted yesterday, I had not had not yet had a chance to read the judge’s decision in the Rangers’ bankruptcy case. I read it last night, however, and in light of that it’s probably worth dialing back my initial reaction a bit.

Yes, this was still a setback for the Rangers and the sale of the team.  Neither the parties nor those who followed last week’s hearing expected the decision that the creditors’ rights were impaired. Indeed, the fact that Nolan Ryan and others close to the Rangers felt comfortable talking about potential trade targets in recent days suggests that they expected the judge would OK the prepackaged plan with little fuss.  The court’s ruling yesterday constitutes fuss, however, and the team does need to do some work in order to get through the process and have the team sold.

But it’s not as huge a fuss as it first seemed yesterday.  Yes, the creditors now have a right to vote on the bankruptcy plan which, if they had not been found to have had their rights impaired, they would not have.  I was wrong in suggesting yesterday, however, that the creditors could block the sale to Greenberg. The vote they now have is on the bankruptcy plan, not a veto over the sale.

The only way the sale itself could be hindered is if, for some reason, the Rangers do not restructure the bankruptcy plan in a way that gives the creditors the rights (e.g. the right to sue for damages, etc.) that the judge says they have. Given that the Rangers and creditors will be working with a mediator on this, that seems rather unlikely. It would also be rather stupid of them not to make the necessary changes.

But while my initial reaction was a bit overheated, it would probably be wrong to swing the pendulum too far back the other way as well. This decision, while not as devastating as initial reports first made it seem, does occasion delay and at least a possibility that more bumps could form in the road ahead. After all, if you give lawyers enough time to talk about something, they’re likely to come up with seven problems no one ever considered in the first place. And of course delay and uncertainly was exactly what the team’s bankruptcy filing was designed to avoid in the first place.

Nevertheless, while the news was not good for the Rangers, it was not as bad as my report and the reports of others made it seem.  Such are the perils of blogging, of course, but when it comes to legal stuff like this I, more than anyone, should know better than to go all ready-fire-aim like this. I’ll try not to do that again.

Note: a mighty shoutout to Baseball Time in Arlington on this point is in order.  BBTIA correctly illustrated how the media — and particularly I — got sloppy yesterday in an effort to try and be first and fast and all of that. I’ll gladly take my spanking from them in exchange for their handy digest of all of the day’s coverage of the decision, to which they link. 

Giants sign catcher Nick Hundley

DENVER, CO - JUNE 07:  Nick Hundley #4 of the Colorado Rockies takes an at bat against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on June 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.

Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.

MLB reorganizes its diversity and social responsibility leadership structure

Billy Bean
Associated Press
1 Comment

Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority.  Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”

To that end:

  • Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
  • Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
  • Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.

Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”

While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.

Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.