Other bidders are sniffing around the Rangers

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Danial Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that two bidders — Dallas businessman Jeff Beck and Houston businessman Jim Crane — have been in touch with the Rangers’ creditors recently. Both Beck and Crane have a history with the Rangers sale, with Beck being the primary financing source behind agent Dennis Gilbert’s failed bid, and Crane participating in the first round himself.

The team is not up for bids now — such a thing wouldn’t happen unless the bankruptcy plan fails to be approved next month — but they are obviously keeping tabs on things.  My guess, given Kaplan’s apparent close connection to the team’s creditors: the creditors are trying to portray Crane and Beck as viable and eager alternatives that the
creditors can cite as they enter into final negotiations with the
Rangers over the bankruptcy plan.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t doubt that Beck and Crane are keeping tabs on everything and will be prepared to pounce if and when they have the opportunity. But it’s really premature for either of them to actually be making overtures at this point . Right now the path, however rocky it appears, is laid out for Greenberg to still take control. If Crane and Beck were to truly insert themselves in the process, the bankruptcy court would likely be very unhappy and things would simply get mucked up.

So if I had to guess: much ado about nothing.

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.