Court-appointed restructuring officer recommends the Rangers be auctioned off

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I love that this was sold as a “prepackaged” bankruptcy. If I bought something prepacked like this at the grocery store I’d take it to the manager and demand a refund. Danial Kaplan at SBD:

The Texas bankruptcy court appointed chief restructuring officer (CRO)
has decided an auction of the MLB Rangers should occur, multiple sources
tell SportsBusiness Journal . . . The sources said the CRO, William Snyder, has already informed MLB
President & COO Bob DuPuy and said league approval will not be a
criteria for deciding the best bid.

At the outset, note that this is only a recommendation. The court itself can ignore it and, instead, simply give the OK to the Rangers’ bankruptcy plan as-amended. I haven’t even close to the bankruptcy court experience to even pretend to guess at how likely it is that the court would act on the recommendation, rubber-stamp the plan, poop or go blind.

All we know for sure is that this news, combined with this morning’s information about the unsuccessful creditors being invited to next-week’s mediation, sets the stage for a rebidding if the judge agrees to go along with the recommendation.  A rebidding, Kaplan reports, that would not have “whether or not Major League Baseball likes you” as a criteria.

At which point it would be interesting to see what, if anything, Major League Baseball does about it. Because remember: MLB likes to pretend that it’s federally-created antitrust exemption allows it to accept or reject would-be team owners with impunity.  I assume that they’re not going to try and pull rank over a bankruptcy judge on this point — this sale is complicated enough already — but if they don’t, does it not put an end to the fiction that they can pick and choose new owners?

Oh well. Just another fun day in the sale that everyone insisted was a “done deal” back in January or whatever.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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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.