I have yet to see the lawsuit, but SportsBusiness Journal’s Daniel Kaplan is reporting that Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan are suing the Texas Rangers.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The reason according to Kaplan: the court-appointed restructuring officer (“CRO”) — who acts on behalf of the bankrupt entity (i.e. the Rangers) — is attempting “to hijack the proceedings,” via its soliciting other bids in violation of Greenberg and Ryan’s exclusivity rights which last until August 12th. Why they didn’t raise this two weeks ago when the idea of an auction — and thus the virtual certainty of other bidders — first came into play is an open question. For what it’s worth, however, Kaplan’s reporting suggests that the CRO isn’t just soliciting bids, but rather, is negotiating with other potential buyers. That could be Jim Crane or it could be Jeff Beck. Either way, it’s pissing Greenberg and Ryan off.
Look, there are a lot of complicated legal reasons which could explain why such a tack is being taken. None of which necessarily mean that Greenberg and Ryan’s ultimate ownership of the team is in jeopardy. But really, how can this be a good thing? Indeed, the fact from Kaplan’s report I find most telling is that Greenberg has new lawyers (White & Case). Whenever a new team comes in so late in the game it almost always means acrimony and ugliness behind the scenes or, at the very least, of plans gone astray. When such a thing happens, it’s not uncommon for the new guys to counsel an offensive, which is what we’re apparently seeing here.
The Rangers got their big trade done, so maybe this is whole drama is now academic from a “compete in 2010” perspective. Indeed, maybe the Cliff Lee trade made Greenberg and Ryan feel free to just unleash in a way they wouldn’t have had they still been sweating the deadline. Hard to say. Either way, this sale keeps getting messier and messier.