Mark Cuban speaks about the Rangers auction

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Mark Cuban — as is his wont — took to his blog today to give a very long and very detailed explanation of his involvement in the Texas Rangers auction.  There’s a lot of play-by-play of how he got sucked into the whole crazy business. And it’s all very interesting, so you should definitely read it if, for no other reason than to realize that Cuban is a businessman and not a psycho.

But maybe the best parts come toward the end when he takes on two big criticisms he’s been getting lately: (a) that he would not be approved by Major League Baseball; and (b) that he was really only in the auction in order to bid-up the value of $2 million worth of Rangers bonds he happens to own:

Now lets talk about MLB.  It seems to be a fun media sport to talk
about how there is no way i will ever get approved  buy MLB to buy a
team.  At the hearing yesterday it was mentioned that our group only had
a 50/50 chance of ever being approved.  I tend to never look at the
glass as being half empty or half full. I look to see who is pouring the
water and to deal with them. Not the media.  I am pretty confident we
would have been approved.

Finally lets talk about finances. Lets talk about the bonds I own. I
have been getting a bunch of emails from reporters asking how much money
I made on the bonds I own. Suggesting that I bid up the price of the
Rangers in order to increase the value of the $2mm i spent on bonds. To
all of you I offer a lesson in economics.

It is NEVER a good idea to risk hundreds of millions of dollars on
the purchase of a team AND to spend what could come to more than a
$1million in professional fees in order to increase the value of the
$2mm you bought in bonds. I know its something for the media to talk
about. But if any of you out there think it through, I dont want you to
think i was stupid enough to do something that stupid.

The real reason he even bought those bonds, Cuban says, is so that he could be an insider and do some better due diligence on the Rangers when the notion of him buying the team first came up last year.

Seems plausible to me, as does most of what else he says.

The biggest takeaway here: Cuban was really in this for the opportunity
to create a regional sports network on which he could broadcast Rangers
and Mavericks games.  Contrary to the reputation he has in some quarters, that’s not nuts at all.  That’s really good business.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.