There’s a story in the New York Times today about some of the things the judge in the Texas Rangers’ bankruptcy said during meetings with counsel in his chambers regarding the contentiousness of the case. The comments, which were tape recorded, were all great fun. My favorite:
“I don’t like what’s been done to it, with the designated hitter and interleague play and an interminable playoff. But I used to love baseball, and I can talk baseball with — at least in terms of people like Whitey Ford and Bob Turley and their ilk — until hell freezes over.”
A man after my own heart!
Mostly, though, this all spoke to the frustration the judge had with a bunch of people — including Chuck Greenberg himself — who did not put their best foot forward during the litigation. And this comment, which will likely get a lot of play because of the example he used, is actually pretty telling:
As Lynn and the lawyers discussed the qualifications of potential auction bidders, he said that it would “make perfect sense” for baseball to reject someone from the Russian Mafia or institutionalized gambling. But, he suggested, “If the buyer is Barack Obama, however, I would not want you to say, ‘No, we don’t accept Democrats or black people.’ Do you understand me?”
I understand it. I understand it as a judge who is highly skeptical and disapproving of Major League Baseball’s claim that it can simply approve or disapprove of owners at its whim. And I remain convinced that one day a court will get an opportunity to pass on baseball’s rule in this regard, and blow it the hell out of the water as the idiotic and anti-competitive anachronism that it is.