Well, they’re not buying yet. What they’ve won
is an exclusive negotiating window during which time they’ll hopefully
come to terms. Most interesting aspect of this: Jim Crane was
reportedly the highest bidder, but he lost out. Dennis Gilbert was
reportedly a favored bidder due to his connections, but he lost
out too. Greenberg had Nolan Ryan in his camp, however, and apparently
Nolan can still bring the heat. Or at least the weight. Oh, and Tom Hicks is in the group too, which only goes to show that there’s no justice in the world. Dude bankrupted his previous ownership group and messed up a good EPL team too. The fact that he got to pick an ownership group that included himself is, well, curious.
Bid politics aside, Greenberg has had a lot of sports ownership
experience. He was Mario Lemieux’s lawyer when Mario bought the
Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s the CEO of the Altoona Curve, and was
instrumental in getting them their (very nice) new stadium. He also
owns minor league teams in State College, Pennsylvania and the Myrtle
Beach. They’re pretty well-run outfits as far as I can tell.
We lawyers are like a little sewing circle when we get together, and
the word on Greenberg in that circle is that he’s very aggressive and
very sure of himself, which makes him pretty par for the course as far
as baseball owners go. The word on him also is that he, personally,
doesn’t have nearly the kind of money to buy a team himself, so it’s
likely that his ownership group is on the large side. This can work —
most people aren’t aware of this, but the original Steinbrenner/Yankees
ownership group had all kinds of minority owners, most of whom have
been bought out — but it can create problems as well. We’ll see. Hopefully Hicks is relegated to silent partner status.
But at least things are moving forward. And Nolan Ryan is still on
board, which he wouldn’t have been with the other groups, and that
seems to matter to everyone involved. The Rangers have a lot of talent
poised to bloom. Here’s hoping they’ll have an owner/gardener in place
that can ensure it does so.