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.

Adrián Beltré is a slam dunk Hall of Famer

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Rangers third baseman Adrián Beltré officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending months of speculation about his future. The 39-year-old put together one of the greatest careers we have ever seen, spending time with the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers across 21 seasons.

Beltré will be eligible for the Hall of Fame five years from now. Given how much more analytically-literate the electorate has become in recent years, Beltré will very likely get the requisite 75 percent of the vote to earn enshrinement in Cooperstown. In a just world, he would get 100 percent of the vote, but no player has ever gone into the Hall of Fame unanimously.

Beltré retires having hit .286/.339/.480 with 477 home runs, 1,707 RBI, 1,524 runs scored, and 121 stolen bases in 12,130 plate appearances. Beltré hit for the cycle three times: in 2008 with the Mariners, and in 2012 and 2015 with the Rangers. He won four Silver Sluggers and made the All-Star team four times, both of which seem criminally low. He also won five Gold Gloves and two Platinum Gloves. For the bulk of his career, he was arguably the best defensive third baseman if not just in his league then in all of baseball. Injuries slowed Beltré in his 30’s, particularly in the last two seasons, but despite that, he showed when he was healthy that he could still hang with the young guns in his old age. No one would have been surprised if he hung around for one more season. Despite health issues, Beltré still hit around the league average with above-average defense.

Among Hall of Famers who played at least 50 percent of their career games at third base, Beltré’s career 95.7 WAR ranks behind only Mike Schmidt (106.8) and Eddie Mathews (96.6), per Baseball Reference. He’s ahead of Wade Boggs (91.4), George Brett (88.7), and Chipper Jones (85.2). Those six are the only third basemen in the 80’s when it comes to WAR.

As Jon Morosi points out, Beltré is the only third baseman in baseball history with 3,000-plus hits and 400-plus home runs. Individually, the 3,000-hit club boasts only 32 members while the 400-homer club has 55 members. Beltré’s 3,166 hits and 477 homes rank 16th and 30th, respectively.

Beltré’s numbers are absurdly good, but beyond that, he was a character. He took the game quite seriously, but he was still able to have fun. He became one of the most .gif-able players in the game. Beltré didn’t like his head being touched, so when he approached or went through the dugout collecting high-fives after hitting home runs, his teammates would oftentimes playfully pat him or rub his head. Beltré would pretend to go after them in revenge.

Beltré once borrowed groundskeeping equipment in order to avoid Gatorade baths.

Beltré wasn’t afraid to drop to one knee to hit a homer, either.

Beltré played games with his opponents after successfully swiping a base.

Beltré got into standoffs with opposing players, further proving he’s anything but an easy out.

Beltré made relevant cultural references.

Beltré once trolled the umpire, who asked him to get back into the on-deck circle, by moving the on-deck circle.

Happy trails to not only one of the best players of his generation, but to one of the most entertaining as well. Baseball will be poorer without Adrián Beltré. His Hall of Fame induction ceremony should be tremendous, though.