In speaking to the media before next week’s All-Star Game, Commissioner Selig addressed the issue of the Texas Rangers, and their continued saga in bankruptcy court. Selig’s comments came the day after the Rangers and the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan agreed to allow the bidding process to be opened back up, and the process for an auction to take place. The motion for bidding was done with approval of the Chief Restructuring Officer, William Snyder, who was appointed by Judge Michael Lynn.
“It certainly has been a long and winding road,” Selig said of the Rangers sale process. “Tom Hicks put the club into bankruptcy in January, and this has been an interesting but a very difficult process. The Greenberg/Ryan group has lived up to everything that they said they would, but we have to deal with the bankruptcy laws”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Hicks did not place the Rangers into voluntary bankruptcy until May 24. The exclusivity agreement with the Greenberg/Ryan group was reached in December)
Selig said that the process needed to completed very quickly, and that he had spoken to Nolan Ryan this morning before court appointed mediation was to take place.
Selig said that Major League Baseball was not at the crux of the stalled process, but rather current ownership.
“I want to say this, this has nothing to do with baseball economics,” Selig said. “Sometimes that gets misunderstood. This has everything to do with Mr. Hicks and his personal economic situation."
Since December, the Greenberg/Ryan group has had an exclusivity agreement to work toward closing the sale, something that is being waived as part of the auction process. Selig made it clear that he, and the league, still support that group. “We’ve told everybody that, and I would have liked to see the Greenberg/Ryan group approved some time ago, but as we move forward, hopefully we can get this resolved.”
Selig was pleased that the bidding process will allow them to select the ownership group they wish to see installed, regardless of whether the Greenberg/Ryan group has the highest bid or not. Creditors for the Rangers have said repeatedly that Houston businessman Jim Crane has a higher bid on the table, which will play itself out should Crane pursue the purchase of the Rangers through the auction on July 16.
“Let me make this clear, baseball has always had the right to select their ownership,” Selig said. “There’s a long history of that that predates my entry into baseball in the 1970. So, I’m very, very comfortable in telling you that, yes, I was pleased [in the CRO’s advisement that MLB can ultimately approve the owners of the Rangers]. But there’s no doubt in my mind that we have the right to select ownership, and will do that.”
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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