SBD/Issue 93/Franchises

Nolan Ryan Hopeful MLB Oversight Of Rangers Will Be Lifted

Ryan Expects MLB Oversight Of Rangers Will
Be Lifted Once New Ownership Takes Control
Rangers President Nolan Ryan yesterday acknowledged that MLB "continues to oversee the organization, something it's done since July," but noted that he "expects those restrictions will be lifted" once the new ownership group takes control, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDALLAS.com. Ryan said, "We were required to have any expenditure that was not budgeted for ... to be approved and also any signing outside of the slot limit had to be approved." But he noted, "MLB did not want to affect the normal day-to-day operations. It really did not encumber us to the point where we couldn't do anything. They realized we needed to run as usual as much as we possibly could" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/26). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson reports MLB "gave the green light" to the team's trade for C Ivan Rodriguez in August, but "would let the Rangers go only so far" when they tried to sign first-round draft pick Matthew Purke to a $6M deal (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/27). Ryan said, "I'm very pleased that with the budget restraints that we were operating under, we were able to get creative, move things around and free up some money so we didn't leave a void in the ballclub. That made a difference." He noted he expects no "distinct changes" to the team's operations. Ryan: "We're going to stay with the overall plan we put in place in 2007 with developing our own players. We feel the organization is in a position to be very competitive" (MLB.com, 1/26).

MAPPING OUT A GAME PLAN: Prospective Owner Chuck Greenberg said he is "not going to interject" his opinions in baseball decisions, adding he plans to focus on the "business side" of the organization. Greenberg: "How do we connect with the community? How do we create a higher tempo of energy in the front office? How can we do a better job of filling the stands and make an impact on people's lives?" When asked about the team's payroll, Greenberg said the "resources are here" in the Dallas market. Greenberg: "We have to do a better job of cultivating that support. Is there one payroll figure that makes sense? No. I just think it depends on the circumstances." He added, "If the organization is doing all of the things it ought to do in all facets of the operation, this franchise should be able to operate like a big-market team." Greenberg said Rangers Ballpark at Arlington "could use some freshening up in 2010," noting a "more centrally located HD video board can enable the game-day experience to be enhanced." But he added, "Whatever we do with this ballpark will be with care for the legacy of the ballpark." Meanwhile, Greenberg said of outgoing Owner Tom Hicks' future with the club, "I'm sure there was a tremendous temptation to be involved and to be on the board, but I think for the franchise's future and for Tom's legacy, the way we ended up putting this together is best for everyone" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/26).

GLORY DAYS? In Ft. Worth, Baker & Ahles report Columbus-based development firm Steiner & Associates is suing Hicks "over who owns a portion of land" near the ballpark that is included in the proposed sale of the Rangers. The firm, which began working with Hicks more than five years ago, has filed suit in Tarrant County (TX) to "determine who has the rights to 45 acres that was to be the site of Glorypark," the planned development around the ballpark. Steiner filed the suit last Thursday, "two days before Hicks announced a deal" to sell the club and land to the Greenberg-led group. A Hicks spokesperson noted that "all the Glorypark land is included in the land to be transferred." However, Steiner's suit asserts that Steiner's Arlingtonpar LLC owns 25% of Glorypark Town Center LLC. Hicks yesterday said that the suit "has no merit and will not prevent the sale of the team." Hicks: "For them to be pirates and try to hold me up at the time the baseball team is being sold is just very disappointing." Steiner in the suit also is seeking $14.5M, including $6M the company "put into the partnership," $6M spent on the project and a $2.5M fee Hicks vowed to pay "if he sold the Rangers" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/27).

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