SBD/Issue 94/Franchises

Jon Daniels Says MLB Rangers' Sale Was Not A Distraction To Team

 
MLB Rangers GM Jon Daniels yesterday said he does not think outgoing Owner Tom Hicks putting the team up for sale "affected anyone inside the clubhouse walls last year." Daniels, during a chat on ESPNDALLAS.com, said, "The players are aware of what's going on, but they really didn't see any effects, and were pretty well insulated. So I don't think it affected our play at all." Daniels added it was "mostly the same for the organization as a whole," and the idea that Rangers President Nolan Ryan was "part of the group that seemed like the most likely new ownership team probably helped." Daniels: "People on both the baseball and business sides were able to focus on their jobs, as Nolan brought a sense of continuity when a lot was unknown." Meanwhile, Daniels said under the new ownership group, the organization expects to "win, and now that we've put a plan in place to do so, we hold ourselves to ... that standard." Daniels added he feels a "tremendous obligation" to prospective Owner Chuck Greenberg "to deliver." Daniels: "He's given me and our group an opportunity to mold the franchise, spend resources against our vision. It's more pride than pressure" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/27).

PRESSURE'S ON: ESPNDALLAS.com's Matt Mosley wrote Hicks "got one thing right:" his decision in '08 to hire Ryan as president and "put him in charge of all baseball decisions." Mosley: "It was a much-needed credibility infusion, and Ryan's very presence seemed to point the organization in the right direction." But Mosley wrote "no matter how much some of us loved collecting Ryan's baseball cards when we were kids, most of us have learned not to revere owners," and once a "beloved player becomes part of management, it changes our relationship with him." Mosley: "Even when Ryan became the team president for the Rangers, we still had Hicks to kick around when things backfired. ... But Hicks' departure puts Ryan directly in the line of fire" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/27).

REMEMBER THE GOOD: In Dallas, Evan Grant writes if Hicks' Rangers tenure is "remembered purely for the failures, it would be revisionist history." Grant: "If you closely examine the 12-year Hicks reign, you might just conclude it to have been the most successful in the club's history on virtually every front." The Rangers "finished 10 games above .500 or better four times" under Hicks, and the club's farm system was "ranked as the best in baseball last year." The Rangers also are "more of a force in Latin America," and in Ryan and Greenberg, Hicks "seems to have found the best possible caretakers for the franchise" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/28).

HISTORY LESSON: In Dallas, Mike Heika wrote in the "wake of the sale of the Rangers, one thing seems clear" -- Hicks' vision for running the Stars is "similar to the vision he had for the Rangers in 2003." Heika: "He will run the team on a tight budget, and that budget will be set yearly based on the team's revenue." Heika wrote he "believed for a while that the difference between the finances of Major League Baseball and the NHL would entice Hicks to spend money on the Stars for the simple reason that it makes financial sense." But the NHL has "changed since the lockout." The league is "participating in a ton of revenue sharing, so a lot of the money that a team makes in the playoffs actually goes to the NHL and is redistributed." Heika: "The financial incentive to win isn't as great as it was five years ago" (DALLASNEWS.com, 1/27).

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