SBD/March 14, 2011/Franchises

Nolan Ryan Takes Over As CEO Of Rangers After Chuck Greenberg Is Forced Out

Ryan takes over day-to-day operations of Rangers after Greenberg's departure
MLB Rangers co-Chairs Bob Simpson and Ray Davis Friday asked President Nolan Ryan "to take over all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the club," giving Ryan the additional title of CEO after Chuck Greenberg was "forced out," according to Evan Grant of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Ryan "expects to hand over much of the day-to-day business operations to a number of executives brought in under Greenberg." Since the '10 regular season ended, the Rangers have hired COO Rick George, Exec VP/Business Partnerships & Development Joe Januszewski and Exec VP/Ticket Sales & Marketing Todd Taylor. Greenberg "will leave the club immediately" in a "sudden and shocking development." Davis: "In reality, management styles and chemistries sometimes don't fit together. This was the situation with Chuck, the board and Nolan." Simpson, Davis and Ryan "declined to address ... how the marriage fell apart so fast and during a time in which the Rangers experienced such success." Theories "abound that Greenberg's aggressive style and very public persona didn't mesh well with Ryan, holdover front office members and the board of directors." Another theory is that he "may have fallen victim to New Owner Syndrome, in which an owner is seduced by the power and glamour of involving himself in decisions pertaining to the team on the field." Simpson, Davis and Ryan "declined to comment on specifics, other than to dismiss any notion that Greenberg's high public profile was a cause for the separation." Greenberg "did not respond to interview requests," but he said in a statement, "Unfortunately, Nolan Ryan, the co-chairmen, and I have somewhat different styles" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/12).

RAPID DEPARTURE
: In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson noted "no one involved in the stunning events of Friday provided any specifics as to how seven months of apparent normalcy came to a screeching halt." Sources said that Braves officials "weren't pleased with how Greenberg shifted the Rangers' High-A affiliate to Myrtle Beach, one of the minor-league clubs he owns that had long been associated with the Braves," and their "discontent reached" MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's office. Also, in December, members of the Rangers' baseball operations staff "were taken aback by how involved Greenberg became in daily internal discussions during the winter meetings." More recently, Greenberg and Ryan "were pitted against each other as an extension for general manager Jon Daniels was being pounded out." Greenberg "had sold the suite at Rangers Ballpark that Daniels had used to host families of front-office personnel as well as conduct meetings." The suite was "to be part of the Daniels extension, and it was sold despite objections from Ryan" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/12). Simpson said that Rangers Baseball Express "had already bought out Greenberg's share of the team," and that Greenberg "declined an offer to stay with the Rangers in a different role." Simpson: "He chose to move on. He likes to do deals" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 3/12).

DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS: ESPN DALLAS' Jim Reeves noted, "Nobody's figured out exactly what Greenberg did to make Ryan mad." A source said, "I don't think there was really any one thing. I think Chuck just overstepped his boundaries some. ... He may have wanted to be more of the face of the franchise." Ryan: "It's like a marriage. You think things are going to work out in business, but until you get in there, you never know how things are really going to work." Reeves wrote, "If you push Nolan Ryan, eventually he's going to push back. Hard" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 3/12). In Dallas, Kevin Sherrington wrote, "It's easy to see what could have happened: Ryan grew weary of Greenberg inserting himself on the baseball side." Greenberg "made some good hires -- so good, in fact, that the ownership group felt no need to replace him" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/12). Also in Dallas, Jean-Jacques Taylor wrote Greenberg "screwed up." You "don't mess with Nolan Ryan." Taylor: "His passion for the game and his desire to see the Rangers finish what they started last season by making the club's first foray into the Word Series led him to overstep his boundaries and become too involved in the organization's baseball side" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/12). In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway wrote the "only word" from Ryan was "him or me." A source said, "The relationship just wasn't going to work. Nolan knew that. He could have put a Band-Aid on it, and tried to let it heal, but many of the owners didn't want the Band-Aid. They wanted a change" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/12). FS SOUTHWEST's Tracy Ringolsby wrote Greenberg "didn't fit with much of anybody." Ringolsby: "When it became a him-or-me decision for the men who have the money invested in the team, it was a no-brainer. The Texas money men were in Ryan's corner. That should have been obvious when the ownership group met in Scottsdale last week. Greenberg was conspicuous by his absence." Greenberg was an "embarrassment at times," and he "alienated the folks in Major League Baseball with his overbearing approach" (FOXSPORTSOUTHWEST.com, 3/11).

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: The DALLAS MORNING NEWS' Grant wrote, "This theory must be considered: Greenberg was the absolute right guy to lead the purchase effort of the team; he was the wrong guy to lead the team" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/13). In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton wrote Greenberg "had become a rock star," and to Rangers fans he "remained a hero." But Simpson, Davis and Ryan "seemed to agree" that Greenberg's departure was "about business." Ryan: "As we got into the business side of it, we had differences of opinion." LeBreton wrote Greenberg "had to be formidable," because Ryan "doesn't seem the type to engage in a personal power struggle." LeBreton: "If Nolan Ryan felt Friday's announcement was necessary, who are we to doubt him, awkward as that revelation might be?" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/12). Also in Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote Greenberg's departure "isn't a crippling blow," but rather "just another bad PR move from a franchise that just can't help but continue to author the 'How To' book on bad press." The "sad part is that Greenberg was a positive, national presence for a franchise that doesn't have one" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/12). SI.com's Jon Heyman noted Greenberg was "seen as small-timer from out of town who tried to over-run things." Heyman: "Too often, he just ran his mouth and that's what got him in trouble" (SI.com, 3/11). But the MORNING NEWS' Grant wrote, "The issue was not that Greenberg talked too much. In most situations, his visibility and upbeat approach, were real assets to the Rangers' cause. It was internally where Greenberg's management style clashed with that of the Board of Directors'" (DALLASNEWS.com, 3/12). In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote, "Don't know all the details yet, but my initial reaction is that Chuck Greenberg got shafted by his fellow Rangers owners" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/13). In Ft. Worth, Jennifer Floyd Engel wrote, "This should have been the best off-season in Rangers history. ... Instead they waded through the [Michael Young] mess, and now this Greenberg messiness" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/12).
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