MLB Commissioner Bud Selig issued a strong warning to Tom Hicks regarding the sale of the Texas Rangers to a group headed by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan: Shut up and stay out of things.
Here's what Bud had to say late last night in a press statement:
"As part of the Texas Rangers sale process, Tom Hicks selected the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group as the chosen bidder on December 15, 2009 and entered into an exclusive agreement with that group. Major League Baseball is currently in control of the sale process and will use all efforts to achieve a closing with the chosen bidder. Any deviation from or interference with the agreed upon sale process by Mr. Hicks or any other party, or any actions in violation of MLB rules or directives will be dealt with appropriately by the Commissioner."
Here's the background. In December Tom Hicks, faced with a crumbling financial empire, agreed to exclusively negotiate with the Greenberg/Ryan grop over the sale of the Rangers, as the two sides had come to a broad agreement on the terms of a deal. Greenburg, a noted sports attorney who owns the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High Class A; Carolina League) and State College Spikes (short season; NY-Penn League), had put together the group with Texas baseball icon Ryan and outbid another local group headed by Jim Crane.
Almost immediately Hicks tried to backpedal; whether he was acting on his own or in concert with his lenders doesn't matter. Indeed, recently Hicks did try to pin this on his lenders, saying they felt there were better deals out there. It doesn't matter (and we're not sure they're out there): Hicks had the team on the market for a long time before coming to this agreement.
You know there's a lot more activity behind the scenes if Selig feels compelled to step in and warn Hicks and other potential suitors to stand down. The sniping isn't over, but Bud is sending a clear signal that anyone interfering with the deal will face some serious consequences from MLB.
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