The long-awaited deadline for Rangers owner Tom Hicks to announce his choice for the team's new ownership group was made last night, and I was extremely pleased to see that his selection is the group led by Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg and current team president/local hero Nolan Ryan.
Having Ryan on board pretty much says it all for me, or I guess I should say that not having Ryan on board would have been a deal-breaker for me, had I been in Hicks' shoes. As a player, Ryan was a class act, and he brought the team a great deal of credibility that it had not previously enjoyed. As team president the past couple of years, he was well on his way to helping the team restore said credibility, even if the effort on the field fell short. Ryan's involvement had me pulling for Greenberg all along.
As I read over the profiles of the various competing groups over the past few months, I was always a little leery of the group led by Dennis Gilbert. Maybe it was his former profession (sports agent); maybe it was his ties to the Chicago White Sox (you know us Texans, not wanting them dad-blasted furriners comin' in here and messin' things up). Or perhaps it was the fact that he wanted to run baseball operations himself, which would be bad for two reasons: 1) It would guarantee Ryan's departure from the team, and 2) The Metroplex sports scene already has one Jerry Jones and doesn't need a second one. (And maybe I just have bad vibes about people named Dennis coming in from outside an organization and messing things up--part of my personal history that won't be blogged any further here.) And I didn't know enough about Jim Crane, a late re-entry into the race, except that Ryan might have stayed if Crane were the winner, so that put him as #2 on my personal list.
At any rate, the Greenberg/Ryan group sounds like a good fit; once the lawyers, accountants and fellow MLB owners go through the process, maybe we'll see the new ownership group in place by Opening Day.
Tom Hicks may have made a few questionable moves from time to time during his tenure with the Rangers, but if this is indeed his finale as top dog, he's going out on a good note.