Nolan Ryan Should Handle Those Slowing Sale Of Rangers Like They're Charging The Mound


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↵Do you remember this image? It might be a still from the greatest beatdown in baseball history. Nolan Ryan threw one at Robin Ventura who tossed his helmet and charged the mound. Only nobody gets the best of ol' Nolan, who promptly put Ventura in a headlock and unleashed a barrage of rights to the head and face of Ventura. ↵

↵Here's the video: ↵

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↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
↵

↵The image and video are here to serve as a reminder: don't mess with Nolan Ryan. Unfortunately, per Bloomberg Businessweek, that's exactly what creditors of the Texas Rangers are doing. Those creditors, who are owed somewhere near $525 million from Tom Hicks and his HSG Sports Group LLC, have objected to the proposed sale of the team to Ryan and his new ownership group. ↵

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↵⇥The so-called prepackaged plan, which is supported by Major League Baseball, the current Rangers ownership and the Greenberg-Ryan group, provides “sufficient sale proceeds for the Rangers creditors to recover 100 percent of the portion of HSG Sports Group’s debt that is guaranteed by the Rangers and for all Rangers creditors to be paid in full,” according to the team’s statement. ↵⇥

↵⇥HSG Sports Group owes secured lenders $525 million on first- and second-lien loans, according to court filings. The team has guaranteed and is liable for $75 million of that $525 million debt, the filings show. ↵⇥

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↵I'm no math wiz, but next time I default on a loan I'm going to remember that, by filing for bankruptcy, Tom Hicks and his ownership group – a bunch of billionaires – are only liable for $75 million of the $525 million dollar debt they racked up. The objection to the sale, per the report, is hung up on the creditors seeking an additional $30 million from the $575 million price tag of the sale. ↵

↵You may be asking how in the world Hicks accrued that much debt? By overpaying his players, that's how. Thanks A-Rod! ↵

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↵⇥Alex Rodriguez, now the third baseman for the New York Yankees, was listed as the team’s top unsecured creditor. He is still owed about $24.9 million in deferred compensation from his earlier Rangers contract, according to court documents. ↵⇥

↵⇥After Rodriguez, the next five unsecured creditors are also players or former players for the Rangers. They are: Kevin Millwood, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles ($12.9 million); Rangers third baseman Michael Young ($3.9 million); Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla ($1.7 million); Mickey Tettleton, who retired from the Rangers in 1997 ($1.4 million); and Mark McLemore, a former Rangers second baseman who retired from the Oakland A’s in 2004 ($970,000). ↵⇥

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↵If the new Rangers owners wanted to recoup some of that money, there's an easy way. Have each creditor stand at the plate and actually charge the mound with Ryan waiting to take them on. Winner gets the money. They can make it a ballpark promotion during the seventh-inning stretch. It would be amazing. ↵

↵For now, Ryan has taken more traditional measures to assure fans that the future of the team, with help from MLB, is secure. In an open letter to fans – via the Dallas Morning News – Ryan tries to talk Rangers season ticket holder off the ledge: ↵

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↵⇥I want to assure all of our loyal fans that this process will not affect the day-to-day management of the team as we continue to compete for a playoff spot in 2010. ↵⇥

↵⇥Ticket prices will not be affected and the Rangers will continue to offer the best added value through our many ticket programs. In addition, the Rangers will continue to operate within our existing budget to sign and acquire players. ↵⇥

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↵One of the first comments on that post astutely points out that Ryan suggested they will continue with their existing budget, which may preclude the first-place Rangers from adding any payroll until the sale officially goes through and the owners can pay back the loan floated by MLB. Court filings by creditors surely won't expedite that process. ↵

↵If the creditors won't take Ryan up on an offer to charge the mound, maybe he should take the mound to them. Would you mess with him? ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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