Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Night To Remember

When you write a knee-jerking type blog entry like I did after Wednesday night’s game, then it stands to reason that it’s probably a good idea to write a blog entry when the Rangers play a game that is the polar opposite the next time out.

Sounds like a good idea, so I will.

Friday night’s game was the first official game for Texas new ownership group Rangers Baseball Express. The thing that struck me immediately was that as last night’s game unfolded it was an uncanny parallel of Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg’s seemingly uphill trip to the owner’s box.

Bottom Of The First Inning: Nelson Cruz singles, Josh Hamilton scores, Rangers lead 1-0

Let’s start in December: after MLB cordially invited Tom Hicks to put the Rangers up for sale, three bidders are vetted and approved to submit bids for the Rangers including the Ryan/Greenberg group.

Bottom Of The Second Inning: Elvis Andrus singles, Mitch Moreland scores, Rangers lead 2-0

Late January: the Ryan/Greenberg group is selected to negotiate the purchase of the Rangers. Initial reports say the sale would be finalized by Opening Day in April

Top Of The Third Inning: Jed Lowrie homers – Rangers lead cut to 2-1

April: Opening Day comes and goes, but fans are assured the sale will take place soon.

Top Of The Fourth Inning: 3 HR’s, 4 more runs score on singles and fielder’s choice by the Red Sox – Rangers are behind 8-2

Late April – Early May: all hell breaks loose as the jilted lenders for HSG dig in and start clamoring for their pound of unsecured flesh from the new ownership group since Tom Hicks refuses to pay back the loans he took out (which the lenders foolishly gave him without any personal guarantees or collateral).

Bottom Of The Fourth Inning: Mitch Moreland Homers - the lead is cut to 8-4

Late May: In a effort to extricate themselves from the catfight between the lenders and HSG the Rangers declare bankruptcy and submit a pre-packaged plan that could finalize the sale by mid June.

Bottom Of The Fifth Inning – Michael Young Homers, Josh Hamilton homers – the lead is cut down to 8-6

Early July: As the bankruptcy drags on, the Rangers GM pulls off an amazing trade for the best pitcher in baseball – snatching Cliff Lee at the last minute from the clutches of the hated Yankees while barely affecting the Rangers frozen payroll.

Top Of The Seventh Inning – JD Drew homers – Red Sox increase their lead to 9-6

Late July:- The legal actions become mired in more claims, counter claims and motions, the judge appoints a CRO whose solution to the situation is an auction of the Texas Rangers baseball team. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who at first said he wanted to act as a “backstop” to the Ryan/Greenberg group – decides to bid on the Rangers, joining Jim Crane (one of the bidders from back in December).

Bottom Of The Seventh Inning - Josh Hamilton scores on a David Murphy sac fly, Bengie Molina’s rare hit scores Nelson Cruz – but the Rangers are still behind 9-8

August 4th:  The Greenberg/Ryan group makes one last attempt to offer a bid directly to the lenders to avoid the auction, but the group brokering Mr. Hicks sale of the Dallas Stars  (who also happens to be a creditor) vetoes the proposal – so the Rangers will be auctioned. There are only 2 groups bidding: Cuban/Crane and Ryan/Greenberg. Accusations and curses fill the courtroom and the halls outsides. Mark Cuban struts confidently around the courthouse ordering pizza. Stories are written and saved as drafts on laptops proclaiming Cuban the new owner.

However, earlier in the week, Chuck Greenberg had posted this message on Facebook: “Keep the faith”.

Bottom Of The Eighth Inning – Vlad Guerrero slides into first on an improbable infield single while uber-player Josh Hamilton scores from second sliding around the catcher’s tag – the score is tied 9-9.

August 4th : Late, late in the evening the Ryan/Greenberg group revise their bid taking out some of the “onerous” portions (the most onerous portion removed cuts out Tom Hicks from any association with the Rangers and the new ownership group) The major financial backers of the Ryan/Greenberg group at the courthouse and appear to be “all in” with their support of the Rangers Baseball Express escalated bids.

Bottom Of The Eleventh Inning: Nelson Cruz, a player who bounced back in forth between the major league team and the minors, was placed and not claimed on waivers, but has emerged as one of the core players for this team hits the first pitch by Tim Wakefiled into the left field seats – Rangers Win 10-9

Early morning August 5th : Cuban/Crane place their largest bid – Ryan/Greenberg place their counter bid (a few moments later in Seattle Michael Young hits a grand slam HR against the Mariners in another Ranger comeback) Jim Crane walks into the courtroom and shakes Nolan Ryan’s hand and says “we’re done” – Rangers Baseball Express comes back to win the auction.

Rangers Baseball Express faced setbacks and obstacles just like their team did with the ostensibly devastating loss to the Yankees last Wednesday. Yet the Ryan/Greenberg group did not panic, they persevered the same way Ron Washington’s crew did Friday night. Nolan and Chuck kept their eyes on the prize, did not fall prey to the media distractions and reached their goal. Last night Josh, Michael, Mitch, David, Vlad and Nelson did the same, as they have done so all of this season.

As a fan, it’s easy to adopt the “football mentality” living in Texas – where fate is determined in less than 20 games and only once a week. Just like Rangers Baseball Express has done since January – I need to “keep the faith” with this Rangers team.

Obdurate! -- Marla Hooch

P.S. TR Sullivan said it best in his game story – Josh Hamilton last night – “one of the greatest all-around games by a single player in Rangers history”

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