Friday, January 15, 2010

An Open Letter to Tom Hicks: Voodoo Economics & Advice From Kenny Rogers

Dear Mr. Hicks -

The widespread speculation is that you are dragging your feet on completing the negotiations to sell the Rangers to Mr. Greenberg and his partners, so that you might still have the possiblity of controling the team Here is the bottom line: I am telling you to stop that notion - stop it right now.

We Ranger fans have been held hostage long enough because of your missteps. As we all know, the previous owner's father had a term for the way you leveraged yourself into the business quagmire you are in today: voodoo economics. When you build your financial house on a foundation of shifting sand, a good strong wind can topple it pretty quickly.Risky ventures define themselves by that title - now it's time to pay for those dicey deals you made during the good times.

Mr. Greenberg has offered you a portion of the team - considering your well known financial problems - why don't you do something you've never done before: just accept it gracefully and move on. I think I speak for many fans when I say, that's about the only way you will not incur the further wrath of a fan base that probably dislikes you more than any Rangers owner that I can recall.

If you love this team as much as you profess to, then you realize that they are on the verge of being something pretty good and that your continued stewardship (and I use that term loosely in connections with the Hicks ownership) will hold the Rangers back rather than help them move ahead.

Take the advice of Kenny Rogers (the singer - not the pitcher):

"Know when hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when walk away
Know when to run"

Mr. Hicks it's time to fold 'em and run.


Eleanor "Marla Hooch" Czajka
Ranger Fan since 1979

P.S. If you feel as strongly as I do regarding Tom Hicks and the sale of the Rangers - please contact Bud Selig at the address and phone number listed below (couldn't find an e-mail for the commissioner's office)

Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167
Phone: (212) 931-7800


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big Mac, Big Bill and Big Mistakes

I watched the Bob Costas interview with Mark McGwire, it stirred a feeling in the pit of my stomach, and it’s not the one that most are expecting: the feeling was empathy.

Have you ever done something so incredibly stupid that you can’t admit it, even to yourself and then you when you do own up, you wind paying the price with gut wrenching guilt and shame for a very long time – well, I have.

During the late 1980’s I was an assistant Vice-President at north Dallas bank. I ran with a crowd that was fast and wealthy – I was in way over my head – but I wanted to be part of the group –ultimately I got myself in deep, deep financial trouble. I found myself in a spiral that was out of control. When I was inside that situation I felt that I didn’t know how stop and I was too proud, or maybe too terrified to admit my mistakes, and didn’t see a way out. Things got to the point that I was being served with papers for collection at work and my car was about to be repossessed, I finally had to ask for help. It was my fault, no excuses, it was the lowest point in my life, I was humiliated. Eventually, I got out of debt, but I continue bear a tattoo of disgrace as well as ongoing financial restrictions. I know there are some who may have forgiven me but will never forget – I am still reminded in subtle ways –most often by me.

Did Mark McGwire do the wrong thing by using steroids and not admitting it, especially when questioned by Congress – yes he did. Should he have admitted it sooner, I’m not going to judge him on that – it’s taken me over 20 years to disclose my sin. My problems, like Mark’s were self-created, I was trying to be someone I should not have been, instead of myself. Do I forgive him, yes I do. I’ve been down a similar road, my actions and my agony were not quite as public, but believe me they were just as painful.

Again, it’s not up to me to pass judgment on Mark’s motivation, or his sincerity. As a Catholic I believe in the power of confession, and more importantly the power of forgiveness. If your admission and contrition are sincere – and our heavenly Father is the only one who really knows what is in our heart and soul – then His is the only forgiveness that needs to be sought and His is the only judgment that matters.

Speaking of judgment – I have a few questions for the sanctimonious talking heads at the MLB TV round table that followed the Costas interview:

1. If Mark McGwire had retired in a Yankee uniform would his admission of guilt been swept under the rug the same way these same New-York- based-self-appointed-arbitors of absolutes gave Andy Petitte and Alex Rodriguez a pass when they admitted doing the very same thing that Mark McGwire did?

I don’t recall any 2 hour roundtables with Ken Rosenthal haranguing Andy and ARod for not detailing why, when, and how they used steroids. Or does MLB TV, besides having the usual east-coast bias, not want to upset their most profitable franchise fan base by putting the beloved pin-stripe heroes on the same hot seat for the exact same violations. There were suggestions that something akin to the famous asterisk * be implemented on all of Mark McGwire's (and subsequent players) records due to steroid use. Let me suggest that the same should be done to all the World Series championships won by the Yankees in the 1990’s – since they have a least one admitted user (Pettite) and who knows how many others on those NY teams - their records are just as tainted as McGwire's under those circumstances.

2. Why hasn’t MLB TV had a 3 hour roundtable on how Bud Selig, Donald Fehr, major league owners, the players union and the rest of MLB management stuck their heads in the sand and ignored the PED/steroid issue until Congressional action was threatened. Are they not as guilty as those who used the substances? The sad fact remains: they wouldn’t address the issue – while using PED/steroids may have been morally wrong – it wasn’t illegal under MLB rules at the time.

This should have been a blog entry about big bad Vlad, or how the Mariners pitching staff scares me, or a countdown to Spring Training – but instead it’s all about water under the bridge, over the dam and gone out to sea where it should have been forgotten a long time ago.

If you haven’t figured it out yet – the pundits on MLB TV really got under my skin. Yes, I know they are on their pulpits scolding – but let me once again remind everyone that theirs' are only self-righteous opinions. As in William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” these journalistic paragons of smugness are taking delight in extracting their pound of flesh from Mark McGwire.

But, there is a speech, a very famous one, in that very same play by Big Bill Shakespeare that I would remind everyone of, (especially those at MLB TV) that I hope would apply to Mark, myself and anyone feeling in need of a kind thought and forgiveness:

“The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the heart of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.”

-- Marla Hooch